Full Review of the Google Nexus 4 Smartphone from LG

LG Nexus 4After I skated through the initial ordering process on November 13th and multiple communication breakdowns from Google in regards to order status, shipping date, etc. I finally got my Nexus 4 ten days ago. I was already so put out by the experience that I decided not to do an unboxing video and with Thanksgiving having been on the horizon, the last thing I wanted to do was rehash the Nexus 4 buying experience.

This delay has only served to better my review process since I’ve had a full 10 days to use the device and gather my thoughts and feelings about it. I don’t need to go over the specs on this phone since they’re pretty well known, but if you want to see them, go to the Nexus 4 page on Google.com. So enough chat…let’s get to it.

The Form

The Nexus 4 has got to be one of the smoothest phones I’ve ever felt. This can be a huge con however, considering how easy this thing will slip from your hands if you’re not holding it tight enough. As many of you know, I’m not a fan of cases and screen protectors and to this day, I’ve never scratched or broken a phone. With that said, understand that the Nexus 4 can be made far less slippery with the use of a 3rd party case or the official bumper from Google.

Front panel – The first thing you will notice about the front glass is that it is practically flat across the front, but slightly bevels downward into the siding of the phone. This makes for an almost seamless transition between the rubbery sides and the front panel. This is in sharp contrast to the iPhone 4 series and iPhone 5 models, which has a slightly raised frame around the front glass. This makes the Nexus 4’s screen feel more usable as you slide your finger around from edge to edge. The new Corning Gorilla Glass 2 makes this screen much more durable and scratch resistant than those of other devices. It also provides a much smoother feel over the new iPhone 5.

LG Nexus 4 back panelBack panel – The back panel is also made of Gorilla Glass 2, which gives it the same sexy smoothness that the screen offers. Unlike the prior Nexus device, the back panel is not a readily removable piece (requires T5 hex bit) and it certainly does not feel as cheap. It is inlaid with tiny little circles arranged in such a way that any movement will make them appear like color-changing pixels on a monitor.

Side panels – The sides are made up of very durable rubbery plastic. That’s the best way to describe it because it feels like rubber, but it’s hard like plastic. This is not something that you can make an impression in with your fingernail, but it is likely something that would endure scratches and chips very easy. The advantage to this material is that it helps you keep a grip on the phone if you choose to use it without a case.

The Function

Along the sides, you have a micro SIM card tray, a volume rocker, headphone jack, noise-canceling microphone, power button, voice microphone, micro USB port and two T5 hex screws that hold the back panel on. This design element is very similar to Apple’s iPhone. On the front panel, you have a very thin sliver at the top for the earpiece and a small hole for the 1.3MP front camera and the back panel has a spot for a speaker and the 8MP camera with LED flash.

Screen – The screen is a vibrant 1280-by-768 4.7-inch display. Google describes it best: “Gently curved glass edges allow your finger to slide smoothly on and off the 320ppi screen, while cutting-edge G2 Touch Hybrid display technology means you feel like you’re touching every pixel.”

Rear camera – The 8MP rear camera on the Nexus 4 is an upgrade from the 5MP camera on the Galaxy Nexus and it really shows! The Nexus 4 supports HD video recording in full 1080P quality. With Android Jellybean 4.2, you can now use this camera to take 360 degree photos using a new feature called Photosphere. These .jpg images can be viewed as a flat panoramic photo or in full 3D on the device and other Google services like Google Maps.

Google charging orbWireless charging – I have yet to test this myself since I don’t currently own an inductive charger, but the Nexus 4 supports it. Google was supposed to release their “orb” charging dock, but there has been no word on when this will happen. Other users are reporting that existing devices are compatible. The way this works is you simply place the phone on the dock and it charges. No need to plug in any USB cable!

My Two Cents

In trying to keep this review short, I really only wanted to highlight some of key features. My overall experience has been very satisfying. I was reluctant to go with another non-LTE phone after having left my Galaxy S II for the Galaxy Nexus (GSM model), but since I’m not a heavy data user off wi-fi, I wasn’t too concerned. Plus to be able to buy a brand new phone unlocked and contract-free for about the same price that others pay for a phone after signing up for 2 years is a HUGE plus in my book.

