Why Andy Ihnatko switched from an iPhone to an Android

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50 Responses to “Why Andy Ihnatko switched from an iPhone to an Android”

  1. franko says:

    i used to really like andy’s stuff, but this isn’t really that surprising to me. he’s been increasingly sour on apple lately.

  2. otterhead says:

    Switching platforms to avoid one specific piece of UI seems a bit silly, to me.

    I use an iPhone because it works, and works consistently, as opposed to my friends’ Androids, which seem to always be locking up, shutting down, or freezing at inopportune times. I’m OK with putting up with a purple-tinted microphone when I launch Siri if the platform it’s running on doesn’t crash on me all the time.

    • Robin M says:

       I have the GS3 and it never does any of those things. Maybe what Andy is saying now is true – Android made a great device.

    • Mark Eyre says:

      This is just the first of 3 articles we can expect to see from Andy.  I’m sure there are other issues he will raise beyond the keyboard microphone.

      As for the “locking up, shutting down” of Android phones, that was a major problem with the pre-IceCreamSandwich versions of the OS.  I’ve owned my current phone (Nexus 4″ since mid-December and have not encountered a single lock up.

      I realize that by typing this I’m taking the bait or laying the groundwork for a US vs THEM fanboy debate (and I shudder to see what’s coming next), but I have had 1 IoS phone and 3 Android phones and I see no reason to switch back.

      That said; Mr. Ihnatko can do a better job of defending his article than I can.  He’s a professional writer and is probably better at using semicolons than I am.

    • Ambiguity says:

      Switching platforms to avoid one specific piece of UI seems a bit silly, to me.

      In a way it is, but in a way it is understandable, when that UI mediates all (or most) of your interactions with the device.

      My wife got a new laptop recently, and it has a slightly oversized keyboard. Sounds trivial, but it drives me crazy whenever I use it — I just can’t type on it. And despite the fact that it’s been her primary computer for a few months, neither can she. If it were my computer I’d have to get rid of it; she’s a little more moderate and just puts up with it.

      • MediaUnbalance says:

        Toshiba?  My wife just got a new laptop with the same problem.  Very annoying, although I think she’s sort of getting use to it.

        • GlyphGryph says:

           This is why I purchased a wireless keyboard, which I use with my laptop. It means I’m not tethered to being right where the laptop is either, which is nice.

          But without that, I could see myself EASILY switching devices to get a more comfortable interface. It’s probably the most important difference between various computers for me.

        • Ambiguity says:

           An Acer, but I bet they have similar keyboards.

          I don’t know why they’re selling oversized keyboards — never had an issue with a standard, full-sized one. Maybe people’s fingers are getting too fat!

    • Crashproof says:

      Between my wife and I we’ve had four Android phones (starting with the G1) and a Kindle Fire.  None of the phones have ever exhibited “locking up, shutting down, or freezing” to speak of.  The Kindle Fire will sometimes hang in a particular third-party browser app that I otherwise prefer over the default one.
      In fact my G2 gives me “support notifications” once every couple of weeks or so telling me it’s been a while since I rebooted and T-Mo recommends occasional reboots.  I always dismiss them without any consequences.

    • Jeff Baker says:

      A three part series implies more than “one specific piece of UI”

      My Galaxy S3 has never had any of those problems (unless I run a custom rom so that’s on me). My Evo 3D didn’t either. The Hero had problems.
      Until the S3 though, the only thing I envied about the iPhone was the battery life, but no more. 

    • pjcamp says:

       I’ve had 2 Androids and neither of them do any of those things. My stepson’s iPhone does indeed work, consistently — as long as I’m only doing things Apple envisioned me doing. But if I have an idea Steve didn’t have, or work in a way he didn’t work, I’m toast.

      • otterhead says:

        That old “cult of Apple” argument holds exactly zero weight in 2013, sorry. An iPhone/iPad does not force you to do things “Steve’s Way” or prevent you from doing anything you want to do — as long as you’re not planning on hacking your phone, no. Steve Jobs didn’t envision 99.9% of the millions of apps available and certainly didn’t mandate that they all “work the way he works”.

        An iPhone is just a tool. It’s incredibly flexible. Don’t pretend it isn’t as a way to mock Apple users.

        • Ladyfingers says:

           Can you replace default associations yet?

        • pjcamp says:

           There’s a reason people jailbreak their iPhones. There are things they want to do that iOS explicitly prohibits.

