A Month of Android Instead of iOS

I’m going to spend January using an Android phone and tablet instead of my iPhone and iPad. My Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 are charged up and ready to go – all I need is a SIM card.

I’ve been an iPhone user since I ditched my HTC Dash running some version of Windows Mobile 6 oh so many years ago. I’ve struggled with battery life, broken screens, water damage, and this insatiable urge to upgrade to the latest iPhone the day it comes out. When I travel overseas, I’ve gone completely off the rails trying to figure out how to get a SIM that works even in an unlocked iPhone 4. But, overall the iPhone has been good to me and the companies I invest in.

But recently I’ve been sad. I didn’t like iOS 7 when it came out and I’m still not loving it. I felt bummed out by the latest iPhone release which seems to have – well – nothing really new except some fingerprint thing and different colors. And as more and more of my world is Google-related, I find the iOS apps fine, but lacking.

I asked Fred Wilson which Android phone I should get. Fred’s been an unapologetic Android fan from the beginning because he hates the closedness of Apple. He told me “Nexus 7″ so I bought it without looking. When it arrived, I realized I now had a really big phone since the Nexus 7 is actually a tablet. I just assumed it was better than the Nexus 5 (how’s that for not paying attention.) So I went online and got a Nexus 5 also.

That inspired me to run the January Android experiment. I use an iPad Mini for some stuff at home, although my favorite device to read on lately has been the Kindle Fire HD. But I’m going to see if I can consolidate all my activity to the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 for January.

The one big miss was a SIM card. I ordered one with the Nexus 7 and then didn’t get one for the Nexus 5, as I assumed I’d just use the one that came with the Nexus 7 for the Nexus 5 (since the Nexus 7 would always be on WiFi). When the Nexus 7 arrived, the SIM and the wireless charging pad weren’t in the box. I’ve tried to figure out how to tell Google they blew the shipping on this (since I ordered it directly from Google Play) but there doesn’t seem to be any way to do that. So I ordered another wireless charging pad and I’ll swing by one of those old fashioned phone stores tomorrow and pick up a SIM.

In the mean time, if you are an Android fan, I’m all ears for any suggestions, tips, and tricks that you have for my month of Android.

  • Andy

    Looking forward to the article of how you jumped back to iOS after a miserable month on Android. I tried it once too. Not fun.

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      It is possible that your experience was to do with the version of Android. Nexus has KitKat and I find it to be excellent.

    • http://colinwalker.me.uk colinwalker

      Agree with Pete here. My own Android experience in the past was unsatisfactory but the most recent versions (especially KitKat) have solved those gripes.

  • Ramon Suarez

    You can use the phone to create a wireless network for your tablet and take advantage of a single card to handle data connectivity. It is called tethering. You can enable this hot-spot in your wifi settings screen. Tethering is standard in Android devices.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – that’s how I’ll use the tablet.

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        Doing it the other way around interests me. Have a tablet with a good data plan (cheaper than a phone plan). Then use it as a hotspot and make calls from your phone on a data only plan.

  • carribeiro

    On a related note, given your experience with the missing parts on your Nexus 7, opening a complaint or support ticket on Google is amazingly hard. They go out of their way to provide standard faq’s for everything. There is no friendly customer support to talk about. When you finally find how to send an email, the answer is quick but always filled with more faq stuff.

    Google needs to understand that not everything can be processed by robots. Play store is a bad experience in several senses and the lack of human support makes it even worse.

    • PMazz

      I agree that Google can throw a whole lot of faq at you, but you can get support by phone, and when you do, it’s excellent. I bought the original Nexus 7 direct from Google the day it was announced. After I had it for 6 to 8 months, an OTA update bricked the device. I called customer support, got a very helpful woman on the phone, and after a couple failed attempts to get the device to boot into recovery, they sent me a brand new Nexus 7. I was really surprised at how good their support line was.

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        Agree.

      • carribeiro

        Not sure if they have phone support here where I live (Brazil). I couldn’t find any info. I’ve had a few issues with Google products over the past few months, ranging from bad to good to bad luck. First it was my Nexus 4 – that is legally sold and supported by Google in Brazil, but doesn’t have a decent option to replace a broken glass 6 months after it was launched. Nobody had the parts or could give me a estimate for a fix. I sweared not to but Android again… but ended up being surprised by the Moto X. Believing in my good luck, I bought a Chromecast yesterday and it took me some time to figure out that it DOESN’T support subtitles in movies rented from the Google Play Movies application. Of course, despite me buying it here legally at a local store, the Chromecast isn’t officially supported by Google in Brazil (yet). But even so… launcing a media player that can’t play subtitles? Are you serious? And support, in this case, means FAQ after FAQ… with very little involvement from the customer representative. Makes mobile operators seem good in comparison.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      So far I’m digging the Play store. It seems simple to me. And – when I chose something on my laptop in a browser and say “install” it does it automagically.

  • Alfredo

    I made this experiment some moths ago. I go back to iOS. It is ansolutly superior for me.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Interesting. How long did you try Android? What was the biggest weaknesses?

  • TaylorMiles

    Get the Flipboard app. Its the new virtual newspaper. Connect to social networks

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’m a big Flipboard fan on my iPad. It’s what I read in the bathroom.

  • jeleow

    Dear Brad, maybe you can check out my mobile first social network for high school students only available on Android. Please search for Guru-app, you will find a brown owl. We launched a month ago, and it targets emerging markets, hence Android first. ASO is still very easy in edtech for emerging markets, as market is underpenetrated.

    • jeleow

      And it will look fine on nexus 7 as that is my standard tablet

  • http://buzzmachine.com/ Jeff Jarvis

    Go all the way, Brad, and get a Chromebook Pixel. I’ve been living la vida Google — Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Chromebook Pixel as my only computer — for months now and it works. It is quite instructive about life in the cloud.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’ve thought about Chromebook but I love my iMac 27″ machines so it’s going to be hard to switch from those. Almost all of my world is in Chrome at this point however.

  • jusben1369

    Just to be the politically correct police but “I felt gypped” is from Gypsy (the idea being Gypsies would steal from you) We used it all the time as kids without realizing what it’s actually sourced from.

    I moved from an iPhone to a Nexus S and then a HTC One 3 years back as I too was more and more in Google’s world and had tired of the lack of innovation from Apple (maybe because 1.0 was such a quantum leap?) It was a rough first year but they’ve closed the gap. Enjoy!

    • http://zivtech.com Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

      Oops, I just left the same ‘gypped’ info- and I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was to find out (almost as embaressed as was when I learned ‘pollack’ was derogatory, after using it for 6 years to describe the Polish neighborhood in BK I was living in, Greenpoint).

  • http://colinwalker.me.uk colinwalker

    I made the move from iPhone to the Nexus 5 a couple of weeks back – it’s a great phone. The battery life can sometimes leave something to be desired but now that I’ve moved up to the 5 inch screen (which is awesome by the way) I can’t see myself going back – even the larger screen on the iPhone 5S just seems tiny by comparison.

