I’ve been using a Nexus S (now updated to Android Jellybean 4.2.2) and an iPhone 5 (now at iOS 6.1.2) on a daily basis for a couple months now. Much has been written comparing Android and iOS already, so I’m just adding my anecdotal experience to the wood pile. I’ve found myself increasingly thinking of the Nexus S as a “work” device and the iPhone as a “play” device. Here’s why:
Android for Work
- Google integration — I rely on Google apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive extensively, both personally and for work. It’s super easy to sign into an Android phone with multiple Google accounts. Once signed in, all email, calendar events, contacts, and docs associated with your Google accounts immediately become available on the phone.
- Voice dictation — Google-powered voice dictation is incredible. I find myself often dictating entire emails now — it’s so much faster than thumb-typing on the phone!
- Swiping keyboard — the swiping keyboard that’s built into the latest versions of Android is much more accurate (and fun to use!) than the regular touch keypad. I discovered it accidentally when one of my fingers slipped across the regular keyboard once and haven’t gone back ever since. Between swiping and voice dictation, the Nexus S has become my preferred mobile device for text-entry while on the go.
- Google Now — a question I wonder nearly every morning is: “should I take 101 or 280?” to commute to work. Google Now proactively figured out my commute routes and now one of the notifications at the top of the Nexus S every morning is an alert from Google Now that tells me which is the best route to take this particular morning. I love that. It’s magical and useful to have my mobile phone smartly offer assistance.
- Portable wifi hotspot — the Nexus S’es built-in portable wifi hotspot turns on really quickly and has been a more reliable connection for me than the iPhone’s wifi tethering. I’ve been using both devices on AT&T’s 4G network, tethered to a Macbook Air — the Nexus S would often provide hotspot connectivity in places where the iPhone would refuse to connect (for some reason, the iPhone refuses to allow tethering while in “4G” mode, not “LTE”).
- Aggregated notifications — the way Android aggregates and displays email notifications in the “windowshade” is super useful. I like being able to take action (like archiving an email) right from the windowshade.
iOS for Play
- Camera and camera apps — the iPhone 5’s tap-to-shutter lag is barely noticeable and I think the native iOS camera app does a good job of handling light-metering by tapping on dark/light areas of the viewfinder. The iPhone camera seems to take better photos and videos, in general, than the Nexus S. Also, my favorite video and camera apps are all on iOS, too: Videokits, Facebook Camera, Manga Camera, Looker, Instagram, Snapseed, and Photosynth, etc. I also really like the “swipe up” to go into camera mode
- Shared Photostreams — my parents and in-laws have iOS devices and want to see the latest photos of their grandkids; what better way to share than with iOS’es built in Shared Photostreams? I find that I share way more photos this way than I do through social-network sites… I tend to pick and choose which photos to share on Facebook or Twitter because I don’t want to bombard online friends/followers with dozens of pics taken at, say, a kiddie birthday party. But the grandparents are more than happy to receive all 50 photos in a Shared Photostream — they “like” every single one! 🙂
- AirPlay — this is really the killer app of iOS for me: being able to AirPlay any content (whether it’s photos/videos from the camera roll, a YouTube video, a song from iTunes, or a Netflix movie) from the phone to a bigscreen TV. The seamlessness of the experience is awesome. I love how the iPhone has become an integral part of the living room experience.
- Games — there are still just a ton more games and apps available in the iTunes App Store than on Google Play. Most of the big titles from Rovio, Electronic Arts, or Zynga are available on both. But many educational and kids games are still only on iTunes App Store. That makes a critical difference on which device gets shared with kids on the couch.
So, net-net I’m using the Android device more for day-to-day productivity and the iOS device more as a media and gaming device. In a way, this actually lines up with Steve Jobs’ reported focus on taking over the living room. Both the iPhone 5 and Nexus S are beautiful devices with well-executed operating systems. Looks like both Apple and Google are hitting their strides, respectively, though I doubt that they’d intended to segment the market for mobile OS’es by work vs. play… Still it seems to have come out that way for me, personally!
Anyone else “dual-holstering” both and Android and iOS devices these days? What are your thoughts?