So, after 4 + years with a first gen iphone, I’m making the jump to Android.  Not that I’m all that enthusiastic about it, mind you.  But I remember once a story about how the execs at a certain american car company only drove fancy imports.  They had no day to day experience of their products, and as a result, the quality suffered. Given my desire to develop for the other side of the fence (and that I still have an iPad) I figured it was time to understand what it feels like to be an Android user.  In addition, I’m dumping AT&T in favor of Credo Mobile so that feels good. I ended up with a surprisingly light, large, and thin Samsung Galaxgy S II.

The Apple vs PC experience

The fact that I’ve been a devoted Mac user for the past 20 + years definitely colors my view of the phone.  I’ve come to appreciate the uncluttered and straightforward design of iOS. By comparison, the Samsungs visuals feel a bit cluttered and complex.  While it’s nice to be able to turn on and off every aspect of the phone (which I imagine can save you battery, etc) it feels a tad unessecary to me.

Bloatware

I was shocked how many apps came preinstalled.  To remove the bloatware, I’m told you need to “root” your phone back to stock Android.  The fact that you have to do this at all is humorous to me, though I wonder how many processes and functions are running in the background on the iphone, but the user just can’t see them?

Syncing

I am used to the ease of use of the Apple environment and was fearing the worst.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to merge this phone with my calendar and contacts. I use gmail daily for nearly all communication, so it’s nice to see the advantages of an end to end solution in another company.

Privacy and Carrier IQ

Remember a while back people getting perturbed by Apple tracking their every position in order to offer them unique location based services?  Given the open nature of the Android platform, and the seeming transparency to monitor every process that is running on the phone, I thought privacy would be less of an issue on this platform.  Every app even has its own privacy policy that you have to consent to before installing.  Then I stumbled upon this disturbing tidbit: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/11/secret-software-logging-video/ Why a phone would need to track your keystrokes is beyond me.  But I do find it interesting that there is no privacy policy for Carrier IQ, especially given how invasive it could potentially be. As we’ve seen with OWS and the Arab Spring, the mobile phone is emerging as a platform for telling our personal stories and voicing our political will.  As much as cell phones make our lives better, I wonder what the implications of things like this and Carrier IQ have for our civil liberties.  But then again, I could just be paranoid. Maybe. Update : Apprently Carrier IQ is on iOS as well.