    As I tend to live in the Google ecosystem it just seemed to make sense – plus the geek in me wanted something different (already being on iOS7 on the iPhone 4S, it didn’t seem like much of an upgrade/change moving to the 5S).

    The phone is just a tool – most of the core experience is the same as far as the common apps go; it’s pretty much platform agnostic from that respect. The extra sharing capabilities in Android are a boon and having Google Now etc. integrated at the system, level is great.

    I had to sacrifice Mailbox and Drafts when moving away from the iPhone but found a decent Markdown editor to replace Drafts and the Gmail app serves well enough.The only thing I miss is delaying mails until later in Mailbox. Boomerang can do the same thing on Android but I don’t like the way it does it.

    I found a great little app called “I’m Sleeping” which replicates the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS7.

    I used to use Android a couple of years ago before switching to the iPhone citing app availability and design inconsistency as my two main reasons. Okay, some apps are still iOS only but the gap is much smaller. Also, witht he past few iterations of Android and developers following the common design principles, I no longer have an issue there either.

  • @FakeBradFeld

    Wow, lots of AAPL fanboys on here. I do not think you’ll go back this time.

    You could probably have some fun with NFC, use apps like Trigger, get some TecTiles or equivalent.

  • Allan McNichol

    HI Brad, Going through a similar experience now in terms of switching to Android. I too have been a long time user of Apple products, iOS and OSX and even Apple TV for years.. Great ecosystem at times, but I feel like Apple has been working harder to lock me in lately than trying to delight me as a customer. I also have been very underwhelmed with OS and device upgrades over the last couple of years from Apple. I got my Nexus 5 a month ago and I am definitely staying Android on my phone though I am still using my iPad, iMac and Macbook Air. One life changing application that I would strongly recommend is Swiftkey. It is so accurate at guessing the word you want to type next it is just scary. I am also liking the simple integration of Any.do between mobile devices and Chrome that you may want to check out. Good luck!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Got them both. Do you know if Swype works with Swiftkey?

      • Stuart Wurtman

        SwiftKey has a feature called “SwiftKey Flow” that is essentially swype text input. It’s also really good at learning the words you use. You can have it scan through stuff like texts, emails and Facebook messages to increase its accuracy – completely optional for privacy nuts though.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Neat. I’m trying it.

  • Ken McDonald

    I am a huge Android fanboy but am actually running the opposite experiment and am using an iPad a lot right now.

    I really enjoy the open nature of Android. For example, the virtual keyboards (e.g., Swype) are light years ahead of the stock keyboards on iOS and Android. I get so much email that I cannot afford to deal with the poor default keyboards on either platform.

    Android is all about tinkering. Sometimes the things you change improve your experience and sometimes they don’t, but you quickly learn how to dial in your device to YOUR needs. I would encourage you to play with different keyboards, different lock screens, different dialers (e.g., Mr. Number), different home screens (e.g., Aviate), etc.

    If you don’t tinker, you haven’t experienced Android.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx – got it!

  • http://vagabondians.com/ Glenn Dixon

    The wife and I both made the switch earlier this year. We sold our MacBook Airs and iPhones and bought Nexus 4 phones and Chromebooks. Even though the phones were all-cash with no subsidization, we actually came out ahead. I did end up switching both of the laptops over to Ubuntu, but otherwise we’re all-in on Google.

    The one part that I thought would be the most difficult — apps — turned out not to be so bad. I found equivalent apps for all of my iOS apps, and most were free so there was very little penalty for breaking out of the Apple ecosystem.

    We have no regrets, so I think you’ll be happy by the end of the month. We used the T-Mobile $40/month no-contract plan before we left the States, but I’m not sure if they still have that.

    So far my favorite features are background stuff. For example, you can be surfing around on your laptop, see a mention of an app, click the link to the Play store, click install, pick a device and boom, you’re done. By the time you actually pick up your device, the app will be downloading. Also, the sign-in process is much easier. The devices just remember you. There is a whole lot less password-remembering and entering on Google devices. Access to the file system. Using Google Hangouts for text messaging. Infinite levels of UI customization. Google Now vs Siri. So — many — things…

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      Good observations.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      If I can find a T-Mobile store around here, I’m going to get the monthly plan. It looks like the nearest one is in the Walmart in Frisco. I can’t remember the last time I went to a Walmart – it’s going to be a new experience today!

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        As I’m sure you know, a big plus of T-Mobile is the fact that the plan covers international.

        • Andrew Berkowitz

          Seconding this. T-Mobile’s free international coverage “just worked” on my recent travels in Thailand, Japan and Mexico. The data isn’t high-speed, but it’s plenty fast to do web, email, Facebook and look at maps. If you need to watch streaming video while on vacation, you might need to re-evaluate your priorities.

          • http://www.feld.com bfeld

            Just grabbed a T-Mobile SIM and will give it a whirl.

        • http://vagabondians.com/ Glenn Dixon

          You guys got me interested and a little excited. Unfortunately they specifically mention that this isn’t for someone to use long-term overseas. :(

      • http://vagabondians.com/ Glenn Dixon

        I think the only thing worse than having to go to a Wal-Mart — would be going to one in Frisco. LOL

        That’s one thing I specifically do NOT miss – maneuvering around Frisco and all the damned construction! And the soccer mom drivers. :)

      • Andrew Hime

        I’m in Denton, didn’t realize you were nearby…

  • http://www.wanderandtrade.com/ Brandon Burns

    Get some prescription glasses, because when/if you go back to the iPhone, you’ll need ‘em to see that tiny screen. :-)

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      I had a Samsung Note 2 before my Nexus 5. Miss the bigger screen :)

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yeah – that’s a perpetual struggle for me. My very bad 48 year old eyes are having more and more trouble these days.

  • http://joshuapritt.com/ Joshua Pritt

    I’m confused about why the wireless charger not being in the box with the Nexus 7 is problem…it’s an optional accessory that you have to buy separately. Unless you mean you ordered it and it never came?

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      It’s a separate accessory. It doesn’t come in the box. I’ve got another one on the way.

      • http://joshuapritt.com/ Joshua Pritt

        Yes, I know. In your post you seem to knock Google for this. I don’t understand why.

  • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

    I recently made the same move. I don’t regret it at all. The bigger screen alone makes the move worthwhile. But I did run into one problem that you might just have so here it is with the fix.
    Problem – messaging doesn’t work – can’t receive messages
    On Nexus 5 Android is KitKat and the messaging app has been absorbed into the Hangouts app. (Hangouts does more than messaging) The problem: not receiving messages. I researched this online and there were a bunch of theories but nothing worked. The Google online support materials didn’t help. Baffled users didn’t help. I spoke with Google support (not easy to find) and they couldn’t fix it so they sent me a new phone.
    Solution – stems from the Mac messaging app
    IF you are using a Mac with your iphone it makes sense to use the messaging app on your Mac. The messaging is data rather than SMS. But somehow this creates an addressing problem. I logged out of messaging on my Mac and bingo! Hangout messaging now works.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Interesting. Had you ported your number over or where you using a different phone number? I’m just going to use my Google Voice number on my Android phone.

