Let me start by emphasizing that both iOS and Android have their merits, and I like both of them in different ways.
Now, the reason why I decided to switch over to Android is because a few months ago, I dropped my iPhone 4S, and I broke the screen. I wanted to fix it, so I ordered a replacement on eBay which started a long chain of problem, from 2 DOA screens to lost screws, to wrong parts ordered, and it all ended with my somehow breaking the logic board so the display doesn’t turn on at all. I had only a few days prior sold the only backup phone to AT&T during their time limited promotion, so once the phone was unusable, I had to get a phone quickly. I had a few choices available to me since I was due for an upgrade on AT&T. First, I could go and buy an iPhone 5, using my upgrade. I didn’t want to do this because I just couldn’t buy a 10 month old phone, knowing that a new device would be coming out in a few months. Second, I could go to Craigslist and buy a phone. I’d save an upgrade, but I’d still be paying over 200 bucks now, and then 200 later for the next iPhone. Therefore, I decided that iOS was out of the question, and I wanted to try out a different mobile OS. I had a few flagship devices to pick from. iPhone 5 (out), HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S IV, Blackberry Z10, Nokia Lumia 920, among others. I didn’t want a Windows Phone because there isn’t a strong Windows Phone application selections, and same with Blackberry 10, plus their Android emulator doesn’t work with the apps built for the latest OS. That leaves Android.
I had the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 to chose from. Both have their merits. The One is very well built, and aesthetically pleasing. However, it has a non-removable battery and no SD card. The S4 has a lot of gimmicky features and is made of plastic, but some of those gimmicks could be useful and it does have a removable battery so I could buy the ZeroLemon battery which would provide a multi-day charge, and it’s technically the most powerful phone available, spec-wise.
I decided to go for the HTC One. The SD card is a non-issue for me (and the HTC One comes standard with 32GB vs S4’s 16), it is easier to hold (even though it’s still a bit too big for my tastes), it’s better built, and it has a higher quality screen (Not a fan of AMOLED). The battery issue is pressing, but I’ll find a way to work around that (carry an external battery?).
I then had to decide where to buy it. I could use the $100 from AT&T and buy it from them, for about $100 total (waived upgrade fees because of OSU). I could go to Best Buy who has it for $150, and it comes with a $50 Best Buy gift card. Except I don’t shop at Best Buy. Next is RadioShack. They have it for $200, but it comes with $100 in Google Play credit, and they’ll price match with Best Buy, so I’m out a net $50. I decided to buy through them. At the store, they had it for $150 (guess they didn’t update their website), and somehow, I got a $50 RadioShack gift card, even though I probably shouldn’t have (sign said, “new activations only”). Awesome, I’m out only a few bucks for taxes. Then I found out that HTC is giving $25 Google Play credit for buying the HTC One. I made money by getting this device. (I know, I didn’t get money, I got credit for different places, but I would have spent the money anyways so it works for me).
Now I’ve had this phone for a little less than a week now. I can tell you that I’ve almost gotten used to it. It’s still a little too big, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I do like many features, especially the ability to install apps remotely from the computer, instead of having to search for the app in the Play Store and installing it. I also like that I can replace many system utilities. Swiftkey, a keyboard replacement, is very nice. I highly recommend it. The widgets are nice, and the HTC Camera features, like HTC Zoe, are pretty neat. Also, it was quite easy to unlock the bootloader and root it. I’m sure that I’ll be trying out different mods and ROMs. The ability to sign in with the linked Google Account in Chrome saves a good amount of time.
I don’t like that all of the bloatware. While it’s pretty easy to remove it, the fact that AT&T is bundling a bunch of their stupid apps is annoying (If you pay for AT&T Navigator and you have a smartphone, you are stupid. The phone comes with one! Google Maps!) I’ve had some apps crash on me. I need to find something that’s a Siri replacement. Google Now only seems to search Google, not control system functions. On the hardware side, the lack of physical buttons I don’t like. The battery like is quite mediocre.
I would say the main difference between iOS and Android is simply the customization. While iOS is ready to go, out of the box, not much setup needed, Android has the capabilities to completely change your device and you have a bigger choice. In my opinion, the perfect OS is a meld of iOS (especially with iOS 7) and Android. The sheer customization of Android is nice, especially for someone like me, but there’s just something about a phone where you don’t need to change everything. Jailbreaking gets you part of the way closer to my perfect OS, but it’s getting harder and harder to do it. On the hardware side, I really wish that a company could make a phone with the build quality and aesthetics that Apple and HTC have shown, but do something to increase the battery size. I don’t care if it’s a quarter inch thicker and a bit heavier! If I can go a full day with heavy use on a single charge, I’d be a happy man! I’d like one physical button that can be remapped to whatever I want, in addition to the capacitive keys. Finally, I’d like a smaller phone. The trend to having larger phone is disturbing me. I have sausage fingers! I can’t grip these wide phones! All in all, I’m confident that my new purchase will last me two years at which point I’ll re-evaluate the market.