The Nexus 4 has a quad core processor and I can’t tell you how great that feels. To be able to jump from app to app with almost no load time is a luxury that few people have. It probably helps that this device is running pure Android and isn’t loaded down with carrier and manufacturer software. If I were rating this phone on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 9 only because it doesn’t have LTE. This will be a huge loss to some and although it wasn’t my primary concern, it does suck to not have it.

I hope to expand this review in the near future with sample photos, videos and other hands-on reviews. In the meantime, you can keep checking the Google Play store for this phone to be available for purchase, but I doubt you’ll be getting it anytime soon. I believe the current shipping time is 8-9 weeks!

Nexus 4 Is Now On Sale!

I waited up last night…I’m not going to lie. I actually started refreshing the Google Play page at around 9:30pm and began following the Reddit posts around 10. This all brought me back to my iPhone chasing days!! There was speculation that Google would began a pre-order process at midnight and then those rumors were quickly dismissed with reports that this wasn’t a pre-order, but the actual purchase. That fueled more speculation and excitement around what time all this was going down.

People were arguing about what timezone was in effect, what country was going to get their’s first, whether or not 2-day shipping was going to be an option and how quickly things would sell out. Then came the reports from Australia saying that the Nexus 4 sale had started early by mistake and everyone who placed an order had it cancelled shortly after. Then they started reporting that the 16GB was sold out and the 8GB was sure to follow.

All of the night’s events—phone calls to Google support, Reddit updates, blog posts and even YouTube videos had the makings of an iPhone/AT&T launch written all over it. We can all remember those days…server crashes, people getting bounced off the shopping cart page, users reporting successful orders only to see them get cancelled later and the countless arguments from people claiming they “knew” how to get through.

Yet today was rather peaceful.

Google Play Nexus 4 Order ConfirmationI was expecting a 9am PST release time, so naturally I was refreshing my phone every few minutes during my morning commute. I got to work, attended a meeting and quietly walked to my office. Once inside, I launched the live stream of a local radio station and opened the Play store. I began my refresh regiment once again and was delighted to see that at 8:33am the “Coming Soon” message had been replaced with an “Add to cart” message.

I added the 16GB model and processed my order. It took about 30 seconds as I imagine I was only one of hundreds if not thousands doing the exact same thing and then I got my order confirmation alert and order email.

At 8:58am, I did another refresh just out of curiosity and I was surprised once again that the “Coming Soon” message was back! If I assume that the order process started at 8:30am, then Google successfully sold out of the 16GB models in less than 30 minutes. As of this writing, the 8GB models are still available. UPDATE (9:23am): The 8GB models are sold out.

I just wanted to share my story. When I get my new phone this week, I’ll be posting a video comparison between it and the Galaxy Nexus (GSM) as well as my initial thoughts on the new device. For those of you who got your Nexus 4, congratulations!

4 Days Until New Google Nexus Devices Are Released

Only four days left until Google begins selling it’s new Nexus line of products! On Tuesday November 13th, Google will be adding a 10″ tablet and the new Nexus 4 smartphone to it’s line. The Nexus 7 (already available in 16 and 32GB) will soon be getting a 32GB HSPA+ model as well. There’s no word on whether that version will be ready for order on Tuesday, but it is indeed “coming soon”.

Nexus 4

Nexus owners have been eagerly awaiting the release of Android 4.2 as well. Originally it was speculated that the software update would be pushed out to devices as early as October 29th when Google made the announcement of the new releases, but it didn’t happen. As we draw closer to the 13th, it can only be assumed that the 4.2 update will be handed down at the same time the new products go on sale. Here’s an unboxing video from Android Central:


As for me, I’m a Nexus GSM owner and even though I’ve only had the phone for about 2 months, I’m planning on getting the Nexus 4. The main reason is simply the quad core processor and upgraded camera. Originally I wanted a Galaxy S III, but after trying a pure Android experience, I can never go back! Plus, since it feels great to not be on contract with AT&T, I doubt I could ever sign another one of those again.

Nexus 10

I’m loving this Nexus 10 and if I can find a reason why I need a tablet, I would seriously buy this one. I think my only complaint so far would be the slight rounded curve it has along its sides. I’m more a fan of the squared look, but maybe that’s because I’m so used to widescreen devices looking like tvs. Microsoft Surface certainly wins the design prize on this one.