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        I was using the same number. Got AT&T to give me a new SIM.
        In exploring this I tried:
        sending myself a message from my wife’s iphone to my phone number, hoping the would bypass apple messaging – didn’t work.
        deleting my contact info from my wife’s phone then trying again – didn’t work
        etc etc
        By no means everyone gets this problem. It’s an apple user problem. I very much doubt you will get it if you use your Google voice number.

        • Nicole C. Scott

          I ran into that same issue when changing to an Android based phone. The only way to begin receiving messages on your Android device is to disable the messaging directly in your iPhone settings.

          • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

            You too! With me it was disabling messaging on my mac.
            Funny that Google hasn’t figured that out and got it into their support database yet.

  • Mike Chan

    I’m a big Android fan, primarily for the reasons you mentioned – I’m neck-deep into Google’s ecosystem and Android pulls it all together on mobile so nicely. I have a Mac, iPad, and iPod Touch but definitely prefer my Nexus 5, which is totally badass. I love the widgets; being able to interact with my calendar and other apps directly from the home screen is awesome. The notifications panel is so much better on Android, as is the control panel (that lets you control wifi, bluetooth, location, etc.). iOS is beautiful but I think Android takes the cake on functionality and customization.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’ve already noticed the far superior Google integration. Not surprising, but really refreshing.

      • Mike Chan

        Absolutely. Also, I think Android is getting better and better with every release, while iOS has been a bit stagnant, IMO.

  • Jonathan Bolton

    Brad – I am a fan of both iOS and Android. I have the HTC One and the Nexus 7, and Jennifer has the iphone/ipad combo.

    Here’s my take: If you want to customize and tinker, you’ll prefer Android. If you want it to just work, you’ll choose iOS. Don’t get me wrong – your Android devices will work – but you’ll be left with a sense that there’s so much more to it than meets the eye – so much more it could be doing for you – but you just don’t have the time or energy to capitalize on the untapped potential within the device/os.

    Reading your previous posts, my sense is that you just like things to work (i.e. booting up your holiday home and having to mess with all that stuff). Simply the fact that you purchased your Android devices without researching beyond your friends suggestion tells me that your time is a valuable commodity, and I doubt you’ll enjoy trading it to customize an Android device to the point that you’re willing or interested to make the switch.

    My prediction on your month-end post: “Android has some really great features, but it’s just not quite there yet. Not quite, but progressing – which makes me excited for the future.”

    Looking forward to learning about your experience!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      We’ll see. That was my experience with Android the last time (two years ago) I tried it for a month. I ran out of gas customizing it. But I’m ready to give it another shot and see what happens.

      • http://colinwalker.me.uk colinwalker

        With KitKat on the N5 there is now a lot less need to customise things. Built in apps are much better and there is a far greater sense of it “just working” than a couple of years back (which is when I went iOS out of frustration). I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more now.

        • Dycius

          Agreed! I use to customize my phone and install custom ROMs on my Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, but lately I found I just use my phone. The only customizing I’ve done is put Action Launcher on it. I spend more time just using my phone and I don’t worry about breaking it and starting from scratch if a flash of a ROM goes bad. Custom ROMs are no longer really needed, especially now with the XPosed framework if that’s your thing. I think Android has reached the point that most iOS users say about their phones — it just works and fine the way it is.

    • Andre

      I agree with Jonathan’s take on tinkerer vs. just work. One other point to note about iOS that you may have not considered is the speed and performance difference b/t iPhone 4x and iPhone 5x. The speed and performance improvements make all of the difference.

    • http://vagabondians.com/ Glenn Dixon

      I’m going to have to wholeheartedly disagree here. I’ll use my wife for comparison.

      What *can* you do? Customize to your heart’s content. That’s what I’ve ended up doing. I started with a basic Nexus 4 and for a long time I ran it stock. The only customization was a few widgets and lots of apps. Eventually I flashed the ROM, then I went back to stock (accidentally) then flashed the ROM again. I do love to tinker, evidently.

      My wife has never done anything to hers. I’m not sure she even moves app icons around. She has all the apps she wants, she does everything she used to do on her iPhone, but she’s running stock.

      I agree that Android can make you *want* to tinker, but just because you *can* doesn’t mean that this will frustrate someone to the point where they will want their old iPhone back. If anything, Android made me realize all of the frustrating things I had to deal with on the iOS ecosystem!

    • dang1

      my 68 year old aunt has her Galaxy S 3 in Easy Mode- easy enough with a big screen phone that’s easier on with her eyesight

  • Brian Kellner

    I’m glad you’re trying this experiment. I’ve been considering the same move.
    I tend to fall into the “just use it” camp for most of my technology, so I’m curious to hear how much effort it is to get to an experience that works for you.

  • Murtaugh

    I have a Nexus 5 and have tried it. The only “negative” for me is that I have smaller hands and so one-handed operation is much more difficult. I can reach the entire screen area with one hand on my iPhone 5 but not on the Nexus 5.

    • http://www.thinkingserious.com thinkingserious

      Have you tried the Moto X?

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        Nope – just the Nexus 5.

        • Dycius

          I think the Moto X is the best bridge phone between iOS and Android. It’s stock-ish, about the same size, good build quality, and has features that no other phone has — I do use the active notifications and always listening voice controls all the time. Active notifications are brilliant. Just take your phone out of your pocket and it shows you the screen! It’s definitely a phone worth looking at and giving a shot before dismissing. :)

      • Murtaugh

        No. Read the Engadget review and sounded too low end for me in terms of design, build quality, and features.

        • http://www.thinkingserious.com thinkingserious

          I had the same initial impression (especially because their display units look hideous), but now after having the device for about a month, I’m loving it. I do miss the solid field of an iPhone in my hand though.

          I mentioned it because its screen is a bit smaller and might be more comfortable in your hands. There is also a smaller version of the S4 I believe that is around the same size os the iPhone 5, width-wise.

  • http://www.thinkingserious.com thinkingserious

    I just switched about a month ago because of Google Glass. The experience between iOS and Glass was crippled with no directions or SMS. Part of that issue is now fixed with the newly released MyGlass app for iOS, but too little to late for me.

    A bit of history; I started with a Handspring Palm device, then moved to various Windows mobile devices during the stylus era, and finally converted to an iPhone when the 3GS came out (it was the iPod Touch that finally convinced me a stylus was no longer necessary). Since then, I jumped in full force into the Apple ecosystem with various iMacs, MacBook Pros and iPads, upgrading my iPhone every year as Steve told me I should. Coming from Windows, then Linux, the Mac PC gave the best of both worlds. I have a Nexus tablet, Microsoft Surface and Chromebook Pixel (as a developer, it will take some time to figure out a proper workflow on that machine), but I still am still completely attached to an iPad Mini mainly for OmniFocus and reading with a MacBook Pro at home and MacBook Air when traveling.

