18 December 2017
A couple years ago I left the Windows phone ecosystem. It was a hard thing to do, because Windows 10 on the phone is pretty wonderful, but the lack of apps made the platform undesirable.
In the end I switched to the iPhone 6s, after trying Android and being dissatisfied at the time.
About a week ago I switched to Android. The price tag on the iPhone X, coupled with ongoing frustrations with iOS and the lack of control made me give Android another try. And the fact that a lot of people told me that Android has improved a lot over the past couple years.
My new phone is a OnePlus 5T, and I’m on AT&T.
After about 10 days with the new phone I wanted to capture my initial thoughts, before they fade.
- Cortana is my default assistant - oh the relief - Siri remains like Cortana’s dumber older cousin, and it is really really nice to be back where I have a good assistant!
- The Microsoft apps (Office, Outlook, OneDrive, launcher, lock screen, Cortana, etc.) all play together so well on Android because they aren’t trying to work around Apple’s silly rules - the experience is more pleasant and integrated.
- All the apps I used on the iPhone are here on Android, so I lost no functionality by switching platforms.
- I can use Waze as my default navigation app finally - this makes me so very happy!
- The screen and performance and memory and battery life and charge speed of the OnePlus 5T are all excellent - a big step up from my iPhone.
- Bluetooth doesn’t work “right” between Waze (or Cortana) and my Ford Sync system (specifically my Sync system has to be listening to the BT stereo device to get any audio from Waze or Cortana, so I can’t use Waze and listen to Sirius Octane - arg!!) This was not a problem on Windows or iOS.
- Activity badges on app icons are far from reliable Not a problem with Windows live tiles or iOS.
- Some apps on Android are still not as good as their iPhone equivalents; iPhone is clearly the highest priority, followed by Android and so Android users are sometimes second class citizens.
- Contact management sucks on Android, just like on the iPhone. Nobody has figured out how to make contacts work seamlessly from Office 365, Google, and Outlook.com (well, except for Windows Phone 7, which nailed it - but then even Microsoft messed it up with Windows 10).
For me the pros have already outweighed the cons. The Bluetooth behavior is a serious pain though, almost enough to offset the pros - how do Android people live with this crappy BT experience????
But as I say, the pros - Cortana as default assistant and the smooth integration of all the Microsoft launcher, lock screen, and apps make Android the superior experience.
Cortana is a big thing for me. I limped by with Cortana on the iPhone, but the experience is much superior on Android. And I use Cortana on my Surface and desktop. And I have a HK Invoke, so I have Cortana in my home as well (so she can do all my home automation and play music mostly).
I’ve had people ask if it was hard to leave the Apple ecosystem. But I wasn’t in the Apple ecosystem, I consciously chose to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem while using my iPhone, because I didn’t want the vendor lock-in from Apple.
You might laugh at that, because I’m arguably locked in to Microsoft. But Microsoft has no “horse in the race” with mobile, so their ecosystem is the one place you can go to remain neutral between Apple and Google, and that’s a powerful benefit.
My OnePlus 5T is a flagship level phone for half the price of Samsung’s flagship or an iPhone X.
Avoiding vendor lock-in isn’t a goal in and of itself (though people often think it is). The goal is to be able to switch to the best value hardware or OS or platform with minimal penalty because you aren’t locked into some vendor’s world.
Having switched from one major mobile platform to the other, with virtually no pain, I now feel very comfortable saying that the way to avoid lock-in from Apple or Google is to live in the Microsoft ecosystem 😃