At any rate, I won’t completely judge until I have one in my hands. Here’s a quick look:


That’s it for me today! I decided to keep it short, so have a great weekend and I’ll see you all back here again on Monday.

Google Announces New Devices and Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)

Google had originally planned an event today to discuss the latest devices coming out of the Nexus line of products as well as showcasing the new Jelly Bean upgrade, but due to hurricane Sandy, it was cancelled. This didn’t stop Google however since they decided to go ahead and make the announcements via the official Google Blog.

Google Play screenshotAs expected, we’re going to see a Nexus 10″ tablet from Samsung and the new Nexus 4 smartphone from LG. What was not so expected was that the Nexus 7 is now being offered with HSPA+ services making the tablet even more portable than it was.

Given the insane amount of coverage on these announcements, I don’t need to go over every last detail, but here’s the overall gist of what’s going down on November 13th.

Nexus 4

Nexus 4The Nexus 4 is unfortunately not a 4G phone, thus leaving the only 4G Nexus device as the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. However, LG did put a quad core processor inside so that would explain why it’s only HSPA+. Apparently LTE doesn’t play well with quad core processors.


  • 4.7″ screen with 1280 x 768 resolution (320ppi)
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front
  • 2GB memory
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
  • Wireless charging

The device comes in 8GB ($299) and 16GB ($349) sizes both with no external storage options. This is because Google despises external storage devices as they can sometimes cause performance issues with apps and whatnot. This is probably why Apple doesn’t go this route either.

Nexus 10 Tablet

Nexus 10Recently the Nexus was available in the 7″ size with wi-fi only, but Google has just released a new 32GB model that has HSPA+ cellular connectivity. This brings the Nexus 7 line up to three models: 16GB (wi-fi only for $199), 32GB (wi-fi only for $249) and 32GB (wi-fi + HSPA+ for $299)

But the biggest news was the announcement of the 10″ tablet. Originally with the Nexus 7, critics were only really paying attention to it as a competitor to the Kindle Fire, but now we’re looking at some real competition to the full size iPad.

The only downside…both models are wi-fi only. The 16GB model will sell for $399 and the 32GB will sell for $499.


  • 10″ with 2650 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi)
  • Dual-core A15 processor
  • 5MP front camera, 1.9MP rear
  • 9000 mAh battery
  • Weight: 603g (1.3lbs)
  • Size: 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9mm

Without the HSPA+ option, some of the iPad models are still looking like a better choice, but at these price points, Nexus tablet is still a better buy. Plus you get Android software unobstructed by any manufacturer software.

Android 4.2

Android 4.2Originally dubbed Key Lime Pie, it appears that Android 4.2 will simply be a major update to Jelly Bean and it packs in a lot of new features! For full details, check out what’s new on Android.

Photo Sphere – Here’s a new feature that allows you to take photos in all directions and put them back together in a 3D sphere and then share them with your Google+ friends and/or add them to Google Maps.

Gesture Typing – Now you can type simply by gliding over the letters of the word and letting go. The word will appear with spaces and all. Plus, with Google’s new dictionaries, your text conversations become more predictive, allowing you to select your next word without having to type.

Multiple users – Available only on the tablets, this features allows you to create new users on your device so each person can have their own everything — apps, games, homescreen, background images, widgets, etc. You can also use fast user switching to go from one user to the next without having to log out each time.

Wireless HDMI – Connect a wireless HDMI adapter to your tv and now you can stream whatever you’re doing on your phone or tablet right to your big screen!

Of course there’s so much more, but I found these to be the top highlights.

My Thoughts

Here I am once again with my infamous dilemma. Before, it was about getting the iPad or a Macbook Air, or getting the Kindle Fire or staying with an iPad. Today, the question still remains. Do I need a tablet? More importantly, do you? Many people are finding that while tablets are very convenient smaller (compared to laptops), they still don’t present much of a “working” device. They seem to be more of a luxurious toy rather than a practical replacement for any of your real devices.

Microsoft may shift this paradigm when they release their Surface tablet with full blown Windows 8 Pro, but again, only time will tell.