    Fast forward to last month, after some Google+ research and asking around at the office, I went with the Moto X. The Nexus 5 was a close second. I was mildly tempted by the Note 3, but I’m still hesitant about jumping into the phablet world. While the Moto X is not the best phone by measurement of raw specs, this phone is very functional and well thought out. My top favorite things about this phone (and Android):

    – Integration with Google Glass, particularly the turn-by-turn directions. I also enjoy the easy send to Evernote and SMS features.
    – I like that the phone can be asleep, but turn on instantly if I say “OK Google Now”. I find the voice interactions work much better than with Siri.
    – The shake to camera mode is also useful. From a sleeping state (or any other state), I can shake the phone a few times and it launches into camera mode. Too bad the camera is no where near the iPhone’s quality, but its passable.
    – The ability to change the keyboard and launcher have changed the way I interact with a phone and now makes it difficult using an iPhone.
    – The Motorola Mobility Chrome extension allows me to see my phone calls and text messages through the browser.
    – The various G+ communities have been very helpful. I suggest you join the one relevant to your device. You will learn all the latest tips & tricks while meeting some interesting people.
    – The battery life is amazing on this phone. The choice to go with a screen that is not so power hungry was a good trade off in my opinion. I really enjoy the ability to go an entire day without recharging.
    – The inter-app integration makes me smile. For example, its easy to select a block of text and then share it with Evernote.
    – Native development for the Android is not as scary as I imagined. Though I’m still a total n00b, the experience so far has been surprisingly pleasant compared to native iOS development.

    Following are the apps that I found most useful so far:

    – Swiftkey (keyboard replacement)
    – Action Launcher Pro (the shutter and cover features have forever ruined the iOS interface for me)
    – Fitbit (just got one of these for Christmas and I was happy to find a great companion Android app).
    – Pocket, Kindle, Feedly and Safari To Go for reading, though I prefer reading on the iPad Mini.
    – All the social stuff is here, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc)
    – Pocket Cast for listening to podcasts. Be sure to check out All About Android and This week in Google.
    – Amazon App Store (Very cool to discover that there are multiple stores for Android.)
    – 1Password (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt to create a new version that is actually useable before jumping ship to LastPass)
    – HipChat keeps me connected to the team at SendGrid.
    – Uber!
    – Wolfram Alpha
    – I’m trying to Any.do, Wunderlist, Springpad, Asana and Trello in desperate search for an OmniFocus replacement for the GTD obsession

    One of the biggest downsides for me is what others have said, the tinkering aspect. Similar to Linux, you can get caught up in customizing mode and still always have this feeling that with one more tweak …

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great great feedback! Thx. And hope you like the Fitbit (I’m an investor).

      • http://www.thinkingserious.com thinkingserious

        :) I try to show Foundry and Techstars companies love whenever I can.

        I’m loving it so far. It’s definitely motivating me to move more and now my wife in interested in one for some friendly competition. *thumbs up* I was using SleepBot on Android to track sleep, but now with the Force, no need for that app anymore.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Awesome! We’ll take the love anytime.

  • ThomasRankin

    Hey Brad. Look forward to hearing more about your experiment. The quality of the experience on android has improved immensely as are the products being developed for the platform. You should find lots to enjoy over the coming month.

    When we launched our company in October my cofounder and I had some healthy debate over whether we would build our prototype on iOS or android. Android won out. This is a well worn point of discussion but for us the decision to go android first proved fruitful. A couple of points on that:

    1. My cofounder is an android / open source fanatic and he has mad skills in that domain. The decision to build with the skills we had at the time enabled us to prototype and test quickly.

    2. The quality of the new gen android phones really showed off our product, event better than the iPhone could. Demo-ing on a Nexus 5 gave us a wow factor during demos that we simply wouldn’t get otherwise. Our app is visually oriented and the Nexus 4s and 5s really show off image focused applications.

    3. Lower barrier to release on Play v App Store meant we could release more quickly and more iteratively. It’s also much easier to push an android app via email or weblink.

    4. Google app developer tools and kits (messaging, auths, etc) are free and very well built. Integration of key features took little to no time.

    All told, I estimate we were able to get to a feature rich MVP with strong market validation 50% cheaper than for iOS. We, of course, fast followed by doubling down on iOS development to get that product to market more or less concurrently.

    Don’t know if there will be a trend emerge owing to the above points, but our experience with android has been very positive. As users we also love the thoughtful Google product integration and our team relies heavily on GHang and Messenger to communicate. Oh, and Google Now makes sure we catch the last bus home…

    Thomas

  • ThomasRankin

    Hey Brad. Look forward to hearing more about your experiment. The quality of the experience on android has improved immensely as are the products being developed for the platform. You should find lots to enjoy over the coming month.

    When we launched our company in October my cofounder and I had some healthy debate over whether we would build our prototype on iOS or android. Android won out. This is a well worn point of discussion but for us the decision to go android first proved fruitful. A couple of points on that:

    1. My cofounder is an android / open source fanatic and he has mad skills in that domain. The decision to build with the skills we had at the time enabled us to prototype and test quickly.

    2. The quality of the new gen android phones really showed off our product, even better than the iPhone could. Demo-ing on a Nexus 5 gave us a wow factor during demos that we simply wouldn’t get otherwise. Our app is visually oriented and the Nexus 4s and 5s really show off image focused applications.

    3. Lower barrier to release on Play v App Store meant we could release more quickly and more iteratively. It’s also much easier to push an android app via email or weblink.

    4. Google app developer tools and kits (messaging, auths, etc) are free and very well built. Integration of key features took little to no time.

    All told, I estimate we were able to get to a feature rich MVP with strong market validation 50% cheaper than for iOS. We, of course, fast followed by doubling down on iOS development and hope to get that product to market more or less concurrently.

    Don’t know if there will be a trend emerge owing to the above points, but our experience with android has been very positive. As users we also love the thoughtful Google product integration and our team relies heavily on GHang and Messenger to communicate. Oh, and Google Now makes sure we catch the last bus home…

    Thomas

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Good thoughts. Several of the companies I’m involved in have switched to developing for Android first for similar reasons.

      • ThomasRankin

        Cool. Will be interesting to see if this turns into a trend.

  • http://blog.calbucci.com/ Marcelo Calbucci

    Brad, I did this exact experiment last January. I spend 3 weeks with an Android phone. It was a great experience, but at the time the Android felt very short of the iPhone experience. I documented it here: http://blog.calbucci.com/2013/02/android-is-new-windows-ce.html

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Seems like a lot of the complaints are improved in the new version of Android (at least I haven’t run into them on the N5).

  • http://blog.louisgray.com/ Louis Gray

    I switched from iPhone in 2010 and haven’t looked back. I have the Nexus 5 (paid full retail, no employee discount) and got my wife the Moto X, customized. Eager to see your perceived benefits and gaps. You know how to find me with questions.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx man! Digging the Nexus 5 so far.

  • TyDanco

    Bless you! I’ve just made the switch so as to better experience Glass. Already picked up some good hints here (thanks, thinking serious), and have committed to give it 6 months. I had some of the same transitional pains when I switched from PCs to Macs, let’s see how long it takes us both to wean off old reliable iPhone…Also going the unlocked Nexus 5 route, but everyone I know or follow is liking the MotoX, especially the folks on the GigaOm Chrome show…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yeah – I’ve heard the MotoX is a winner also. I figure I’ll play around with it also if I get in the N5 groove.

