Switch from iOS to Android for a week


apple-vs-android

Hello World.

We came to a point in time where the war and hate between iOS and Android users is mostly at rest. And likely this is due to the fact that there are more similarities between the two than ever before. To a point where you can actually achieve exactly the same on both platforms – albeit in slightly different ways. While (arguably) there was a lack of quality apps on Android for a good while – this is close to a non issue nowadays, if you believe what people say.

So my story is – an iOS user since day 1 it became available (when it was called iPhone OS). I have not been a huge fan of Android in the early days due to security concerns and the horrible interfaces in the early versions. I hated the horrible scrolling delays, and the overall touchscreen unresponsiveness – which I’ve never experienced on iOS. The app design was also an issue as most applications just didn’t seem to be even close to what they were on iOS. I believe strongly that good design contributes to functionality and actually makes users want to use the device more.

As I often like to verify my hate, I’d always test Android to validate my concerns. In the early days it was just using friends phones for a bit to get a feel of it. In 2013 the Moto G was released and I went ahead to buy the phone. The decision came after I lost my iPhone (plus broke my ankle on the same night, yeh it was a good time) and had to wait for a replacement and use a horrible old Samsung phone running Android 2.0. I figured I need a better spare phone in case something ever happens to my iPhone in future. So there came Moto G. I have stuck with the phone for a week to get a feel for the software and while initially impressed I eventually was rather disappointed and came back to iOS with joy.

So I am doing it again – this time around I got a work phone which happens to be a Nexus 5XA phone that will receive timely Google updates and while is not a flagship – is not a bad phone all in all. So I decided to swap the sims around and make my iPhone the work phone for a week, and employ the Nexus 5X as my main smartphone for everything I do in the personal life with a smartphone.

Treat this writing as you like, but I want it to come across as honest as possible and may it help anyone thinking of making a switch from iOS to Android.

nexus

To start with – I logged in with my Google account and the phone magically became personal to my needs. I use Gmail, Google Calendar, and attempting to move to Google Photos so all of that was instantly available with no hassle. All of the apps I needed as essentials were available from the Play Store. I’ve heard good things about the Ok Google business but boy I underestimated its power.

To the locked phone, I say “Ok Google start navigation to home” – the phone recognises my voice (secure) and opens Google Maps / starts the navigation instantly. We’re talking seconds and I’m ready to go. As this is happening – “Ok Google – open spotify and play my “Favourite” Playlist” – Spotify opens and while I have a playlist called Favourite it doesn’t play that but rather searches for “favourite” and plays the first public playlist called “Favourite”. In iOS9 you can do similar stuff but only with an iPhone 6S and Apple Music / Apple Maps. Note I do not use either of the two on my iPhone. And even when I plug my iPhone 6 Plus in the car and try to do the same commands with the Apple services – it takes ages. Siri seems to be absolutely useless in recognising my commands over cars bluetooth stereo while the Nexus 5X seems to happily get it all. The Apple “just works” just doesn’t work in this case while Google’s version does. Google also figures out the basics like setting alarms and reminders just as well as Siri does. This story is due to change with Siri opening up to devs in iOS 10. However at least an iPhone 6S is required to make use of it without a push of the home button, and I don’t know if I am going to be upgrading my phone this year.

The social network apps are as good on Android as they are on iOS. Banking stuff is great, apart from the fact that one of my card issuers doesn’t support Android Pay while they are happy with Apple Pay. Happens to be my main card so it’s a bummer at least for now.

Things are going down hill from here.

The Nexus 5X speaker while is front facing is honestly the worst speaker I had on a phone since Moto G. iPhone 6 Plus has a bottom mounted speaker but hell, who cares where it is when it sounds better.

It is funny but it feels like most Apps on Android today are what they used to be on iOS 1-2 years ago. Honestly even design wise I noticed this to be the case. But in the instance of SleepCycle the Android version still works in the same way it did when I first got it on my iPhone 3G in… 2010 – you have to put the phone into bed with you, while the current iOS version uses mics and the phone can stay where it should be – on the bedside cabinet. It’s not a lie developers prioritise iOS Apps then?

