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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Not sure about switching to Android - I have doubts and questions

Hello everyone,
I am a long time iOS user. I have had a 3GS, and now an iPhone 4. I also have an iPad 2. These apparels are great, and iOS works very well, but somehow I am becoming less enthusiast because of the lack of real innovation in iOS since a long time. iOS 6 has poor maps app as everybody knows, and the iTunes match service is not working as I would like.
I am a gmail user, I have all my contacts and agendas in Google, I use Google Music (which works way better than iTunes match for cloud listening). I heard a couple of says ago about the Nexus 4, and with such a low price I am considering in switching to Android.
But of course I have questions and doubts for I don't know this OS. It would be great if you could help me !

- Fragmentation / stability : a common Android problem (or not ?). When I browse the forums and I see the incredible amount of phone models, I find it scary ! How do the apps can be working on so many devices, with so many processors, screen sizes, memory, etc. ? With iOS you have 2 / 3 models, but on the other hand I know that if I download an app, it will work. I tested Android on a crappy 99$ tablet, and the few apps I tried crashed everytime. Is it because of the apps, or the tablet ? Also on the Play Store there are many user feedbacks reporting crashes. These crashes may happen on some devices, and don't on other... How can the developers make 100% working apps ?
- Apps optimization : on iOS many apps are optimized for retina displays. On Android, with so many screen sizes and resolutions, are the apps optimized in terms of resolution (for instance, with the Nexus 4) ? Retina games for instance are really great to play and look at.
- Security : I read on some forums that there were anti-virus / anti-spyware apps on Android. Coming from iOS it is very puzzling to consider that I may have to install such a software on a phone (and what about the performances with a resident anti-virus running in the background ?).
- Updates : with iOS there are frequent updates for all devices. Will it be the same with a Nexus ?

Sorry for my many questions and many references to iOS, but it's the only ecosystem I know so far.

Thank you in advance

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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Sebbb, and welcome to AF

I'm typing this on a mobile app, so can't see your post at the same time, so apologies if I miss any points!

If updates are your concern then you don't need to worry with the Nexus 4 if you buy it from the Play Store. That's straight from Google, with nobody else in the chain to slow the update.

I don't know what apps you tried, but I've very rarely had problems with stability on my old HTC so suspect the cheap tablet. The processor used by the Nexus is going to be in a lot of high end devices in the near future, and the screen resolution is quite standard, so again I don't think you'll have compatibility problems with it.

As for AV, the companies see a market, but that doesn't mean it's needed. Some people like to have a scanner for peace of mind, some like other security features that come with some of these apps (phone location, remote wipe, etc), most don't use one. There is malware for any platform, but if you take reasonable care with what you install and where you install from you will be very unlucky if you encounter it. At time of writing there are no android viruses in the traditional PC sense.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Let me try and answer your questions to the best of my ability, Sebb (and Welcome to Android Forums, BTW )

Fragmentation ...

There has been so much written about this it has almost become cliché. Of course there are hundreds of different model phones from major players like Samsung, LG, HTC, ect all the way down to import knock-offs from market stalls in Shenzhen, China. Some call it fragmentation, some call it choice, I look at it as free market products. The problem isn't so much with the device as the expectation. That $99 tablet isn't going to work like a $400 pad from a major manufacturer, but many people expect it to be close. Think of it this way ... you are a wine lover but have heard beer is good too, but you don't want to invest in a top line beer so you buy something cheap and unknown at the bar. You could get lucky and find a gem, but the likelihood is that you'll end up with a bad beer and decide you don't like beer in general. That's human nature. We all do it.

Google Play is designed to restrict app availability to the model phones that meet the minimum spec. If you have a low end phone or one with a small screen you may not see the same set of apps as someone who has a Nexus 4, S3 or One X. I wouldn't worry about it. If there is a set of apps that are make or break for you, then just make sure you get a device that can handle it. The Nexus 4 certainly will handle most everything (I'm probably going to pick up one myself when they are available here ).

