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Considering switch to Android

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by GhostITMG, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. GhostITMG

    GhostITMG Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm currently a Windows 10 Mobile user and I'm considering switching to Android, but I know very little about the ecosystem, so I was wondering if I could get some advice on what's possible if I switch.

    1) I currently use Cortana in my car, like a lot. The one thing I don't want to lose is that when my phone is connected to my car stereo over Bluetooth, if I get a text, she will tell me I have a text, offer to read it to me, and then ask me if I would like to respond and will write the response through speech to text. Will I still be able to do this? I would prefer to continue to use Cortana for this, but not a deal breaker as long as it is possible.

    2) I've agreed to hive MS access to my information. I'm already not a huge fan of trading my personal info for services, so I don't want to start all over again with another company. How possible is it to remove Google from the phone, replace it with the MS services I'm used to using and still have a good experience? Mostly, if I do take Google out of the loop, does that mean I lose access to the Play Store and therefor the majority of apps?

    3) If it is possible to take Google out of the phone, is there a particular model/brand I should be looking to? I do like the new Galaxy S8, but I don't know if certain phones are more customizable than others or of I need to root the phone in order to do this.

    Thank you in advance for any help anyone can offer me!

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  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Cortana ... yes, it's available for Android. I would guess that it doesn't hook into your phone quite the way it does on a Windows Phone. Android assistant does what you describe, but some of the features will depend on your car's head unit. If it works now with Cortana, I'd be surprised if Assistant didn't, but nothing is guaranteed.

    the rest of it, well *sigh* you can de-google android, but why bother? you will lose many services and access to the play store is just one of them. You have the same issues using an iPhone, but you can't disable Apple there.

    You can decide on an app-by-app basis what permissions you are giving the app and you can adjust privacy settings to transmit minimal information if you like. But, as they say, there is no free lunch. You're still going to be providing metrics to Google, your carrier, Samsung and the CIA. ;)
    Dannydet, touringhaggis and GhostITMG like this.
  3. GhostITMG

    GhostITMG Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hah! Thank you very much for your reply! I appreciate the feed back. If I do choose to de-google the phone though, are there some phones that prohibit that where others don't? Just curious if it requires a specific type of handset or if it's possible on all of them? And I get the question of why bother, but lets just consider it a personal preference.

    Also, if I do, can I side load apps rather than getting them through the official Play Store?

    I'm just being curious as to my options here.
  4. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    When you fire up an Android phone out of the box, you are presented with a setup screen that asks you for an existing Google account, create a new Google account and hidden down in the corner is a little link that says "skip". If you don't set it up with a Google account, there's no Google. Now, you are going to be warned, prompted and prodded to use one, but just keep going and you'd have a Google-less Android phone. It's pretty universal, so I can't think of any handset that would prevent you from doing it.

    Or, another option would be to create a 'fake' Google account with little or no personal information so they will collect Phantom information. I have one I use just for testing stuff, with a pay-as-you-go sim in it so I can swap it around devices with little or no personal information being shared.

    Just an FYI, without Google, you have no play store access, no map data, Assistant probably won't work either, just to name a few.

    You can sideload apps but the sites you get apps from don't properly screen them or violate developers copyrights. They are tremendous security risks and to be avoided at all costs, IMHO.
  5. GhostITMG

    GhostITMG Lurker
    Thread Starter

    That is perfect information! Thank you so very much Lunatic!
    lunatic59 likes this.
  6. touringhaggis

    touringhaggis Android Enthusiast

    I would say that de-Googling an Android phone is about as wise as buying a BMW and replacing the moving parts and electronics with those from a Corvette. Sure, you can do it and it could be a fun project, but it will be a lot of work.

    Now, if you want to work out if the effort is worth it you need to answer one question: What is it about the current Windows phones that you *don't* like? Or, which pain point are you trying to fix by going to Android. If there is not much in that list you are probably better sticking with a new Corvette.

    BTW: much of what is available in the play store is also available in the Amazon App store, so that option remains open to you. Also, rooting will only let you delete the unconfigured pre installed Google apps, so not much help there.

  7. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    That's me ... adequate information while you wait, perfect information by appointment only. ;)

    Hope you come over to the dark side. :D
  8. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    True, but the concern I think was one of privacy. With Amazon, you're giving them your metrics instead of Google ... well they're both probably getting them anyway, so ... ;)

    Rooting ... *cringe*. Removing Google apps from an Android phone *CRIIIIIINGE*

    Just so you DON'T do this, removing Google apps from and Android phone is like removing your aorta ... just not a good idea. Seriously, many of Android's necessary services are shared similar to Linux dependencies. If you start removing system apps, you can disable or cripple critical services and at best remove functionality from other apps and at worst ... that aorta thing.