      • carribeiro

        The Moto X was the best surprise I had this year. I tried the Nexus 4 before and was disappointed. But the Moto X is great. It only lacks “charm”, so to speak, as it doesn’t look as good as the other high end phones – but it seems to be much more robust.

    • http://www.HubSpot.com Dharmesh Shah

      Since you and @bfeld:disqus have both already started this journey (and I’ve been in the midst of trying to), do either of you have tips on how to get a freaking T-Mobile SIM card activated online? I bought a SIM kit, but evidently that doesn’t do it. Then bought a prepaid card thingie. But, that can’t be used to activate the SIM card. Really weird. All I want to do is take my unlocked Nexus5 and put a prepaid TMobile SIM in it.

      • TyDanco

        Sorry Dharmesh, don’t know, but I’ll bet someone will respond before we wake up…

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        I just followed the directions in the SIM kit and it worked fine. I did have to turn my phone off and then back on, but that was the only thing that wasn’t in the directions.

        Use this URL – https://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/ActivateCodes.aspx (the site is pretty slow).

  • Sam

    One tip: get another Nexus charger and stick it in your car. Magnets hold N5 to charger and it is so much better than plugging in. (Get another for office too.) Wireless charging is awesome.

    Look forward to hearing about your experience.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great suggestion. I’ve got a few of them on the way.

      • mobileraj

        I will second this – get as many chargers as you can and remember to charge at night. Android recharge is generally way slower than iOS and burns battery a lot faster!

  • Brian Baker

    People always ask me why I use Android. Yes, it is a steeper learning curve, and no, it isn’t as ‘cool.’

    But for a traveler, it’s an easy choice.

    1. Voice quality is usually MUCH better on Android (Qualcomm radio chipsets vs. Skyworks from Apple). This is important to me, as clear calls make ALL the difference in the world. I’m still flabbergasted that after 5 years, I can still tell an iPhone user at ‘hello.’

    2. Swappable SIM cards – nearly every convenience store has a SIM that will work with my phone. I’ve tried this in Bangkok, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires, London, Tel Aviv…. my moto will even hot-swap.

    3. Memory on SD – I have 32 gigs on my moto. 10 HD movies, an entire season of Breaking Bad, 5000 songs, and 10 gigs reserved for business docs. (your Nexus5 doesn’t have an SD slot, so you’ll have to stream from the cloud or carry a memory stick if you go over the on-board memory – the app you want is ‘Stick Mount’)

    4. I’m able to transfer files between the phone and ANY computer via USB and WiFi. Music, video, business docs, whatever. (app is called ‘AirDroid’) Let me say this again – all files are swappable, with anyone, via WiFi, in 10 seconds.

    5. MicroUSB to HDMI and VGA. I can watch movies in HD from my phone on any LCD TV (hotel rooms) or give a Powerpoint presentation from my phone to any projector. The cables are ubiquitous overseas, and this has been a lifesaver more than once.

    The three big drawbacks to Android:

    Android isn’t as intuitive as an iPhone. While its getting better, it still sucks as compared to the Apple experience. Senior citizens, for example, ‘get’ an iPhone, while they have a difficult time understanding Android phones. I just bought my mom a new iPhone.

    There is no easy way to ‘back up’ or ‘restore’ an Android phone. We tested the ‘restore’ features on the iPhone (iTunes) and various Android apps and found the iPhones to be much better. Android users can expect to spend several hours restoring their phone after breakage/loss, while iPhone users can do it via iTunes in 20 minutes.

    There isn’t an Apple Store for Android. God I love/hate that place!

    Well, now I feel oddly like one of those geeks supporting Windows in 2005 (and I’ve NEVER supported Windows), but for me, Android is a hands down winner on almost every front.

    Brian

    bbaker@TheFirstUser – dot – com

  • Henry Glover

    I like using Chrome Beta – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chrome.beta you can have both versions on your android.

    Keeping browser/search history, favorites and frequented sites is very convenient.

  • http://www.semilshah.com/ Semil Shah

    My guess is you’ll want to go back to iOS in a few weeks or months. It’s so hard to switch, and even though iOS is a bit maddening of late, it’s still much easier and has more of a network effect with iOS in other products.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      We’ll see in 31 days!

  • Dain

    Make sure to create a Gmail account for your Android. Once you syncthat with your phone, any pictures or video you take will be automatically backed up for free (to a certain limit).

  • http://avc.com fredwilson

    Nova Launcher – android has this concept of launchers. Most people stick with the default Android launcher. But there are third party launchers and my favorite is Nova. I went for the paid version. Its a bit geeky but once you figure it out it allows you to customize almost anything about the android UI. The most important change I made was to go from 4×4 apps on the home screen to 5×5

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Downloading now!

  • Lewis Asante

    When we talk of Andriod is one of the fastest software ever .Brads move on in what you doing,

  • Lewis Asante

    The phone I want to use htc & samsung and having google android in them

  • Lewis Asante

    Why is my iPod been disabled telling me to connect to iTunes ..ok I connected to iTunes and it telling me to disable before so what should I do ooo ooo

  • Nicole C. Scott

    I had iPhones from 2008 to 2013. My decision to change phones was based more on wanting to support Credo and Working Assets rather than AT&T, so I procured a Samsung Galaxy III sight unseen. After using the phone for a while, I was pleasantly surprised by all the features on Android that the iOS lacked. Although preferences are personal, I certainly prefer many Android features over the iOS. Being able to have animated interactive desktops over static images is awesome! Plus, having any sounds I want for messaging and calls instead of the limited iOS options saves me from erroneosly checking my phone in public when another person has the same sound setting. (Since iphones are ubiquitous, this scenario happened more often than I liked). Sure, you can go through a ton of hoops to replace internal audio files to get past the iphone ringtone limitations, but that is time consuming and complicated. Android wins on that front- hands down! Along with that, the back button feature being independent from the central button is really great, and has made certain work within various applications more flexible, as is the ability to have far more tabs open in my browser at any given time. Also, being able to download files aside from simply images and pdf’s is very useful. I also like being able to access phone documents remotely from another computer without having to sync with itunes. These are just a few examples that come to mind for me.

  • BJFaber

    ZipWhip – sends your text messages to your computer, tablet, and web browser. Amazing for multitasking

  • http://www.kineplay.com/ben Ben Milstead

    Look forward to your conclusions. I’ve been thinking about re-visiting Android, the last dev experience I had with it (a massive project, granted) was no fun — I was thoroughly unimpressed with Google’s API, particularly as a software/API architect. iOS by comparison, at least a bit over a year ago, had/has far superior interfaces and a world-class IDE (compared to Eclipse, which I can’t stand).

    • Dion Almaer

      Ben, the new Android IDE is created by the awesome folks of Jetbrains (IntelliJ IDEA fame [and WebStorm and ....]) so it is much nicer these days IMO.

  • Shabba-Doo

    If you’ve been using iMessage be sure to follow the proper steps on disabling it if you plan on getting text message to your nexus

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I just set up a different phone number and am using Google Voice instead.