You might be surprised that apps crash more frequently on iOS than they do on Android. (Source: Forbes Magazine Article) The thing is that when they crash on iOS the user is taken right back tot he main screen with no indication that anything went wrong. Most times the user doesn't realize anything has happened at all. Android, OTOH reports the problem to the user so you can troubleshoot it or report it back to the developer. It's really just a different paradigm.

App optimization ...

Android apps, for the most part are scalable, so it's not really a big issue. Some games and apps that rely heavily on graphics do require a minimum resolution to run but those are the exception, not the norm.

Security ...

Bad guys are out there. They don't care if you have Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windowsphone or a tin can with a string ... they want your information/money/soul. The majority of exploits are through social engineering and will work on any platform. As for the security apps, there is a good bit of discussion as to their usefulness. Personally I don't use them. They do have a bit of an overhead hit on performance and I only ever get apps from legitimate sources like Play, Amazon, or on occasion, getjar.com.

Updates ...

The Nexus will always get them first because they come directly from Google ... except for the deal Verizon struck with their version of the Galaxy Nexus, but that's another kettle of fish. Most phones expect one major official upgrade throughout their life cycle, possibly 2, but that's the beauty of Android. Even after a phone has passed it's useful life cycle there's a huge development community out there ready to do what the manufacturers or carriers won't. I've got a 4 year old phone running the latest version of Android, and it runs pretty well.

I hope I've been able to answer some of your concerns.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebbb View Post
- Fragmentation / stability : a common Android problem (or not ?). When I browse the forums and I see the incredible amount of phone models, I find it scary ! How do the apps can be working on so many devices, with so many processors, screen sizes, memory, etc. ? With iOS you have 2 / 3 models, but on the other hand I know that if I download an app, it will work. I tested Android on a crappy 99$ tablet, and the few apps I tried crashed everytime. Is it because of the apps, or the tablet ? Also on the Play Store there are many user feedbacks reporting crashes. These crashes may happen on some devices, and don't on other... How can the developers make 100% working apps ?
There are certain guidelines for developers to follow when making an app. It is a developer's responsibility to follow those guidelines to ensure an app works across multiple devices.

The issues you had on the crappy tablet is probably due more to the fact that the tablet is crappy than anything else. What device is this exactly?

There is no way to make an app work 100% on any platform whether it is iOS or Android. For the more popular devices, apps will likely have fewer issues than on less popular devices.

With regard to the comments on the Play Store, it is not possible to know why some people are having issues. I have used apps that have no issues even though some people with the same device complain about issues.

If there are issues, the Play Store will publish a way to send feedback to the developer. Sending info to the developer will enable them to identify any issues and get an update out to fix it. I have seen apps with issues and after some time, they issue a fix.

Quote:
- Apps optimization : on iOS many apps are optimized for retina displays. On Android, with so many screen sizes and resolutions, are the apps optimized in terms of resolution (for instance, with the Nexus 4) ? Retina games for instance are really great to play and look at.
There are guidelines for developers when making apps of different resolutions and different screen sizes. It is not just the resolution that matters. Size matters as a 5" screen and 10" screen with the same resolution need to be handled differently to ensure objects (such as text) are displayed appropriately for each device. Some refuse to support certain screen configurations. My banking app does not support landscape orientation. I sent a message to the developer and they simply told me to use the mobile web site instead if I want landscape. I guess for my bank, the mobile web site is an option that they choose to direct me to.

Quote:
- Security : I read on some forums that there were anti-virus / anti-spyware apps on Android. Coming from iOS it is very puzzling to consider that I may have to install such a software on a phone (and what about the performances with a resident anti-virus running in the background ?).
I will direct you to this article with regard to security on Android: Malware on Android: is it really the problem security companies tout it to be?