Now then, – the worst of it is battery life. My target was to move to Android for a week but this issue made me have to switch back to iPhone after 2.5 days. An example:

If I drive to work [1hr journey one way] and have Google Maps on for traffic, and spotify playing in the background streaming music [not offline stored] – I come into work with around 87-89% battery left on my iPhone 6 Plus down from 100%.

I did the same on the Nexus 5X and I had 62% battery left down from 100%. So the next day I used the same port in the car – and was charging the Nexus as I was doing the same thing as usual with maps and music. To my surprise when I arrived to work I had 89% – down from 100%. So even when the phone was getting charged it lost charge. On the way back, as I had 7% battery left at the end of that day [watched 30 minutes of Netflix at lunch + 20 minutes of streaming a podcast so that killed it] – I plugged the phone into what one would call a fast charger – 2.4 AMP adapter. Even said “charging rapidly” on the phone. To my disappointment I had 6% when I came home. Meaning that there actually is no way for me to go on a long journey with the Nexus 5X as the phone will die before I reach my destination even if I use the fastest charging method available to me. Mind the fact if I use the car connection and the iPhone [slow charge] – it doesn’t lose battery and I can gain about 15% on the way back when having Google Maps and Spotify running.

The port in the car which should facilitate music playback to the car via the usb cable from the phone doesn’t work at all on Nexus no matter what mode [on the phone] I choose, while it works on the iPhone with no modes to be selected. I used two different USB-C cables, and this made no difference. The car just tells me to check the USB device. For the record I drive a 2013 Honda Civic.

So in a nutshell, – I had to quit early as I cannot go through a day with the Nexus 5X without charging it in the middle of the day. And that to me is unacceptable.

Other annoying things:

  • Car holder pushing the volume buttons on the side – honestly they are just in the wrong place for any car holder
  • USB-C while reversible is not as cool as lightning – it’s a cable / connector that I’d say is fit for purpose in laptops but not phones. It’s harder to plug it in and to unplug it. I cannot do it with one hand, which is not a problem with Lightning.
  • Ambient Display is unpredictable – I’m told Motorola does that well though. When I say unpredictable – it doesn’t work everytime and works when I don’t need it to.
  • I miss the home button as there is no way to check the time on the phone in the middle of the night by just pushing the button on the front, you have to reach the side or hope the ambient display will do the job. But because you don’t lift the phone upright and rather lift it to the side, it doesn’t seem to catch on. Same goes for when your phone is on the desk.
  • Fingerprint sensor on the back is nonsense if you want to unlock the phone while it’s flat on the desk without having to pick it up – I seem to do that a lot when at a desk and it’s just an inconvenience.
  • The step counters on android seem to rely on accelerometer and it means it keeps counting steps even when I’m not walking. The iPhone benefits from the M8 co-processor here and I honestly don’t think it can be beaten with accuracy by the Nexus. To compare – I sat on the couch and moving as far as to and from the kitchen with the Nexus and it counted 3000 steps in the evening. While the iPhone would count about 200.

So at the end of this all – I could label my experience as a “disappointment”. I understand I have been using one particular Android phone, but as it stands there is no iPhone that performs this badly and has such issues. So it’s worrying that one of the “pure android” phones that are sold directly by Google [they make Android, right?] results in such poor experience. If there are people still hating Android and stick with iOS – one would hope they actually tried it. As if they didn’t – maybe they should. And maybe other phones don’t have such bad design / battery life issues. But one I had did. And it will keep serving me well as a work phone, which is where I got it from in the first place.

WWDC Expectations – iOS8 & MAC OSX 10.10 & iPhone 6


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Hi all. I know this place was quiet for a while. And for those 10 that read me I apologise for not giving my fingers an exercise with WordPress. Work kept me busy typing enough on a daily basis.

So! WWDC 2014 kicks off on June 2nd and the web is buzzing with the usual rumours about the new features and expectations. That of course is there with a whole boat of concepts [those where awesome this year so far if you ask me!] and “leaks” of the new iPhone[s].

iPhone 6

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So there’s a talk going on that most likely there’s a new increased screen coming with the iPhone 6 and most seem convinced it will be 4.7″. That sort of makes me think – ok it’s like my Moto G. Which feels a little too large to be able to hold in one hand and use comfortably, and on the other hand it’s not large enough to justify losing the proper one hand use at most of the times. Is it all about hands though? I guess… But point being if 4.7″ is what we get – it will not satisfy me as big enough and will make my wife unhappy as too big. Hmm?