      • paul

        Here is another nice app. 500px wallpaper rotator. Good customization and always something nice for your background. Not thinking iOS can do that

  • James Cullis

    Hi. Very interested to see the outcome of this. I, like your collegue do not like apple due to the closedness. Here are a couple of fun tips to mix up your android experience

    1) Appearance… you probably know by now that each handset manufacturer adds thier own little touches to the stock android OS, all fine but reaaly boring if you ask me. I discovered a couple of neat apps to fully customise your home launcher. They are very.simple to install and remove if you dont like them. One is called GoLauncher, this is a nice tidy reinvention of the standard stock launcher with tons of customiseability options including screen transitions and and dock control. There is a free version which i use and its great but if you can i reccomend the paid version.

    The other is called NextLaumcher3D. I was only able.to try this launcher for 24 hours as i cannot afford the small.price tag of £10.50. Again with this one its simple to install and remove. Personally i prefer this launcher as it completly changes the appearance of the phone all i can say is try it.

  • cheekychealy

    Good luck and say goodbye to apple you won’t be going back . You now have freedom.

  • simran

    Android like Linux, has a steeper learning curve, but once you spend a bit of time with it, you get to do things that are just not possible (many times by design) in other OS’s. For example, replace your home launcher with Nova Launcher – it’s much better… install things like CallerID, which will pull up FB/LinkedIn messages based on the number that is calling you (in real time) so that when you answer a call (even from an unknown number), you get some info about it… (iOS doesn’t let calls be intercepted, security feature or walled garden – you can pick either, but once you start using a more open platform, it’s hard to go back! :) If you are really brave, try out cyanogenmod – even google’s so scared of it, they tried to shut it down for being android that’s better than “android”!

  • http://zivtech.com Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

    FYI-> saying you got ‘gypped’ is the same as someone saying they were ‘jewed’. I used the term gypped for years before someone told me that it was the same deragatory slur as jewed, different ethnic group (I’m Jewish):
    http://racerelations.about.com/od/diversitymatters/a/Five-Terms-You-Might-Not-Know-Are-Considered-Racist_2.htm

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Will change – you are third person that has mentioned this. It never occurred to me so I’m banishing it from my vocabulary.

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        Let’s not move so quickly here. Sympathize with the sentiment but I think the etymology is wrong.

        http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gyp

      • http://zivtech.com Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

        Yeah, I figured you’d want to know- when I found out it was definitely a facepalm moment (mostly because I used it in a very pc-sensitive location).

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Changing in the text now. It hadn’t occurred to me – you are the third person that has mentioned this. I’m eliminating the word from my vocabulary.

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      I don’t believe that is correct.

      “Origin of GYP

      probably short for gypsy

      First Known Use: 1750″

      • http://zivtech.com Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

        You don’t believe what is correct? I was saying that “getting gyped = getting ripped off” was the same as “getting jewed = getting ripped off”, and you added a quote to prove at least 1/2 the point. Are you saying you don’t believe the 2nd part of that statement?

        • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

          I read your post as it being a transliteration of ‘jewed’ and hence being anti Semitic.

          I’m saying it isn’t anti Semitic.
          It may of course be read as anti Gypsy

          Did I read you incorrectly? You were just saying it was kind of like saying jewed?

          • http://zivtech.com Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg

            Yes, I was saying that “jewed” and “gyped” are derogatory synonyms.

  • Kevin Swint

    SwiftKey with swipe typing will make it very hard to switch back.

    • StevenHB

      I’m a big SwiftKey fan. I really like the way it learns your particular vocabulary tendencies and its dynamic word recommendations. Keeps you far away from DamnYouAutocorrect territory.

      Highly recommended.

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        Thanks. I’ve been using it and digging it.

  • patrick mork

    Brad

    Welcome to android! A couple of things to help you get started.

    1. When you set up your phone make sure to check out and add widgets to your phone. This is one of there things that make android great and easy to use. It also helps with personalizing y our device.

    2. Download the Google play music manager on your laptop to easily transfer all your iTunes music to google play. Also make sure you download Google play music.

    Wish more vc followed your example. Scary how lost most people are about the potential around android

    Enjoy!

    Mm

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I’m really digging the widgets – the dynamic stuff is really cool.

      • Jeffrey Hartmann

        After a few days of learning your Google Now will start anticipating what you need to do and where you need to go. This is the killer Android app for me. I’ve gotten notifications when I need to jump in a car to make a meeting and Google detects heavy traffic. I also really like that when Now is up I can just say Ok Google, and do things like call my wife, respond to texts, and pull up maps and directions all with limited interaction. I also now see when websites/blogs I follow post updated content. The experience is becoming more and more seamless, and with each new Android version it has been getting better and better.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          I’m totally digging Google Now – and the really good voice recognition.

          • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

            Voice was one of the big reasons I swapped. Data science!

          • Jeffrey Hartmann

            A little off topic, but what amazes me the most about the voice recognition is that it has fallen as a ‘data’ problem. The underlying technology that makes it feasible is just tons of training data that we helped Google collect and label thrown at large deep neural networks. Another problem where all the years of PHd’s building carefully crafted feature representations just gets blown away by Deep Learning + lots of training data. I firmly believe that lots of problems are going this way and it is really exciting.

          • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

            Jeffrey: You have probably seen it but just in case you haven’t:

            http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+unreasonable+effectiveness+of+data&sm=1

            Peter Norvig’s talk about the importance of big data sets.

  • Jeff Yowa

    You can contact Google to get the things they forgot to send. There is a number to call. I had to get my Nexus 7 fixed after my daughter broke it. They were very helpful. I have an iPhone for work and a personal note 2 and I hate my iPhone.

  • dang1

    funny about lock-in: my girlfriend had the Galaxy S and is now using an S3; played around with my Galaxy Nexus and my son’s Nexus 4. She says though she’s locked-in to TouchWiz, she’s just so used to it. Her daughter just switched from an iPhone to the S4- says she loves it.

    I had a Windows Mobile Samsung Omnia 2, before the GNex- the big screen is a big draw; looked at the iPhone, but the tiny screen was a big turn-off. Now, not ever considering an iPhone as the GNex replacement, I’ve been hearing sometime about a Google/Verizon phone for 2014- hopefully another Verizon Nexus.

    I like Google Music alot, syncs all my music, automatically over the air, to my desktop, laptop and phone. Also, TSwipe big keys keyboard.

    • paul

      Just reading your post re galaxy s. I retired minea few months ago in favor of the nexus 7.

      I gifted the galaxy s out to teenager. Rooted, unlocked and flashed with Cyanamodgen. The result was amazing. The old galaxy s runs just ad smooth as my nexus 4

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      I agree re Google Music – V cool

  • paul

    I have the nexus 7 and nexus 4 combination with no regrets. I like to keep a foot in all the Eco systems. My laptop is a Mac book pro and we have older windows 7 pc`s here to.

    I use many news readers on my nexus 7. Fav right now is Zite

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx for the recommendation for Zite. Grabbing it now. I have Feedly but am always looking for others.

