How to: Get iOS 6’s Best Features on your Android Device

Not everything about Apple is bad. In fact, aside from iOS 6’s major maps fail, the new iOS is getting some good reviews. I discussed some of the key features here, but concluded that many of the updated features are already available for Android users, especially those with Android 4.0.

What is Already Available

  • Google Maps/Navigation: Apple is learning that mapping and navigation is an art, despite how simple Google makes it look. Android has native navigation, so no need to worry there. If you’re an Apple iOS 6 user, you may want to start using my favorite app, Waze.
  • Unique Account Signatures: this feature is always available, no real improvement there
  • Twitter and Facebook integration: personally, I could use a little less integration, but once you install any app, you’ll have integration to share or set the app for default use.
  • Priority Contacts: Gmail features priority inbox that shows messages from your contacts you deem important. You can also set “favorite” contacts, which appear when you’re making calls or sending messages.
  • Across-Device Sync: I introduced a friend to the wonderful glories of Google Chrome and the Google Chrome app for Android. While it’s only available for Android 4.0, the app will sync browser information from desktop to mobile device. Now your passwords, favorites, and browsing history all travel with you.

What is Missing, and How to Fix Them

  • Passbook: this app/feature looks cool, but I think, like NFC for Android, will depend a lot on users and providers…not likely a quick thing coming. You can supplement some of the Passbook features by using Key Ring (free) to store rewards cards. I like Fandango for phones and tablets (free) for purchasing movie tickets or getting show times. Other frequent travelers also recommend TripIt (free or $3.99) for organizing travel itineraries and flight schedules.
  • Do Not Disturb: One of the huge improvements in Android 4.0 is the addition of a “do not disturb” feature that allows me to send a text message to callers saying I can’t talk. For non-4.x users, you can try Locale or Mr. Number (free), Auto SMS (free), or AutoReply (free). Honestly, only Locale provides a half-hearted attempt as something similar to ICS’s response, with Mr. Number coming in a close second.
  • Voice Control: the Samsung Galaxy S III has a pretty good built-in voice recognition program, which uses Vlingo‘s technology. Vlingo is many people’s favorite voice control app, mine is Assistant.
It’s easy to be jealous of a new glittery item, until you find out you have the latest and greatest (hopefully). Of course, if you’re stuck on Android 1.x, it might be time for a new phone, or carrier.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.