Android is designed with security in mind. You have to agree to install an app before it installs. Apps are also protected to prevent them from affecting other apps or installing other stuff on your phone. No OS is going to be 100% malware free. Even on iOS, some people have managed to get apps that do stuff that it is not supposed to do. For the most part, you should be safe as long as you install apps from official sources like the Google Play store.

Quote:
- Updates : with iOS there are frequent updates for all devices. Will it be the same with a Nexus ?
I think iOS has one major release a year with some smaller releases to fix bugs and add some features. It will be the same with Nexus devices. With non-Nexus devices or devices tied to a carrier, they will get updates as well. Usually, it takes longer for non-Nexus, carrier-tied devices because the carrier needs to approve the update as well as the device manufacturer. This will result in these devices getting updates later. Some non-Nexus phones will only get updates after a period of time after which will not receive any more or will not receive the latest OS version. Also, older devices may not have hardware that can adequately support the latest OS version with any manufacturer skin and carrier branded apps. They may still recieve updates to fix issues, though.

If you really have to get the latest OS version as soon as possible, you should consider Nexus devices. They will get the latest OS versions before non-Nexus devices.

I am going to say that unless there is a feature that you really need, a phone running on an older OS version is still going to be fine. I'm on an SGS3 that is still on ICS (Android 4.0). As nice as it would be for me to get JB (Android 4.1/4.2), there isn't anything I am really in a rush to get. There really isn't anything I find on my phone that I'm unhappy about. My phone may not have the latest and greatest, but it is still pretty awesome.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, thank you very much guys for your very detailed answers ! And thank you for your welcomes.
According to you, what are the killer features/apps of Android ?
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Old November 5th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
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According to you, what are the killer features/apps of Android ?
That's tough. Everybody's favorites/must have's will be different. For me I use maps and nav quite a bit as well as Google voice. Maybe Google likes me more than Siri, but I almost always get was i want with Google ... not so much siri.

Configurability is my main killer feature ... and customization. Configurability and customization are my TWO main killer features ... and widgets. AMONG my main killer features are configurability, customization, widgets .... and a fanatical devotion to the Pope.






As far as apps are concerned it's about communications for me.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebbb View Post
- Security : I read on some forums that there were anti-virus / anti-spyware apps on Android. Coming from iOS it is very puzzling to consider that I may have to install such a software on a phone (and what about the performances with a resident anti-virus running in the background ?).
Pardon my French, but I am so bloody exhausted by apple and their users pretending that "security through obscurity" was/is an effective antivirus program. For years apple has buried its head in the sand and pretended that if they ignore malware it will deflect to other platforms. Back when all they had was the single-digit marketshare on the desktop this may have been mostly true - as hackers simply tried to infect a larger percentage of a larger marketshare to make their time worthwhile. But all it did was create a aura of ignorance and the pretense of invulnerability. But, before you think this is a mindless anti-apple rant....

CNET: Back in 2008 apple's marketing team removed a technical paper from apple's website because it dared to recommend anti-virus precautions in the face of their marketing to the public.
Apple deletes Mac antivirus suggestion | Security & Privacy - CNET News

ZDNET: apple continues to pretend there is no problem
Kaspersky denied iOS app: Apple buries its head in the security sand | ZDNet

CNET: apple is like any other platform. ALL are vulnerable (apple, Android, Windows, etc).
Apple's iOS and Android are new favorite malware victims | Security & Privacy - CNET News

Forbes: all of apple is vulnerable.
Yes, Apple's Machines Really Can Get Viruses - Forbes

International Business Times: There has been at least one well-known virus
Apple iOS App Store Gets First Virus: Learn About The App That Steals Your Contacts And Spams Your Friends

PCWorld: Even apple doesn't claim to 100% immune
Apple Quietly Pulls Claims of Virus Immunity | PCWorld
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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According to you, what are the killer features/apps of Android ?
The main reason I chose my first Android phone over iOS was the variety of hardware options available. At the time (2010), I wanted a phone with a landscape slider keyboard. iOS had none, Android had a few. I chose the HTC Desire Z for this reason. I also made sure that the phone itself can do what I want which is web browsing and social networking as well. Today, the landscape keyboard slider is practically extinct. Still, if you look at various phones, you still have a great variety to choose from.

