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How Bizarre

25 Apr

It’s official, I’m now a traitor. Well, arguably I may be to the Apple community.

I’m an Apple fan girl. I use only Apple products. I have a MacBook Pro, an iPod, an iPad and an iPhone. But all that changed yesterday. I stay pretty tuned in to all things Mac. In doing so I often read about Apple’s comparisons to Android, the other mobile tech giant on the block. It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to take the leap, a switch to the ‘dark side.’ A year ago I played with my sister-in-law’s Android phone and scoffed, “it’s no iPhone!” Indeed, it’s not. If you’re looking for simplicity and a very solid uniformed product and platform, then the iPhone is for you. I’ve used and loved the iPhone since it first debuted in 2007 and now, I hang my head in shame as I try out the competition.

I’ll say this, it’s a matter of preference, really. If your first smartphone is an iPhone, you’ll likely never want for anything else, and vice versa. Compared to an Android, the learning curve on an iPhone is quite small. It integrates seamlessly with your iTunes and if you have an entire Apple setup, it’s the corner piece of your Apple world. Whereas the Android, I’ve read, can be a bit problematic as there are many different variants of the operating system and it is susceptible to viruses. Why? Android uses open source which, as it suggests, makes it virtually fully customizable but also leaves it open for malicious attacks. As many know, Apple runs a closed shop. If Apple doesn’t like it, it won’t be available to you.

Unlike the iPhone which is now carried by the big three wireless phone providers, Android phones are still somewhat proprietary in the carrier. It’s unlikely to find the providers carrying any of the same phones. And, you really can’t unlock the phone in order to use it on a different carrier’s network. I realize it may seem that I’m bashing Android, I’m not. My desire is to see what it is that Android fans see in their phones. In the short time I’ve played with it, there may be a lot to like.

When it comes to purchases, I’m very impulsive. That isn’t to say that I don’t research it before I make a purchase but it does mean if I go in the store, I’m coming out with something. I saw an article and video online that inspired me to really consider trying out an Android phone. There were things that I’d seen in the past that I was curious about with Android. Given various reviews touting the customizability of the phone, I wanted the challenge and wanted to try it for myself. Besides, I was often first in line to bad talk Android despite never having used one. I went into the AT&T store last night and played with the various models. It’s like most intimate purchases, you have to try it out. Sometimes the ease of the online purchasing experience must be supplemented by testing out the product in your hands.

What I thought would be a 30-minute test drive turned into 3 hours. I was prepared and informed asking questions about software updates, processor speed and even user reviews. I even used other products in the store to search online for other information. I wanted to pick a phone that, while not the most expensive, would stand as a really good tool of measure. Honestly, it was odd, with an iPhone you simply pick the storage capacity and color and you’re good to go. The experience reminded me of pre-2007. I used to work in the cell phone industry in the late 90s. I was there as the cell phone was becoming mainstream and when beepers were still king. My favorite phones were Nokias prior to the iPhone. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to choose between different makers, phones and styles. It was a little overwhelming.

After narrowing down the expansive field, I found the one that I felt was right for me. I was ‘warned’ that most people who are iPhone users ultimately switch back to the iPhone. However, I’m a technology fanatic and I’m always very curious about these types of things. I pick up on them very quickly. Time will tell if I’ll like the mix of iPhone and Android but it’s a lot like life, you sometimes have to step out of your comfort zone to see what else is out there. Additionally, while there are certainly adjustments that I must make, at the end of the day there’s a lot to be said about the experience and in trying something new.

This article appeared on page 5A in the 4/25/12 issue of The Union-Recorder.

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