          Can you buy apps from someone other than Apple yet? And even then can you buy one that has not passed through Apple’s murky, ill-defined and partially anticompetitive approval process?

          Yes, it is a tool. But the whole design philosophy since Job’s return to Apple has been based on a strictly limited set of uses for every tool to preserve simplicity. That was this article’s point, in part. I encountered this with the last Apple device I’ll ever purchase, an iPod Nano, which is great for playing 3 minute pop songs and an absolute nightmare for playing audio books. But playing audio books on an audio player doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.

          • otterhead says:

            From my experience, jailbreaking a phone and then putting apps on it from outside an approved walled garden is a fantastic way to have a crashy, poorly-performing phone. Maybe it works for some people, but it certainly doesn’t work for everyone. A walled-garden approach might be anaethema to “makers”, I’m aware, but it’s an excellent way to keep things running and running well. It’s a smart consumer protection. And if you don’t like it, there’s other choices, so win-win.

            Quite honestly, if you can’t get audiobooks running on an iPod, that’s not Apple’s fault. It’s a simple, built-in functionality. If my techo-adverse mom, who can’t quite figure out how email works, can do it, it’s not much of a “nightmare”.

        • MTBooks says:

           I would like to be able to transfer files to and from the device wirelessly. I also would like to be able to transfer files to and from the device over usb without using a proprietary software like iTunes. That hardly seems like hacking. Third party browsers (that aren’t reskins of the stock one) and third party keyboards…also hacking? Want to check the weather or other constantly updating info at a glance via a widget? Hacking too?

          • otterhead says:

            I transfer files to and from my iPhone, wirelessly, all the time. Third party browsers are available. Checking the weather and constantly updating info on widgets — yep, also built in.

          • MTBooks says:

            Genuinely curious how you transfer wirelessly. Are you counting cloud storage type apps?
            Yes, third party browsers are available, but they are reskinned safaris. No other web engine is allowed on iOS. I guess you can get out of using safari with Opera mini, which does rendering outside of the device.
            What are you counting as a widget? I was thinking more like it’s just on the screen, you don’t have to pull a notification drawer down or anything. My experience was that the only thing like that was the calendar icon that changed dates.

  3. Warren_Terra says:

    I find it inexplicable that iOS still hasn’t caught up with Android here. I took notes in seminars on my iPod Touch for a couple of years, partly so I’d have searchable electronic copies and partly because if I was taking notes I wasn’t dozing off. And then I got an Android phone, and took notes on that. The screens are similarly sized (the Android phone’s is a bit larger), but the ability to use Swype and to directly customize my spellchecker dictionary has been utterly transformative. Heck, even just the feature where clicking on a word gives you options for other words it might be mis-spelled from or other words it could be spell-corrected to makes a real difference. Don’t get me wrong, text entry on my Android device could be better (cursor repositioning on my Android sucks), but between the two there’s no comparison. And, after all the time since Android devices showed Apple better methods of touch-screen text-entry, there’s no excuse.

    To be sure, some of this might be B-S intellectual property issues, patents on text entry technologies that Google has or was willing to license and Apple doesn’t or isn’t. If so, I resent such inane restrictions, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give Apple a pass on its terrible text-entry technology.

  4. Jens Alfke says:

    In the article he says “The microphone button is crowded right next to the spacebar, and iOS speech-to-text activates with a single careless tap instead of with a deliberate tap-and-hold. When I’m typing fast, I’m accidentally triggering speech-to-text All. The. Freaking. Time.”

    That’s really weird — this has never, ever happened to me, and I use my iPhone and iPad a lot. I go for a long time without even noticing that button exists. I can’t remember ever hearing anyone else complain about it either. Does Ihnatko have unusual finger positioning while he types?

    • I love my iPhone, but I’ll be the first to admit that this happens all the god damned time. bip-BLOOP! AAAARGH!

      I don’t think this is too anecdotal, the button is right next to the space-bar. Unless you type with 100% precision you’ll hit it by accident at least occasionally, like all the other buttons you hit by accident occasionally.

    • UnderachievingSheep says:

      It happened to me a lot but I constantly switch between 3 languages and the button is the same to switch language and activate the microphone. It was very annoying until I entirely deactivated Siri which was a useless piece of software that never recognized any of the languages I speak due to the fact that I have a strange accent in all of them (the perks of living in places other than one’s home country).

  5. look_alive says:

    Probably because the microphone key is right beside the space bar, and that’s a frequent point of error. On certain Android keyboards, I continually hit the period key instead of space, because it’s in the same position.  Makes.all.my.sentences.look.like.this.Grrr.