    @touringhaggis ... one of the best avatars I've seen in a long time. :D :thumbsupdroid:
  9. MLSS

    MLSS Android Expert

    If you want to take Google out of the loop then why switch to android in the first place? I'm always baffled about folks who want to do this. If you want to keep all your MS stuff and have that experience then just stay with windows.
  10. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    The problem being that Windows Phone is heading to the same graveyard where they keep 8-track tapes, blockbuster videos and Pontiacs. ;)
    Dannydet and mikedt like this.
  11. MLSS

    MLSS Android Expert

    Then its time the OP just accepts their fate and come to the dark side 😂

    Ill gladly let Google mine my data to use android but I don't have anything to hide......
    Anywho.... I hope you find the solution that works best for you OP. 😀
  12. MLSS

    MLSS Android Expert

    8 tracks? I wondered why the folks at the record shop look at me funny when I ask them for the latest Cream album on 8 track😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
    Dannydet, mikedt and lunatic59 like this.
  13. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Well it is possible to remove Google completely, but better to do it cleanly by installing a completely Google-free ROM (e.g. Lineage without the optional Google apps package) rather than hacking the existing one.

    BTW you should know that rooting and "de-Googling" the existing ROM will almost certainly prevent you receiving further system updates officially: many phones these days won't install an update on a modified ROM, and installing a custom recovery will certainly block over the air updates. So if you want to go that way then IMO it's less hassle to get into custom ROMs, where the developer will also provide updates. BUT that's a big thing to jump straight into if you are new to Android: creating a "burner" Google account and just making the minimum use of Google services (e.g. Play Store), and disabling apps you don't use, is probably a lot simpler. Set the location service to only use GPS if you don't want Google to collect "anonymous" statistics on your location.

    If you do want to root then sure, some phones are definitely easier to modify than others. But there can be more to that than just "which phone": in particular if you were thinking of buying a US carrier-subsidised phone you should know that those are locked-down pretty hard these days, so most are not easy to root. And I think it's probably too early to even say whether root will be possible for US carrier S8 models yet (there are some developments for the global Exynos-based model now, but not for the North American Qualcomm-based one).

    I'm afraid I've never used Cortana so can't tell you how good the integration with Android is, just that it exists.
    lunatic59 likes this.
  14. GhostITMG

    GhostITMG Lurker
    Thread Starter

    So, for those of you asking "Why switch to Google in the first place?" allow me to offer a little insight:)

    Once upon a time, Windows Phone, Mobile, whatever you want to call it was a promising new platform. For those of us that bought into the hope that it would one day flourish and grow into a viable 3rd platform with a competitive edge, we are now in a bit of a sticky wicket. We've mostly gone whole hog into the MS ecosystem. We have services and apps that we have filled with data and had them become very personalized for us already in exchange for our information/habits. Much like people that have been in Google's platform for sometime.

    As I'm sure everyone is well aware, MS has been moving so slowly to do anything with their mobile platform that we have largely been left in the dust at this point as far as apps go. And because MS seems to constantly be working on a good stable base platform for the phone, many advanced features on Android and iOS are now beginning to really widen the gap.

    But the thing is, the ecosystem itself (such as it is) is really good. I love my Cortana. She does all the things I need my personal assistant to do, and she's there on my Xbox, my PC and on my tablet. So, I want to stay in my ecosystem, but I also want to switch to hardware and a base software platform that is at least updated on a regular basis.

    So, my initial questions were really just posed based on a lack of understanding of just what is possible with Android. For those of us who haven't really investigated it very far, all we know are the selling points that it is a free and open platform that can be customized to the users content! But, I wasn't sure just how deeply into the OS that went.

    So far you've all be very kind and helpful with your answers. I really appreciate it!
  15. OrigSleuth

    OrigSleuth Newbie

    I am a former Windows Phone user (Windows Phone 8.1) which I thought, and in the main still do, as a fantastic O/S which was vastly underrated.

    I have made the switch when my beloved Nokia 920 started to go wrong.

    The main issue you will have is the successful importing of contacts, from the live account to the Google account. It can be done, but unfortunately there isn't an easy method for a live sync.

    I use my Microsoft account as my main email and Google account.

    Things such as OneNote sync perfectly between PC & phone, as does Wunderlist.

    I do not use Cortana, so I can't tell you the effects of using her on an Android Phone. I have installed most of the MS apps - though I could not really get along with Android Outlook.

    The phone I use is a OnePlus 3, which gives a very smooth feeling. While I look back with fondness at the Sync capabilities of Windows Phone, I am not unhappy at making the switch.

    I have cried for help a few times, and this forum has been very understanding, as well as helpful.

    If I can be of assistance, please feel free to ask, or send me a PM. As soon as I see it, I will try to respond.

    Best regards
    Dannydet and lunatic59 like this.
  16. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    You can remove Google completely from Android, just buy a phone in China.
  17. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    I think the Outlook mobile app is geared specifically to cloud hosted ms mail accounts. It's not as cooperative with true exchange servers or, go forbid, Linux mail servers.

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