My First Android Phone

Just got myself an Android phone earlier this week and it’s been interesting experiencing so far.

I’ve owned several iOS devices (though never an iPhone; this is my first smartphone), and so have a good feel for it. With Android on the other hand, though I’ve paid a lot of attention to the OS and the ecosystem and know a fair bit about it, I’ve had little actual hands on usage.

So, after two days, here are my first impressions:

  • I’m starting to get used to the multiple buttons at the bottom. In Android, there’s always a “Home button” AND a “back button” at the bottom (as well as a task switcher!). At first I kept moving my finger towards the top left of the screen looking for links in the apps to go back a screen, which is very common in iOS (the occasional app in Android follows this convention too). I’d say after the second day I’ve started finding myself by default heading for the bottom right where the Android button is.

  • I also keep finding myself surprised (and happy) when I reopen apps and they’re right there in the state where I left them, with no long reloads or anything. Despite the multitasking now in iOS, there still seem to be not enough iOS apps doing this. It makes (or makes it feel like anyway) switching tasks on Android much faster.

  • I love the share menu. iOS now has Twitter (and will soon have Facebook) integration, but the share menu in Android can work with anything! So far, I’m particularly fond of using it to send things to Instapaper. In iOS, if my particular app hadn’t built in an Instapaper link, then I’d have to open it in Safari and use a bookmarklet (which was a little annoying to setup).

  • I really like widgets. iOS is sorely lacking here. Maybe to some it’s not that big a thing on a phone form factor, but I still find it very useful to have some concise and useful data just there on the screen without needing to open an app. However, I think widgets are amazing with a tablet-sized screen. The amount of screen space I think just feels wasted when just filled with app icons. To me widgets for a tablet really makes Android feel like more like a “real computer” OS as opposed to iOS on an iPad, which just seems like a big iPod. Of course, on the flip side, there are a lot of iOS apps out there optimized for the larger screen with separate window panes, tabs, and menus, and while there’s no reason Android can’t and won’t have this more in the future, there are fewer apps doing it so far.

So, these are the things I’ve been noticing and thinking about with Android so far. It will be interesting to see what else I find I notice, what I really like, and what I find I miss from iOS as things go on.