First week of iOS and Android mixed use

I’m an iPod user since the early 2000s. I’m a Mac user since 2006. I’m an iOS user since 2009 (iPhone 3GS). I’m involved in iOS design and development since 2010. I’ve been using every iPad that came out from the original one onwards.

As of today I’ve been stuck with the Apple ecosystem for almost 10 years.
Seen from the outside, I would probably be marked and labeled as a “fanboy”.

I truly believe there are personal ecosystems of computing devices that go beyond the fanboy or fangirl narratives.

I’ve been a Windows user for quite a while (let’s say from the mid ‘90s to the mid ‘00s), using Linux in parallel for a couple of users. I started using mp3 players quite early, had a few of them from different brands (I landed on the iPod quite late before switching to the iPhone as my iPod replacement).

Juggling between different devices, software and platforms is something that a lot of us have been used to do for quite a long time before being hooked up in some sort of single-brand ecosystem: surely, the overall user experience of being immersed in one unique platform is reassuring, comforting.

For Apple users, this comforting situation usually it translates into feeling dumb because you don’t have to worry about the multiple problems you have to solve in order to make Windows or Linux run properly – in other words, technology making you dumber. On the other hand, for Windows or Linux users switching to OS X or iOS it usually means a quite discomforting feeling of coming to terms with a shiny, polished black box (been there, done that).

I had the chance to use a Nexus 7 (2012 model) as my everyday tablet. It has been sitting on the bottom of a drawer for a while so my very first impact was with OTA updates of Android, first from 4.2 to 4.3, and right after from 4.3 to 4.4. Everything went smoothly.

The first thing I did was to look up my two iPhone screens (and several apps’ groupings) and find the Android equivalent of each app.

Productivity

  • Simplenote
  • Evernote
  • Skitch
  • Trello
  • Fantastical*
  • Dropbox
  • Wunderlist*

So far, I’m still exploring alternatives for a synchronised calendar between my Mac, my iPhone and Nexus 7. No Fantastical for Android right now. For reminders and to-do list, after trying a lot of alternatives, I’ve been using Apple’s Reminders: I’m using Wunderlist as a crossplatform alternative, but I’m not sold yet.

Reading

  • Pocket
  • Feedly
  • Kindle

Social

  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Buffer
  • Google+

Music
Music, and leaving the never-really-loved iTunes, were my biggest concerns about this mixed iOS-Android experience.
Google Play Music is great.
I uploaded my iTunes library with no problems whatsoever (actually there were problems but on Apple’s side).

Since I subscribed to iTunes Match, I can see myself dropping it for the All-Access plan of Google Play Music.

The Android app works great, as well as the web version.

The iOS app has a significant design flaw: it doesn’t allow you to filter between your entire library and music you downloaded on the device, making the process of finding out what is on the cloud and what is actually on the device quite cumbersome.

I still don’t get if this is a technical limitation due to Apple’s restriction or a really clumsy design flaw.

Bottomline
I’m quite pleased with the overall mixed experience of using the iPhone and the Nexus 7 as my personal ecosystem runs upon “mainstream” apps that are available on both platforms with no noticeable design flaws: surprisingly I found myself blaming Apple for its “closed box” approach over file system usage just two days after using Android.

Not so fanboy, after all.