As for the Nexus 4, it doesn’t appeal to me other than its cool design, wireless charging feature and quad core processor. Since I currently have the Nexus GSM, these basic upgrades aren’t enough for me to swap phones again. However, I’m saying this after only owning my Nexus for a few months, so who knows how I’ll feel come Christmas. Maybe if the phone was 4G LTE, I’d be singing a different tune.

Android 4.2 is definitely an upgrade I’m excited about. All these new features for free and because I already own a Nexus device, I don’t have to wait months before the carriers and manufacturers get it together before I can update my phone.

Making the switch from iOS to Android…and feeling good about it

If you listened to everyone around you, you’d probably be under the impression that everyone has an iPhone or an iPad and they are the greatest devices in all the world. These people no doubt love their products (which is a good thing), but for them to imply that Apple has this leading edge over the competition in both quality and quantity is just absurd.

The Numbers

Android vs iOSThe fact is that Apple only has a 17% U.S. market share of phones as compared to Samsung who has 25.7%. Even LG beats out Apple with their 18% share. So why do we all believe that everyone has an iPhone?? Maybe they’re including the total products that have iOS installed…nope…it looks like Google wins that battle with 52.6% of all tablet and phone devices running Android leaving Apple’s iOS with only a 34.3% stake. Ok, maybe they’re counting mobile shares worldwide?! Again, not a chance; together, Samsung and Nokia share 41% of the international smartphone market while Apple only has 5%.

What Apple does have is the “it” factor. They have everyone believing that they do have the greatest product in all the world and that Apple is so innovative and chic that if you don’t own something with their logo on it, you’re somehow not hip. To me, this is similar to when celebrities wear certain clothes, eat certain food or drive certain cars; immediately the sales of these specific products go up. Does this mean Apple is a sham; pushing products that don’t meet expectations? Not at all…it just means that you don’t have to own an iPhone because you think it makes you look cool. And it also means that not everyone has an Apple device.

So what are your choices? Well, if we stick to talking about phones and tablets, the amount of choices is astounding. And if for the sake of this conversation, we push aside smaller competing phones such as Windows Phone, Blackberry and Nokia phones with their meeGo software (which I think is pretty much defunct), then we’re left with two titans: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

The Smartphone

One glaring problem for Apple is that they only have one device (not counting older models). The iPhone 5 is the latest version and offers the first iPhone with 4G data speeds. Making the switch here is very easy considering that you have tons of devices running Android software with Samsung being the reinging king here.

What to look for: Android devices come in a vast range of styles, specs, designs and features. No two Android devices look or work the same. This causing confusion among consumers because people who aren’t too tech savvy don’t know why one device is better than the other. This is why I think Apple holds an edge…they provide one device with one way to use it.

As with any purchase, you want to find something that fits your needs. If you need a file manager on your phone, you need Android. Apple doesn’t have it. If you want a better voice recognition program, Siri has Android beat…for now. If you plan on torrenting downloads on your phone, get Android because Apple won’t allow it.

In other words, there’s hardly anything (if anything) that an Android device can’t do that an iPhone can, but I think of plenty of things iPhones can’t do that Androids can!

The Tablet

There’s no doubt that the iPad is one sexy beast. But the problem is that there was a thought process long ago that dictated tablets would be used to replace computers. Unfortunately, iPad comes up short on this because it’s nothing more than a super-sized iPhone. Still no file system, still no mouse support and certainly no easy way to move files from computer to computer.

Android tablets fair a lot better in most cases, but are plagued again with the fact that there are too many choices. The reason I say this is a problem is because what happens when one manufacturer decides to stop making the device? You lose support and upgrades to the software. Look what happened to HP’s TouchPad (although it didn’t originally run Android). As an aside, Android has practically saved the underground support for the defunct TouchPad with users replacing its original OS with Android!

What to look for: Again, the same rules apply as do for the smartphones. The one difference with the tablets would be the screen size. Android tablets currently come in 7 and 10in sizes with a few manufacturers choosing a less than standard size. So until Apple releases a smaller (and larger) iPad, Android takes the cake on this one as well.

The Ecosystem

One of the number one reasons why Apple fans choose to stay with Apple is because they’ve invested time and money into setting up iTunes and iCloud just the way they like it. I don’t blame them…it’s a nice system and if you’re someone who has dropped hundreds of dollars on apps, music, tv shows and movies over the years, making a switch to Android and having to do the same thing all over is a daunting idea!