      • paul

        If you like feedly I bet you would also like baconreader for reddit

      • Andrew Hime

        Found you from Zite, actually… Also, maybe try the Moto X.

  • SoCalRep

    I’m in a similar boat. Original Pocket PC Phone user, switched to iPhone (have had every model from 3G to 5). Switch to Samsung Galaxy S4 about six weeks ago. I recommend installing “Swype +Dragon” app for a great keyboard and voice input experience! Don’t download the other popular keyboard (rhymes with “drift-bee”) because it doesn’t have a voice input solution.

    • Lewis Asante

      Like seriously

  • Lewis Asante

    Y do iPhone or IPad ect have difficulties in using ..a friend of my have an IPad and always complaning about it ,that it app is hard to get. To install them on destop…I told him to get an apple id and iTunes account …..,he is now fed up …if he. Was using s4 or some htc he woulnt have problems

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Funny I asked Fred the same question a couple of weeks ago, as I’m contemplating switching out of my iPhone in February when my 3-year jail sentence contract with Rogers finally expires. But I’m also thinking about the Xiaomi mi3 or possibly the Oppo N1.

    The Xiaomi is like an iPhone from a quality point of view, but is the fastest Android apparently.
    http://www.xiaomi.com/en/mi3

    And the Oppo N1 has 2 interesting features: rotating camera and a touch sensitive back. (and CyanogenMod)

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      After two days I’m still loving the Nexus 5.

      • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

        That’s great, and I might follow the herd and get the 5, but I’m still romanticizing the notion of an Oppo or Xiaomi.

        I wasn’t too impressed either with Apple’s iOS7. Their incrementalism mentality is not satisfying. Android is taking bigger jumps with each successive OS update.

        • Jeffrey Hartmann

          You will really enjoy the Nexus 5. It has a very clean experience and is the best Android device I have owned. My wife has a Galaxy Note 2, and that is pretty nice too if you don’t mind carrying around something large (she has a purse with her at all times, so it doesn’t really bother her.) I prefer my Nexus 5, but I will have to say that the notes larger format is nice if you tend to do a lot of web browsing on your phone.

          • http://www.feld.com bfeld

            So far I’m really digging it.

          • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

            Thanks. I’m sure that the Nexus 5 is the safest bet, but how about the HTC One, and the other 2 I’ve mentioned?

      • Lewis Asante

        Nexus 5 a delicate smart phone and 7

  • calyani

    I cannot believe how completely lame and close minded Apple people can become. It is truly amazing….ugh
    You need a sim card for you Nexus 5 and enjoy your Nexus 7. Both are great devices. The moto x is also a fabulous device – owned by GOOGLE…..

  • Sanjeev Srivastav

    Hi Brad – I’ve been using both – an iPhone 5 for work and an Android phone (an antique Samsung Galaxy S2) for personal use, for the past 6 months. The iPhone was standard issue at the (Mac-dominated) workplace, and so I went with it. Soon enough, I discovered:

    – The iOS Calendar app does not allow you to forward a meeting, nor email the meeting organizer/attendees. The Android can do all that; it has other nifty features that allow you to quickly send a note to the organizer of a meeting with common scenarios such as “Running 10 min late.”

    – Can’t attach a file to an email you are composing on the iPhone. Have to go to the Photos app to email a photo to myself and then use it for an email. Ugh.

    – No context menu in iOS. There’s so much I do via context menus in Android.

    – Replaceable batteries, SIM cards, additional SD cards, standard charging port (microUSB, mostly), not having to pay $$$’s for charging cables and “certified” Lightning cable-compatible chargers, and other hardware factors favor Android. Also, an unlocked iPhone is hundreds of $’s more than a comparable Android.

    – I hardly use Siri and so cannot comment on its usefulness in real life; I do often speak to Google Now to, say, “Navigate to Safeway” and it promptly takes me to Google Maps, waiting for me to tap on a “Navigate” icon. The speech recognition is pretty good. Integration amongst various Google Apps is generally quite good too. Of course, this comes at the cost of having Google know your every move :), and Google has become pretty good at understanding the meaning of those moves. About 3 days after I had started working at a new company, it automatically knew what my “Work” place was. You might miss the cute answers that Siri gives, when you ask her if she loves you :)

    – My pet peeve, however, applies equally to Apple & Google. Contact Management. Microsoft rules, with Outlook on Windows (Outlook on MacOS is a poor cousin). There’s yet no good solution for keeping them contacts in sync with an iPhone and Android/Gmail. Every few months, I go through painful maneuvers to set up synchronization, and then someone changes something and breaks it all. See, for example, https://discussions.apple.com/message/23677061#23677061

    I could go on, for a bit…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      For contact management, take a look at FullContact (www.fullcontact.com). I’m an investor and it’s magic.

  • Ken Davis

    How did you decide on the Nexus 5? I’m planning on jumping iOS ship in January but can’t decide on the new device (S4, HTC, MotoX, etc) – seems like there are a lot of great ones out there.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I asked Fred Wilson. Having been through the experiment several years ago, I knew I likely wanted the cleanest OS model.

      • Murtaugh

        Just to add my two cents here, I have been “experimenting” with a Nexus 5 and have struggled wight he form factor (i.e., single-handed operation is impossible given screen size) and some of the rougher edges of stock Android 4.4. I just bought a Moto X and have to say this is the best Android device I have ever tried. Form factor is perfect and the slight tweaks Google/Moto have made to Android are the perfect amount of “better UI/UX” without overdoing it (e.g., Samsung).

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          The size of the Nexus 5 is bugging me a little, but mostly just how much space it takes in my pocket.

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      Nexus 5 is clean Android Kit Kat.

      You can buy Google versions of other phones that have Kit Kat (e.g. https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Samsung_Galaxy_S_4?id=samsung_galaxy_s4&hl=en) but they tend to be more expensive.

      People may not care about the ‘skin’ that companies put on their phones e.g. Samsung bloatware, but I do and perhaps you do.

    • Ken Davis

      Day 8 on Android, so far so great! Will be interesting to read your review Brad and compare experiences.

  • andyabramson

    Brad,

    I have done something similar the last 50 days or so on the road in Thailand, Australia, France, Portugal and soon the UK before heading back to the USA on Saturday. The “something” is I ran both iOS and Android on multiple devices-a EU version iPhone5S, a globally endowed HTC One, my iPad Air and a Nexus7. Part of the experiment was based on the move last summer of the business over to GoogleApps and a steady shift away from Microsoft to cloud based services and apps….I found I could live very well on the Nexus and HTC One for Apps, and most of what I needed to do via Basecamp, with WhatsApp, Skype, etc. I did find that iMessage is beginning to dominate with many colleagues and friends, and that apps like DRAFTS kept me going back to the iPad as well as the fact that the Zagg case/keyboard combo allows me to ditch the Mac Book Air 90 percent of the time when I’m out the hotel or houses I’m renting. I also found the camera on the iPhone5S to be about the sharpest around.

