Leaving the Walled Garden: Going Android

My phones - IPhones to Galaxy Note 4In the end, my decision to try an Android phone was more a reaction against the IPhone 5.

In the fandom wars between Android and the IPhone, I have always been an Apple fangirl.  But that was… Before the IPhone 5.

Prior to the IPhone 5, I was a happy user of the Apple phone.  I loved the Walled Garden.

Within the Garden you didn’t have to worry about
  • Viruses
  • Malware
  • Complicated / confusing setup instructions
I loved the shininess of having an IPhone.  Apple really knows how to package their experience.

But that was before the IPhone 5.

I don’t have a bad customer experience that led me astray.  I had waited so long for a new phone that I bought the hype about the IPhone 5 – so much so that I didn’t wait for others to be the guinea pigs.  I wanted to be one of the first to hold the new gadget. I was eager to replace my first generation IPhone.

My expectations were so high that after I drove across town to retrieve the box from UPS (I could not wait for it to be delivered) and opened it up in my car, I was left a little unimpressed.

When I got it home and charged it up, I didn’t feel any better.  I saw what they did to the width of the screen (that I actually use to read books on) and I was bummed out that I had to hang onto it for another 2 years.  And I got this feeling all for a little more than $500.

I named it Yasugisu which means skinny in Japanese.

When the hype began for the IPhone 6, I was almost ready to go with the flow and line up with the rest of the faithful and buy another 2 years.  But then I ran across the Galaxy Note 4.  I thought about the change for a few months until my birthday and decided to buy a Note 4.  After a few days of transitioning key apps and tasks to the new phone, I realized that the primary emotion I was feeling was relief.

Relief about what, you might ask?  The Galaxy Note 4 is a good phone, but it doesn’t teleport me to work, so it is just a good phone.  It does what my phone needs to do: make calls, send email and allow me to read without scrolling.

As I transitioned from my old IPhone 5 to the Note, the pain points that I’d suppressed since I started to use the IPhone for business disappeared.  It started when I tried to configure my phone for email.  I configured the client, configured Google Mail and began to send work and Google mail.

When I sent my first email, I was surprised to find a 5 second delay after I hit send.  I’m sure that just about everyone has fat fingered an email or had an autoselected word that was inappropriate or a sadly embarrassing typo.  That was a pleasant surprise.

After I sent email I got an even bigger surprise: If I responded via the Google client on the IPhone, I used to share those emails with the company email server.  On my new phone, my Google emails were not shared with my work Exchange email.

I’ve since discovered that the bug is a Google email issue with its own klugy workaround, but regardless of whose issue it is – I no longer have to check my outgoing google emails so that they don’t end up in my inbox at work. This was hugely annoying. Strangely enough, it doesn’t show up in Android.  Go Figure.

Finally, there are Options.  I live for options.  I love the fact that I had to choose between 2-3 reasonably good email apps that work.  The apps that I tried with IOS never seemed to be able to get to the Exchange server.

After my email pain point went away, I soon discovered that using my phone for business became a little less annoying.  I spend most of my day in conference calls and when I have to use my phone, I’m usually driving.

During the first conference call on the Note, I was ready to tap on the keypad to get to the page to “mute” or “unmute”.  Imagine my surprise to when I realized that someone had actually thought through the user interface design to put the Mute and Speaker buttons on the same page.  Now I didn’t have to risk someone else’s life looking down to get to another page so that I can unmute and talk.

These aren’t big issues, but over time I didn’t realize how much they grated.  The surprise is that I like the other features of the phone as much as I do (Camera mode options, Stylus, New ringtones, Google Play and News access, to name a few).

In the end, I have to admit – while transitioning to Android apps may have been painful – I really like the Note 4.  Reading on my phone has become pleasurable again – no one is asking why I’m squinting at my phone anymore.

Have you had a good or bad experience after leaving the Walled Garden or did you decide to try an IPhone 6?  Leave a comment or send a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.
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