Back on Android (thank God) after the iPhone 5

An extract of this article was published on SemWiki Sep 7, 2013.
curseI was on the fence between an iPhone 5 and a Samsung S3. My friend Dan, the owner, curator, and big blogger on SemiWiki talked me into the iPhone 5. I cursed him daily for 6 months. I’m now back in the Android fold with a Samsung S4 and am much happier because of it.

I hate typing on the phone. When I see people banging away with two thumbs I want give them a swift kick in the pants. Having the phone respond to my voice is important. Siri nefariously understands you on occasion so you don’t totally give up. However, with a voice command more complex than “call Dan mobile” (don’t forget the mobile!) Siri will generally be hopelessly confused.
jumpA couple of weeks ago I was picking up my son at the Dublin BART station. I made the mistake of using Apple maps, as it’s reasonably well integrated with Siri. Shockingly it understood me when I said “navigate to Dublin BART”.  Unfortunately Siri told me that no exit off 580 was required. It told me I had arrived as I was passing the station that is between the East and West bound lanes. I quickly jumped out my window and was able to meet my son on time.

If you don’t use Google Voice you are missing out. You can easily forward your calls to multiple phones, you can block calls, you can get voice-mail transcribed – all sorts of good stuff. However, the iPhone doesn’t enable Google Voice to use your Google Voice number for outgoing calls. My real cell number, which I don’t want exposed, was always used by the iPhone. Now that I’m back in the Android fold, my GV  number is used for outgoing calls, as it should.

I save myself a ton of time by using Google Contacts. It’s well integrated with gmail and Google Voice. Guess what? It’s not integrated with the iPhone. It made me crazy not being able to “call Dan mobile” unless I explicitly added him as a contact on my iPhone. With Android and Google all the syncing between your life on your Windows PC and your life on the phone happens for free. I like MacBooks but they aren’t used at work, so I find them  generally more trouble than they are worth.

If you haven’t checked out Google Now, it’s a treat. Remember, Scott McNealy one of the founders of Sun Microsystems? He famously stated “there is no privacy on the internet, get over it”. Once you accept that fact you’ll appreciate Google Now snooping through your online life, including email. It will tell you when shipments you ordered from Amazon are enroute, if you plane is leaving on time, how far you are from home – in traffic, all sorts of good stuff WITHOUT YOU ASKING.

My next step is to replace my iPad 3. I do like this device, but the fact that the battery lasts all of two days makes me a little nutty. I’m not really a Samsung fan, but the Android goodness may be irresistible.