Android to iOS – I made the switch

by Kevin Gilmartin

I have just become the proud owner of a shiny new iPad2. At the time of writing I’ve been using it for 3 days – and I wish I’d bought an Android tablet instead.

I’m no Android fanboy, nor am I anti-Apple (if I was why would I have spent a month’s mortgage payment on an iPad2?), but what I am is a tech geek and I have to say that my first few days of owning an Apple product have not been what I expected.

Here’s just a few of the reasons why:

  1. Browsing: Safari vs Android Browsers

Safari is Apple’s standard default browser. On the iPad it’s the mobile version that’s installed, with no option to switch to desktop mode. This means that if a website has a mobile version (Google+, for example) the browser will be redirected automatically to that version.

In Android’s native browser it’s a simple case of unticking a box to default back to the desktop versions of websites, and other browsers can be installed to do the same.

Of course, there are 3rd party browsers available for the iPad but they cannot be set to be the default, meaning that if you follow a link in an email or a Skype message it will open in Safari. I tried installing Dolphin HD, a 3rd party browser recomended by a friend. It has a Desktop mode, but it didn’t seem to make any difference and I was still presented with the Google+ mobile version.

  1. Keyboard input: Type vs Swipe

Admittedly, I may be a little spoiled here. Having used an Android phone (HTC Desire) for the last 18 months I have become used to the swipe method of keyboard input. This method is much more natural and intuitive for a touchscreen device and there are several of these keyboards available, Swype being my own preference.

There’s no swipe keyboard interface available for iOS due to the limitations Apple imposed by Apple on the kind of apps they allow. This means we’re stuck with typing on the standard keyboard. Holding the iPad whilst typing doesn’t feel natural at all and whilst an unofficial Swype port is available for iOS, it requires jailbreaking the device you want to run it on, which I’m not willing to do.

As I said, I may be spoiled. Those who have never used a swipe keyboard probably won’t have any issues with the native iOS keyboard; but if you have used Swype, you’ll know how frustrating it is having to type the old fashioned way!

  1. Widgets, or lack thereof

One BIG advantage that Android has over iOS is homescreen widgets. A widget is a like a little cut-down version of a full app. It runs on the homescreen and gives you at-a-glance access to some of the information from the app such as Twitter updates, calendar appointments, etc.

On the iPad you have to open the full app to get the information you need.

My initial experience of the iOS has been one of frustration more than disappointment. I’m a power user, and as one commenter on Twitter said to me, Apple doesn’t cater to power users with its iPad.

The iPad is an amazing piece of technology. As a media player it’s outstanding; apps such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD are developed to a much higher standard, the streaming quality is first rate and the kids absolutely love the apps I’ve installed to help them with their schoolwork. But for me, a power user looking for another tool to add to the every-day arsenal, I’m finding iOS is left wanting when compared to Android.

As Apple update their OS and as I get more used to it, I’ll post more on my experience as an Android user moving over to iOS. Stay tuned to the NerdInsider Twitter feed for updates!

Have you switched from Android to iOS, or vice versa? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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