One of the biggest search keywords on this blog almost always is “moving from apple to android.” As Android phone sales outpace Apple, I’m sure that the question of whether to switch will become even more prevalent. I wrote about the differences and similarities of the two mobile devices, and even toyed with iPhoneJD, Jeff Richardson over the things “Droid Does” and iPhone doesn’t. A quick search of Google will give you over 6 million results for the keyword “android versus apple,” while Lifehacker gives you the rundown on how to make the switch. That goes to show just how intense the debate is, and the analysis of which device (system) is better.
Recently, I asked for your help in “settling” the question of which device is best for lawyers. Your decision to choose Android over iOS is yours alone, the important thing to ask is what do you need, and which system will get you to that goal? It seems though, both sides tend to adamantly defend their given system, though I think Android users give a little more leeway to Apple fans.
I received a lot of responses to my request for input on why people switched from iOS to Android, including the ubiquitous “because that’s the cheap phone came with my cell phone plan.” Unfortunately, with the power and cost of some devices, evaluating your true needs is essential to making the switch from iOS to Android.
Charlotte divorce Attorney Ketan Soni, is one of a number of attorneys who integrate Apple and Android (ugh, are there really such people who mix chocolate and vinegar?) seamlessly. Ketan tells me he uses a Macbook Pro in his law office, an iPad for his mobile device, and he loves his Motorola Droid Bionic, which he has customized with the leaked version of Ice Cream Sandwich. Ketan keeps the Apple, because of the easy tech support features that keep his office up and maintenance costs down. He integrates his Android phone into his office to sync calendars, email and contacts. Ketan uses his Android phone for note-taking by dictating his memos at the courthouse into Evernote (free). Ketan prefers the phone to his iPad because of its size when walking around the courthouse, though depending on the application, he mixes the iPad and Bionic well.
Similarly, Iowa criminal defense attorney, Dave Foster, keeps his iPhone 4S and Motorola Xoom tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich close. Dave relies on Google’s services for managing his busy law firm, so having the ability to sync Gmail, calendar, and contacts is important. Since Android lives and breathes Google, and since Google’s continually improving its services, it’s certainly nice to have those features locked in. Dave hoped for cross-platform propagation of apps and Google’s services when he purchased his Motorola Xoom tablet, which only took about a year. One thing Dave wishes for is a viable Android alternative for iTunes. Me too, Dave. Right now, our best alternatives are Google Play Music (may require active internet connection), doubleTwist Player (free) and its companion AirSync ($4.99), or the “old school” copy and paste method (sometimes results in non-compatible files).
John Karbaf switched from iOS to Android, and “never looked back.” John tells me it was because of iOS’s firmware/upgrade issues that threw him over the edge. A Windows Mobile guy at heart, he switched to iPhone at its release, then grabbed a Nexus One when Google released it. John says that having the unlocked phone created many advantages, and he particularly enjoyed that “it was also incredibly hackable, so there was no shortage of things you could do to modify it to make it what you wanted it to be.” John fell in love with the built-in navigation and Wi-Fi tethering. The lack of, or poor integration/support of Google’s services on iOS gave John one more reason to love Android. Would John ever go back?:
Oddly enough, yes. I absolutely love the hardware (while I left iOS for mobile devices, I’m still a sucker for Macbook Airs/Pros). The iPhone 4/4S design is, let’s face it, dead sexy. It feels good in the hand and it looks phenomenal. I’ve also always been very jealous of the battery life on my wife’s iPhone 4. Even with extended batteries on my Android phones, I could never come close to that kind of battery life. I think I could consider going back to iOS if the ecosystem opened up a bit. Better integration of Google Calendar/Voice/Talk, plus the addition of a real Gmail app and a free navigation app would seriously tempt me to make a return. Basically, if I could get iPhone hardware that ran the Android OS, I think I’d have the perfect device.
All of these stories are similar to mine, as I dumped iOS for Android in a spiteful rage. The moment I discovered I could do more with Android than just download “cool” apps and play games, I fell “hook, line, and sinker.” The more and more I become integrated with Google’s services, the more I depend on them. As John told me, “if I wasn’t such a heavy Google user I probably wouldn’t care about Android as much. But Google makes my life easy, and Android, by extension, makes my life even easier. I also enjoy being able to run whatever app I please.” That’s my sentiment exactly. My favorite thing about Android used to be the integrated turn-by-turn navigation (and here), which exceeds iPhone’s. Sure, there are some significant concerns about security on Android, especially malware, but adequate protections can minimize a lot of risks.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it, or will say it, a dozen times: the essence of switching to Android for your law firm is not about choosing a “superior operating system,” it’s about choosing a system that works for you. My biggest complaint about Android is delaying the release of new operating systems. Apple has perfected this, and releases the newest features to everyone, regardless of the carrier. Google needs to rein its manufacturers and take control of the systematic and simultaneous release of upgrades to the OS.
Photo courtesy Lifehacker