    Now on to your comment about SIMs frustrating you. This is something I’ve made both a game and a mission the past 13 years. That being to always have local SIMs dating back to when I was traveling to France 4 times a year and I actually bought a Nokia phone, signed up for a contract and opened a bank account there to accomplish it before prepaid even existed.

    Between clients Gigsky (www.gigsky.com) for data and Truphone (www.truphone.com) for voice, text and data, I’m pretty well set on the global roaming, but I still have sought to know enough about the local SIM market to be able to advise friends of their options.

    For starters, I’ll agree a few years back, and each time Apple comes out with a smaller SIM, the market for SIM cards goes haywire. A great deal of the problem you and I first experienced would have likely been around the time Apple first went micro the whole industry was caught off guard, and with the runaway demand on the iPhone4’s back then, and the delayed international roll out, the best selling idea was to carry your own SIM card cutter..That’s what The Phone House went out and bought so visitors to countries they operate in could get a SIM cut down that worked in the 4 and 4S’. I saw the same mentality with regard to the 5’s and 5S’ as well as iPads. They’re cheap to buy on Amazon and a useful throw in your bag in case you can’t find the right SIM.

    Next is buying a SIM—It really varies. In the UK getting SIMs and Topping up is a snap. Same in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal and Spain. Spain does want proof of ID (your passport) before you get a SIM, but The Phone House stores are great for helping and avoiding language barriers. In Portugal, Vodafone at the airport is a breeze, but I prefer Optimus for data on iPads and the Nexus because the offer an enhanced 4G service on prepaid. TMN has amazing plans, the best voice network and best coverage so it’s a toss up between them and Optimus. Down in Australia I found OPTUS to be the best on iOS and Android hands down, but my LTE/4G mobile broadband modem from Tellstra couldn’t be beat when on a train or in places where the WiFi was saturated. It was a godsend, and worth the investment.

    Over in New Zealand I used both Telecom NZ and Vodafone with stellar results, simple pick up the SIM at the airport in Auckland and never had an issue the week I was there. In Thailand True move is the hipper carrier and again, the airport stand just outside baggage claim had me up and running on iOS and Android devices in no time at all. France used to be a breeze on SFR and Orange, but they’ve made changes to their plans. I’ve also found that #3 Bouygues Telecom is a rapid challenger, and has the best 4G network in the country. I switched over to them on my Android HTC One and have SIM’s to use on my iPhone and iPad for my return in February. Once you learn the steps to activating the plans it’s a breeze…UK I have SIM’s with Vodafone, T-Mobile and 3, and am going to move my T-Mobile over to their new EE prepaid plans on Thursday with what is called double fast broadband. A tip with T-Mobile is you can set this up to charge your American Express card if you register an UK address with AMEX. That’s all of a phone call, and then you can renew whenever you need to, keep some money on the SIM (they don’t expire it for a long time) and have your numbers.

    I’ll admit most people don’t travel the amount I have the last 8 or 9 years, nor do they visit the same countries enough to warrant having all these SIMs..but with the iPad and Nexus 7 becoming almost attached to my hip, knowing which operators offer what, and being able to use both devices for VoIP calls sure allows me to stay connected everywhere. The really big benefits come when I’m using GoToMeeting or WebEx as their apps work very well on both platforms and when you have really fast mobile broadband, you can be in many places getting work done, without worry or concern. That is reason enough for me to have local SIM’s vs. trying to find a WiFi hotspot that’s quiet..

    If I can help you out with this, hit me up…

    Andy Abramson
    CEO
    Comunicano, Inc.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great feedback and thanks for the offer.

    • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

      great post

  • Chris Fessenden

    The Display Brightness app from RubberBigPepper, especially if you’re going to be reading at night/in dark rooms. The ability to adjust screen brightness, even from the lock screen, with one swipe and not having to go through settings/menus, is tremendously useful.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Great suggestion – just grabbed it.

  • http://www.venturestab.com/ Jerome Gentolia

    Brad, I can’t wait what you’ll write about your month experience with Android. Are you going to write one?

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup. I’ll definitely write something in February.

      • Dirk le Roux

        Can’t wait to read it.

  • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

    There is one big issue that I would like to see you raise, Brad. That is the matter of the amount of access most apps require. If you take a good look at the permissions you grant when installing practically anything it is SCARY. I would like the option of buying products with no access other than that which is absolutely necessary. In many cases nothing is required e.g. a flashlight. I would be interested to know how many other people feel the same way.

  • bart decrem

    Best of luck! I did the same thing this Spring, switching to the HTC One. I truly loved the size and industrial design. It made my iPhone 5 look and feel dated, old. I used the One exclusively for two weeks, went on my FB and said “that’s it, I’m staying on the Android side for good”. The next day I woke up and felt sad, because everything was just a little sloppy by my taste, compared to the iPhone. And I switched back. But another six months have gone by – let’s see how it works out for you.

  • Emma Lewis

    That’s my new experience http://bit.ly/New-Year14

  • http://blog.databigbang.com/ Sebastian Wain

    Not an Android fan myself but somebody who uses many different mobile devices.

    I think these are the main high level advantages:

    The share capability of Android (sending info from one application to another) makes the user experience much better than the limited and controlled share on iOS to a few sites like Facebook and Twitter.

    Having an extra memory card of >= 64gb makes you forget of memory limitations. I think this makes the Nexus 5 worse than the Galaxy S4 because the Nexus 5 doesn’t have a SD Card slot.

    The Google Chrome browser is an excellent browser with their own HTML5 engine. The Google Chrome in iOS uses the Apple WebView. Firefox is also an excellent browser and there are many others.

    The widgets are practical so you don’t need to open an application to take notes or play or music.

    Having a filesystem is a big difference comparing to the iOS approach.

    I think the main disadvantages are:

    The UI/UX is slow comparing to iOS.

    OS Updates? That’s annoying in Android.

    High quality indy applications are not ported to Android. For example, interactive books like http://morrislessmore.com/?p=app are only available on iOS

  • StevenHB

    I’ve been using my Galaxy S 3 for about a year and a half. The girls all use iPhones. Although a number of people claim that iOS is more intuitive, I find that I have trouble figuring out how to use their phones on the occasions that I need to, so I think that’s just more of what you’re used to. I do like the fact that there are multiple buttons on the Android and find that the things that confuse me tend to be related to that lack on the iPhones.

    The one big issue I had with the GS3 was that it didn’t support MMS messages with multiple participants properly. I don’t know if this is an issue on your devices. If it is, try GoSMSPro.

    I second the SwiftKey keyboard replacement below.

    Shush!, which will silence your phone for a specified period of time when you reduce the volume to zero is very helpful if you like your phone to make noise when you get calls, texts, etc. Great for movie theaters, meetings, etc.

    I don’t know if you’ve been using Waze on the iPhone, but I really like it for navigation and for the integrated social networking. Also, like WeatherBug for weather updates and recently added Viber for WiFi-based communications while I was traveling.

  • http://technbiz.blogspot.com paramendra

    The Nexus phone is the best in terms of what it does and how much it costs and how pure its Android is.

  • Dirk le Roux

    Hi Brad, I hope you are using SwiftKey. It is an Android must have.