Then there’s the [I don’t f**king believe it] 5.5″ screen size rumour. Honestly – if that came out I’d buy that one. Without thinking too long. I want a big phone! Yes, I am jealous of the HTC ONE M8 size. I don’t care about using it in one hand, I have massive hands and i rarely use the iPhone in one hand. Never did since the first one I had in 2008. Unless I decide to read while I’m walking. If that is so it doesn’t matter how big the screen is as all you do is scroll it down. It would make sense because there’s so much more that I can imagine I would be able to do with it. Might even make me go less to the tablet – not that it’s a bad thing really to do that, but the iPhone just seems to be… always there where I am. Watching videos, browsing the web, pictures, all is better with a bigger screen. I can’t see Apple making it though – and that makes me sad.

iOS8

This is one topic that seems to have more bulls*** rumours this year than anything. There certainly must something better around the corner than just Healthbook. And honestly something tells me if there will be an decent increase in the screen size of the iPhone there may just be a big change in the UI of the iPhone. How dumb will a larger screen will look if all it will have is more icons on it. Seriously! I’ve got a feeling the “just icons” view might be [not fully] on it’s way out to include widgets [please] or something useful along those lines. They could get away with “you get another row of icons!” with the size change from 3.5 to 4 – but I doubt [and hope] it’s not the case this time. Also if this is to be true, we’d probably see the new iPhone sooner rather than later because what’s the point of showing off the new OS [that mainly works best on the new phone and mainly because of the screen size] on the old small phone.

Text Edit? Preview? – Nonsense!

MACOSX 10.10

Another OS, another California location name? I’ll go for that!

I bet on more introduction of iOS language design getting integrated into OSX. Surely this is the new direction for them as Jonny Ive suggested. And frankly it would make sense as OSX and it’s basic interface is just getting old. Not to say that I don’t like it but it now gets out of line and looks very different from iOS. And surely Apple wants a more unified experience across their products!

In terms of features I am still praying for Time Machine in the iCloud! Nobody uses the map app on desktop so maybe they will talk more sense this time instead of introducing useless apps that are available in the cloud. I honestly think the Notes app on both platforms could benefit of a few more features, at least basic editing tools.


Ok, enough expectations! I am definitely excited for 2nd of June and the keynote, I hope at least some of the things I discussed here come true. All of them are purely based on logic and how the tech develops, where it goes. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Going from iOS to a trial of Android Part 1


Hello all. Has the hell frozen over and I’m switching to Android from iOS after 6 years? Not yet… But I’ve got an android phone – Moto G 8GB version.

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I made the decision after buying my wife an iPhone 5S for Christmas and her iPhone 4 couldn’t serve us as a spare phone because it’s locked [bought through a weird cheap web site and nobody seems to care to unlock it and jailbreak is just evil] plus on iOS7 the phone is ridiculously slow. Moto G was cheap, we actually made money on the swap using good old CEX. £115 for a phone didn’t seem overkill, especially with the fact that the web is screaming in good reviews about this phone being great value for money. So let’s see if it is…

Now I’m no android user, last time I tested it was in 2.1 days, using a Samsung Galaxy Europa for a week – the phone two of which I bought my parents. I did receive a lot of hate from them for those… Budget handsets – what can you expect. However the look they gave at the OS was exactly as it was – just on a smaller screen. I was playing around with colleagues HTC phones like desire and the [hated on this blog] Samsung Galaxy. The experience was just clunky when compared to iOS – the apps were horribly designed, felt like back in windows 95 days to me in all honesty. Plus I possessed a lot of hate for the whole Thermonuclear War anger of Steve Jobs back in the days really steered me away.

LG-Nexus-4-add1I have been interested in Android since Google came up with the Nexus 4. I loved the design, there was something cool about it, that I never felt about any other Android phone. The Verge had a very interesting interview with Google about the product – for the first time I saw the glare in their eyes and huge amounts of excitement about what they’ve achieved with the product. It felt different, I knew this was going to be a game changer. And I think a lot of people would agree it was. Because the price was way less than most would expect to pay for the quality you were getting. My brother in law switched to Android and Nexus 4. He did have a lot of teething problems with it, he blatantly hated it for many reasons, and just called it dumb. I wasn’t so sure about all of that at the time.