Widgets are one of the great features that I like to use. There are a variety of different widgets that do a variety of things. They are a mini version of an app that is on your home screen. It can provide information and it can control apps or phone settings. I'll give you some examples.

The weather widget I use shows the current temperature in my area along with the current conditions. There are weather widgets that also show the short term forecast. If you tap on the widget, you will bring up the full app. with the widget, you can view some small piece of useful information at a glance without having to start up the app.

I have a Volume Widget. This widget allows me to control the sound profile on my phone with a single tap. When I go to sleep, I tap on the widget to turn off all notification sounds, but my alarm sound and ring tone is still on. I don't want to be awaken by an email, but I do want to be waken by the alarm or a phone call. When I get up, I tap the widget again and my notification sounds are back on. When I go outside, I tap the widget to turn up the volume of all of my sounds so I can hear my phone in noisy environments. This widget makes it way more convenient than going into my sound settings every time to make a change.

I have a widget that when I tap it, it will launch my Twitter feed and show the list I set up that displays traffic information tweets only. Normally, if I launch Twitter, it takes me to my regular feeds (which has sports reporter tweets and stuff like that). To go to a Twitter list I set up for traffic takes a number of additional taps. The widget jumps to my traffic list with a single tap.

Android allows you to change your touch screen keyboard to use a third party keyboard. I use Thumb Keyboard because it has multiple keyboard layouts to choose from. I have a large phone, so for my landscape layout, I choose a keyboard that is split in the middle, so my thumb does not have to reach as far to press the G key for instance. Different keyboards have different features. One feature that is popular is the Swype feature where you drag your finger/thumb across the keyboard keys instead of pecking on each individual key.

Android allows you to switch launchers. I use one called Nova Prime. This launcher allows me to have more than 4 rows of icons. Also, I can remove the app tray on my home screen. My home screen is configured to have 6 rows of icons with no app tray. Having additional space on each screen allows me to configure it to use fewer screens and makes the most out of the screen realestate.

Android allows you to change default applications. If for instance you want to use a different browser other than the default one, you can set the default browser to something different like Opera or Dolphin. Whenever you click on a url anywhere, it will launch that browser instead of the default one. The same goes for email, music player, map app, etc.

Notification sounds for each app is set individually. You can set up a different notification sound for each app, so when you get a notification, you can tell by the sound what type of notification it is. You can also choose an app to not make a sound while others do. Android gives you this level of control.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 04:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that when you do get an Android device, get one that can actually be compared to an iPhone, not some mid-range device and then complain why the iPhone is better, when in fact hardware wise you skimped and did indeed get something worse than an iPhone. We've had here complaints of people using entry level devices and complaining why they're phones aren't iPhone level, when they seem to refuse to see that they are comparing a device that's 5x cheaper than the iPhone.

Current crop you can choose from at the iPhone 5 category of performance are the Galaxy SIII, HTC One X, and the Motorola Razr M.

iPhone 4S (previous generation) level phones are the Galaxy SII, HTC Rezound, and the Motorola Razr.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was in your position two weeks ago and made the move from iOS to Android with the Galaxy S3 for many reasons, chief of which was the iOS 6 update and being bored with limitations.

Being able to change out batteries and SD cards along with a bigger screen made my decision that much easier. On the other hand, I've had more stability issues than the Kardashian family on a good day. It's a good thing I can remove the battery, because it's the only way I got my phone to respond after three crashes.

The one thing I miss most about the iphone is how polished everything is. Aside from the maps mess, it seems like apple goes to great lengths to make everything absolutely perfect in execution. Even though the S3 is lightning fast and performs like a race horse it still seems clunky, especially when you compare identical apps on both systems.