But for those of you who aren’t heavily invested and are just questioning whether Google and Android can compare with Apple and iTunes, then you’d be happy to know that once again, Google can do anything Apple can do.

So instead of iTunes, iOS and iCloud, you would use Google Play, Android and Google Drive. Many of you probably already have a Gmail account, so you’re already 99% ready for the switch! But how do these three compare?

iTunes and Google Play

iTunes vs Google PlayGoogle doesn’t have a dedicated software program that you install on your computer like iTunes. They believe that applications are headed to the cloud anyway, so why not start there?

  • Music, movies and tv shows — I’m sure there are some things you’d find on one, but not the other, but overall, you can just about the same content.
  • Apps — Apple touts how many apps they have, but they tend to leave out one important detail: many of those apps are duplicates of others. I mean really, how many flashlight apps do we need? While Google counts apps in the same fashion, they don’t seem to bank on the number as an indicator of their quality. However, there are many apps that iPhone users have that Android users don’t with just as many that Android users have that iOS users don’t. It comes down to which apps and games are more important to you, so head on over to Google.com/play and take a look if it’s there.

iCloud and Google Drive

Both services offer the same features…store items and device backups in the cloud. So what’s so different? Well for music storage, Apple offers iTunes match which is a feature that allows you to “match” your current music library of songs that weren’t purchased from iTunes on all your devices. In other words, instead of uploading 5,000 songs from your personal collection, iTunes Match will scour your library and give you free access to the songs for all your devices. It only costs $24.99 per year.

Google’s answer to this is to allow you to upload all of your music (up to 25,000 songs) to your Google Play account for free with no hits to your Google Drive 5GB storage limit. Cost per year: $0. The only drawback is you have to actually upload all of your songs…which for someone like me, could take a week.

Other than that, these two services are practically the same.

Final Thoughts

As some of my readers already know, I was a huge Apple fan for many years and this website was biased toward all products Apple at one point. However, I got a little put out when Apple kept releasing the same OS over and over again without really adding anything new. My brother being over on the Android side of things always showed me the features that his phones had and slowly but surely, I made the switch.

If anything, it was more of a test, but so far I’m about a year into it and I can honestly say I’ll never look back. Since I had already used Google for most of my services like email and all sorts of features used on my websites, it just made perfect sense.

Galaxy Nexus – Best Phone Ever?

Ever since I got rid of my iPhone and moved farther away from iTunes and the whole Apple ecosystem, I’ve tried quite a few different devices. Because I was funding my transition from device to device out of my own pocket, it hasn’t been a fast or cheap adventure. As an AT&T customer since the early 2000’s, I’ve fulfilled my fair share of contracts and purchased many subsidized phones. Today, I couldn’t be less interested in 2-year contracts and cheap upgrade prices. Enter the Galaxy Nexus…

iPhone users are quick to point out that while Android devices do have very similar functionality, the Android landscape is very complex. For the most part, they are correct. Here you have Google handing out a free operating system and a plethora of manufacturers waiting to destroy it. By “destroy”, I simply mean that they decide to add their own software which sits[pullquote_right]A 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.[/pullquote_right]
on top of Android like a heavy fog in a city park. In most cases, this extra software adds a great deal of functionality that jives perfectly with the physical features of the phone. For the most part, the lines between Android and the add-ons are blurred, but once you pick up a Samsung device and compare it to an HTC device and then compare it again to a Motorola device, you start to feel like you’re holding three very distinct Android versions. In fact, you’re probably looking at the same version, but aren’t used to seeing the vast differences between manufacturer-skinned Android software. On top of this, you have the carriers adding their own software, network logos and other features all while blocking certain apps and hardware functions. This is simply unfair marketing.

Bloatware Abounds

For example, Google Wallet is a really sick piece of software that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to allow you to pay for products at supporting retailers simply by choosing a digitally saved copy of your credit card information on your phone and touching the phone to the receiver at the register. This is a perfect marriage between hardware and software, but AT&T and Verizon block the app from being used on all their Android devices!! Why?! Because they are in a joint venture with T-Mobile to create a competing service called ISIS that does the same thing. The problem I have with this is what if I prefer to trust Google with my account information or maybe I like their software better…why can’t I choose what service to use? Apparently, the carriers feel that a 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.

