My recent technology shift (from Apple products back to Google) made me laugh the other day when I thought back to a blog post I wrote back in 2011, in which I stated that I would never buy another Android phone. I laughed, because just about one month ago when Laura and I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile, we did the price-conscious thing. They had a BOGO deal on the LG G6, which meant that we would be paying approximately $20/month for not one, but TWO phones. If we had wanted the latest iPhone (at the time, the 7), we would probably have been paying close to three times that amount.
One might ask why, when I stated so clearly several years ago that I would never buy another Android, that I would consider switching back from Apple. The cost was certainly a factor, but it’s not the only reason by far. Another large factor is how I feel the company has slipped in its development without Steve Jobs. Cost is going up, and the “Wow!” factor isn’t keeping pace.
Google’s Assistant quickly leap-frogged Siri. I jumped on the Google Home bandwagon last year, and having that knowledge base just one question away is huge.
Finally, the customization options are amazing. Shortly after setting up my phone, I downloaded the Evie launcher, and I’m now able to use my phone almost completely one-handed — even with my non-dominant hand. Which is a huge deal with a baby. I have multiple home screens, with all of my important apps on the bottom row (or bottom two rows). I’ve got widgets for my weather, calendar, music, and podcasts. I don’t even have to look at the apps I only use occasionally, either — or the apps I don’t want to be time-wasters (Facebook and Instagram, I’m talking about you). All I have to do is swipe down (anywhere on the screen), and I have a full-phone smart-search feature. If I swipe up from the bottom, I get my app drawer.
Even the notification center is useful, for what feels like the first time in forever. It’s easy to clear out notifications, and by downloading notin, I can make quick notes (i.e. “Call Dad back”) that show up in my notification area, and are easily swiped away — and I don’t have to set a date or time to be reminded, it’s just there.
This weekend, I embraced my inner geek, and undertook a successful mission to set up an app (Naptime Super Doze) that empowers the Android Doze feature. Normally, if the phone is unused for two hours while off charger, it goes into super battery savings (shutting off different networks, push notifications, etc.) — this app bypasses that time limit, and starts dozing after about 5 seconds, and I’m able to whitelist the apps that I actually want to stay active. Which means my battery lasts an extraordinarily long time now. And bonus — Facebook won’t sneak through while I’m not using the phone.
So all in all, I don’t have anything against Apple. I just think they’ve got some problems they need to sort out, and I’m happy to be a Google/Android user once again. Sorry Siri.