I took my perfect iphone to Best Buy and they gave me $175 on trade in on a $150 S3. Surely I could've got more elsewhere, but it was a snap decision. Like you, I also have an Ipad 2, so the hundreds I've spent in the apple store hasn't completely gone to waste.

No buyer's remose yet, but the crashing nonsense is a PITA and Samsung needs to get their s*it together and fix it without delay.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 07:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you guys for all this info.
OK, so Android and iOS can have the same security threats, no more no less.
Widgets seem to be very handy, can't wait to configure my own. Concerning the phone, I will choose the Nexus 4 (this is this device, with its amazing low price for its features, which made me consider switching), so I guess it will be powerful enough to run recent apps.
I have a couple of other questions :
- With Android, how do you backup your device ? Is there a cloud backup solution like iCloud ?
- How do you restore an Android phone ? Is there a particular software for PC/mac/linux which has the same sync / backup / restore functions like iTunes (which I don't particularly like) ?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 07:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Depends on what you want to backup. I have Sugarsync. Basically, most of iCloud's features were copied off Sugarsync anyway. The whole bit about the photo you took instantaneously sent to cloud and appears in your computer in a few secs? SS had that before iCloud even existed. Dropbox also has that.

The difference between iCloud and SS though is that SS backs up files. Contacts and Calendar is backed up to Google. You can also use Google Drive and G+ for photo and data backups.

Restoring backups depends entirely on how you backed up your device. With Android having so many options on how you want your data to be backed up, of course it will also have different methods for restoring per method of backing up.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 11:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm in the same boat. Been iOS for 3 years. And having to always jailbreak my phone to get the apps I want to make the phone work exactly the way I want it. Tired of waiting for jailbreaks. Been reading Android reviews for the past 6 months. Gut was telling me, the O/S-device combinations weren't "polished" enough yet to make the switch "low remorse risk." But then the S3 and HTC One X came out and I read and read and read and determined the HTC was best for me due to better display and Sense interface. BUT, I've got 16GB of music and AT&T only offered a 16GB version. Too bad. But then comes along the HTC One X PLUS with better battery life, better CPU, 64GB storage. BINGO. Just waiting day by day now. But I definitely won't sell my iPhone 4 until I've used the HTC a couple of weeks.

The story above about the guy's S3 crashing and having to remove the battery though is troublesome. Hard to believe the most popular Android Smartphone in the world would have issues where you need to remove the batter to cold boot it? Yikes! Still gives me pause at Android but with a return policy in place, I'm going to give it a try.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm in the same boat. Been iOS for 3 years. And having to always jailbreak my phone to get the apps I want to make the phone work exactly the way I want it. Tired of waiting for jailbreaks. Been reading Android reviews for the past 6 months. Gut was telling me, the O/S-device combinations weren't "polished" enough yet to make the switch "low remorse risk." But then the S3 and HTC One X came out and I read and read and read and determined the HTC was best for me due to better display and Sense interface. BUT, I've got 16GB of music and AT&T only offered a 16GB version. Too bad. But then comes along the HTC One X PLUS with better battery life, better CPU, 64GB storage. BINGO. Just waiting day by day now. But I definitely won't sell my iPhone 4 until I've used the HTC a couple of weeks.

The story above about the guy's S3 crashing and having to remove the battery though is troublesome. Hard to believe the most popular Android Smartphone in the world would have issues where you need to remove the batter to cold boot it? Yikes! Still gives me pause at Android but with a return policy in place, I'm going to give it a try.
Cold booting by battery removal is a very rare circumstance with the GS3. I don't think I've had to do it on my GS3, except when I was playing around with system files and root and messed something up.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 05:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Since the Nexus 4 doesn't have removable battery I hope there is a way to force a reboot in case a crash happens.
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