So here I am now, – I spent one whole day without my iPhone *purposely* for the first time in all them years. How do I feel about it – good. I am actually still surprised. What Moto G is for what it cost me, – is amazing. The phone keeps up with my demands very well. It is fast. I am an Apple fanboy so no snapdragon discussions will happen here, – what matters is what it feels like. And it’s really good. There is occasional lag in scrolling, which as I understand is just unavoidable. It just feels that google can’t figure out how scrolling works. It seems very hard for them. It switches from an app to app quick, loads pages quick, notifications take me to the correct place very quickly [I would go as far as saying quicker than my iPhone 5 does].

love widgets. Oh my god how will I live without them on the iPhone. I’ve noticed it actually changes my attitude to the content. I am actually bothered to look at BBC News now because it’s as easy as a swipe to the left on my home screen and I get the top stories, and I can click on them and [nearly every time] it takes me right to the story and I can watch a video. My Spotify is hanging at the top of my most common apps on the home screen and I can see what’s playing and it’s artwork. It’s just god damn beautiful to look at. Plus it’s adding useful functionality and easy of use. Yes I said it, there’s something that feels easier here than it does on the iPhone. Weird that I’m saying it.

The folders are amazingly simple and it’s great. They are much better than the iOS folders as they don’t take up the whole screen showing you 9 apps. What is the f***ing point of that Apple?! Easy to organise, neat to see and access. Brownie point again.

It is being a twat with bluetooth in the car and Spotify. That is when I get into the car and I was listening to Spotify before it still starts playing my file from the music player – which happens to be my super mario ringtone. I might hate this ringtone soon I think. I just don’t store any music on the phone at all. Maybe it’s possible to change this as a default behaviour and if somebody knows how to – let me know.

I tried using AirPlay with this. ZappoTV and AppleTV Media works great! At least for YouTube it does which is what I care about most. Well… Plex which I got for free as a Plex Pass subscriber and serves our house media doesn’t know about airplay. ZappoTV allegedly can read Plex stuff but it wants me to pay it something extra to enable something which I’m not [yet] prepared to invest in. In a nutshell – it’s useable, not as good as the iPhone is in that respect, but I’m not expecting it to be. Maybe I will invest in a Chromecast at some point – it’s cheap isn’t it?

That is really it so far. I am sure there will be a lot more in my head as I carry on with this. But I dangerously like that phone to an extent of starting to think [way too early I know…] if I’ll be interested in the Nexus 5 or the next version of HTC One. I am scared though… Something might just go wrong and little things will start annoying me. We shall see. And I’ll let you know how this goes.

Peace. Speak soon.

iPad Air or iPad Mini retina?


retina-ipad-mini-ipad-air

Hello world.

One day after Apples “we’ve got a lot to cover” event, which brought the long rumoured and expected hardware / software updates. I was most definitely expecting new iPads and knew I was going to upgrade this time. Because as it happened last year eBuyer made a great deal on eBay which allowed me to buy an iPad 4, sell my iPad 3, and still walk away with £30. So I thought – I deserve an upgrade this year as the budget is there.

When the iPad mini was released, I was very excited about it, apart from the lack of retina display. When I actually looked at it in the Apple store, the non-retina display stopped me from buying it. Now we’ve got a retina iPad mini! However… We’ve also got an iPad Air. I’m sure I’m not alone on the “weird name” opinion. Are we getting an iPad Pro or something anytime soon? – unlikely. So anyway, the point is that it now starts to seem that the iPad Air is not such a bad option as it’s lighter than 4th gen, and you get the bigger screen. What buys me back to the mini is that it’s got more potential to be used in more places. I would probably take it out more, and actually use it. If I were to get it I am thinking of a 4G version and for a start put the free data sim into it from Ovivo – so that I don’t care about usage and just use it when I need to.