    The one thing that drives me BANANAS with the iOS keyboard is that the shift key doesn’t change the keys from upper to lower case. Every time I pick up an iOS device, I spend 5-10 seconds going “why isn’t the shift key working? The case isn’t changing!”

    It’s not necessarily wrong compared to Android, but Apple is usually big on context clues, and that’s a huge oversight to me to type lowercase letters on a virtual keyboard perma-stuck in uppercase. HATE IT.

    • Ambiguity says:

       On Android, the microphone button is right next to the period, so I always accidentally hit it when I’m trying to punctuate. It’s annoying — so I understand the writer’s gripe — but I’m not sure that switching to Android will solve that particular problem.

      On the other hand, I think swipe it pretty nice, so I prefer the Android keyboard to IOS.

  6. look_alive says:

    Probably because the microphone key is right beside the space bar, and that’s a frequent point of error. On certain Android keyboards, I continually hit the period key instead of space, because it’s in the same position. Makes.all.my.sentences.look.like.this.Grrr.

    The one thing that drives me BANANAS with the iOS keyboard is that the shift key doesn’t change the keys from upper to lower case. Every time I pick up an iOS device, I spend 5-10 seconds going “why isn’t the shift key working? The case isn’t changing!”

    It’s not necessarily wrong compared to Android, but Apple is usually big on context clues, and that’s a huge oversight to me to type lowercase letters on a virtual keyboard perma-stuck in uppercase. HATE IT.

  7. Egypt Urnash says:

    I’ve never had the dictation come up by accident when I’m typing on my iPhone? Dunno.

    I do miss the much better autocorrect UI from when I had an Android phone, though.

  8. I’m just about to ditch my terrible little Android device, which is a tragic victim of their business model. (Fuck Froyo right in the goathole, says I.) Every time I start to wonder if I’ll miss Swype, I start to realize how much time I spend correcting it. To this day I still can’t get it to see the word “laptop”. Although I have put out some stuff that I feel Burroughs would be quite pleased with, so at least there’s that.

  9. 5onthe5 says:

    I just got a Samsung S3 last week after 3 years with iOS. I was skeptical at first, but now iOS seems laughably outdated to me.

  10. Ari B. says:

    I’ve been playing around with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, which has been my first exposure to an Android OS device. Compared to my iphone, using Android reminds me of my days in college, taking notes on my Dell Axim X5 and a fold out keyboard. As well as it runs, the OS just seems… fiddly. (and I agree with the commenter above who said that cursor placement is awful.)

    • GlyphGryph says:

      I don’t know if its the difference here, but the biggest issue seems to be:
      All Iphones are equal, roughly. At least from the same time period.
      All Androids are very much NOT. Good ones are better, worse ones are much worse.

      At least that’s my understanding of the issue.

  11. MediaUnbalance says:

    Is this the result of fat finger syndrome?

  12. Okapi says:

    I lost interest when he said he originally tried iOS because it was better than Windows mobile. I only gave up my winmo 6.5 phone 5 months ago!

  13. “Press and hold to activate speech-to-text” does not need to be a user-settable option, just needs to be far away from the space bar!! 

    bip-BONG!

  14. jackbird says:

    Swype makes me feel like I’m enrolled at Hogwart’s.  Especially when I start swyping faster than my mind can actually process and it still mostly types the right words.

  15. Cowicide says:

    Keep ‘em coming.  I hope Apple abandons the iPhone and refocuses on MacBook Pros instead.  /wishful thinking

  16. vonbobo says:

    I get crashes on my android frequently, but it has always been because of crappy 3rd party apps. If I identify the correct suspect, the problem goes away.

  17. I hit the microphone button by accident all the time which is frustrating enough. But who the hell decided that it should make a noise *even when my phone is on silent*? It’s infuriating beyond belief.

  18. raytube says:

    Glad to see my #1 peeve here, the inability of the onscreen ios keyboard to change characters with the shift key. 
    #2 would be with Apple’s decision to not let safary search from the address bar, and while you are in the address bar, you don’t have a space key.   Type in the first search term, look for the space bar, look for the space bar, crap, I’m in the address bar.  delete text and click on search box, retype my search terms.  That’s not helping me, Apple.
    Also, I know there’s a search box right next to the address bar, and I know how to spell safary.

  19. It will be interesting to see how this debate goes when the Blackberry Z10 goes on sale in the US next week (flame away, fanbois!) :-)

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