Ehh! I’m going back and forth between the two. I’ve used a full size iPad regularly for nearly two years soon. And I have been tempted by the mini design. I am thinking of getting the mini first. If I REALLY don’t like it, there’s always the 14 days return policy, right?

Any thoughts? I’m sure I’m not alone on this “decisions decisions” topic.

Alex

Why do we need a PC nowadays?


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Hello world.

Just a quick note. Nothing serious today. Or may it be?

I just happened to notice recently that the more the time goes on, the less I have to use an old fashioned style computer with a desktop operating system. I.E. I just get most of the things I need doing done on my iPhone or the iPad. I rarely sit down by the Macbook Pro to get anything done at all [I am writing this on it thought as the keyboard is a must for a lot of text].

Main things I need the desktop os for:

1. Photo editing from DSLR, storing them. Storing videos.

2. My windows server downloads movies and plex server shares them out to iOS devices and the rest around the house.

3. Storing mp3s, in my case the likes of russian rap that is mostly unavailable on spotify.

4. Skype video chat for long periods of time, mainly with mum, sometimes still use an iPad for that.

5. Any new developments / learning for my IT career, the likes of CISCO, software development, HTML.

These are the main things. I sat down for a bit, I couldn’t think of many more. All this begs the question, – when I replace this laptop, which won’t happen for many years unless it fails [2 years of apple care left], what kind of cheap machine will I be going for as really… I am not using it all that much. It’s a powerful 2012 15″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, so either way it will last a while and won’t slow down. But down the line… I am probably looking at my next machine being a middle range laptop, ultra-book or whatever will be out on the market in the next few years.

What do you use the computer for? If you use it for more than any of these things, do you have a tablet?

It’s funny as it kind of takes me back to the day when the iPad was released and people were asking why would you need one. I don’t understand a need for a PC as much as I understand a need for a tablet now.

Can YouTube or Facebook replace RSS?


Hello World!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been very happily using the new updated YouTube interface, and I think it’s a game changer. There is now a main focus on the channel subscriptions, and you seem to be forced to care more about the channels that you subscribe to. Not to say you couldn’t care about them in the past, but now it’s just right there, in your FACE:

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That sort of brings me to the way (soon to be gone) Google Reader is displaying the feeds:

Google Reader

Kind of similar, huh?

I know it’s two different things. But most blogs / news sites have a youtube channel nowadays, where they publish daily news. I very closely follow CNET TV for example, and I feel that it’s probably even a better way of getting the news, as you can actually see things in real life. I definitely agree with the fact that more people should do it after all, as not ALL of the web sites have  a channel.

I think the point that I’m trying to make is that YouTube is a different kind of a social network beast than it someday used to be. It went from all sorts of clips to daily news, updates, weekly reviews etc. I seem to be opening YouTube nowadays before I go to the RSS. It is just simplerAnd that (I think) matters to people. The easier it is to get access to the information that you’re after, the more likelihood you are to go with that source. I think the fact that it has a billion monthly users only proves my point. Proof – BBC Article.

I keep hearing this on podcasts, that Twitter is a new RSS replacement. And I will say that yes, I have been using it mainly for that purpose for a while. It seems however that it is good to deliver the latest, but the “river” issue with it is a concern. When I go to twitter on my iPhone I will more than likely scroll through the last 200 tweets at most. And that would mean that I would miss whatever’s been posted before. I know you can create lists etc, but it’s not as convenient, and there’s clearly the absence of them focusing on that in the way it is shown in the above screenshots.

Facebook is adding the followers section in the News Feed update. That will put it closer to where twitter is, however it will separate your stuff straight away, so you will have your friends with the garbage joke photos (sorry, I think Facebook has become a Trash folder recently) and companies that you follow. However I haven’t been following many on there, so I cannot tell if it’s any good. I probably should give it a try.

So guys and gals. What is your take on this? Can we live without RSS? I know a lot of people might not know what it is, but I know a lot of people rely on it for research purposes, and as a way of keeping up-to-date. YouTube helps me personally, and I’ve also been trying to contribute as much as I can myself, by bringing useful, and sometimes not so useful footage to the worlds biggest social video network.

Peace!

Starcraft 2 Heart Of The Swarm Running on the Macbook Pro Retina 15″ 2012


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