Another example of unfair marketing is how AT&T adds their versions of maps, navigation/GPS services and other software that is completely un-removable from the device. Granted, I don’t have to use them if I choose, but why can’t I remove them from MY device?! They just have to sit there taking up space. It doesn’t even end there…AT&T’s partnership with Yellow Pages has placed a permanent entry into my contacts list for the Yellow Pages directory service! It’s at the top of the list and cannot be renamed, deleted or moved.

Lastly, getting the latest Android updates are a nightmare! Because of all this extra software, the Android updates have to come down from Google, get approved and tweaked by the manufacturer, then sent over for the same process at the carriers. The entire process adds months and months onto the expected release time.  So while all the iPhone users are getting their updates on the same day, the Android users are all using different versions for a very long time.

But I digress. Wasn’t I supposed to be chatting about the Galaxy Nexus?!

Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy NexusOk, so the Galaxy Nexus is a Samsung device that is part of Google’s Nexus program. If you’re unfamiliar with it, WikiPedia has a nice spread about it, but I’ll summarize here. Google contracts with a hardware manufacturer to make a device worthy of a pure Android experience. Up until recently, this program has selected one manufacturer to make one device that is void of any software tweaks and hacks. The manufacturer is only allowed to make the hardware and cannot touch the software.

The Nexus phone came out last November and was only available on Verizon. I have to say that this single device almost made me switch to Verizon, but I stayed on AT&T due to my remaining contract. Needless to say, I was excited when I found out that Google began selling an unlocked GSM version on their website. I can’t seem to locate information on when the GSM version began selling, but I hadn’t seen it until about four months ago. The device sells for $349 + tax and comes unlocked and ready to use on any GSM carrier worldwide. I secured a 3-week old one on CraigsList for $300 tax free about a month ago.

I can’t explain it, but there is nothing like a pure Android experience on a phone! Having come from a Galaxy SII Skyrocket, which is technically a better phone spec-wise, I can say without a doubt that the Nexus is the best phone I’ve ever used. I have just two complaints. One, it’s not 4G and two, it’s stuck at 16GB with no SD card slot. However, the HSPA+ speed is very comparable to 4G considering that 4G isn’t even available in a lot of places yet and the memory issue doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.

But the best part is that there’s no carrier branding, no locks on Google Wallet and no bloatware to laugh at me as I try unsuccessfully to remove. Also, just the other day I discovered that the built-in wi-fi hotspot tethering feature is not blocked either! Normally, AT&T requires you to upgrade to a tethering data plan before they allow you to hook it to your laptop or tablet. This can set you back $60 per month and remove your unlimited data plan if you’re lucky enough to still have one…like I do. The Nexus simply allows me to turn it on, configure a wireless network and be off and running. AT&T has no way of blocking this because the Nexus is not a device that’s registered on their network. In fact, when I log into my AT&T account manager, it doesn’t even recognize what kind of phone I’m using and that pleases me to no end.

For the first time, I feel like I’m on my own terms and have not fallen victim to whatever biddings AT&T and Samsung would like me to follow. I also love the fact that I can take this phone to another country, install a locally serviced SIM card and have cell service without having to pay international roaming fees. As for those pesky software updates that never seem to come…well the Nexus updates come directly from Google so there’s no more waiting.

All of this freedom comes at a price however. Gone for me are the days of subsidized pricing (but then again, so are the contracts) and it appears my device choices are limited, but that’s ok…I was an iPhone user for many years so I’m used to it. I can’t wait for the Nexus 2.

Goodbye iOS, Hello Android

Readers of this site are well versed in my rants and raves about all things Apple—namely the iPhone and its iOS software, but all things come to an end at some point. For me, that point has arrived. I’ve been using an iPhone ever since it came out in 2007 for two reasons. One, because I’ve always been an AT&T customer and two, because it was the only phone at the time that really blurred the lines between computer functions and telephone features. And much like other Apple users (you may call them fanboys or fangirls), I kept using the device. New and faster phones came and went, 3G was added, new features “invented”, competitors failed.

At the time, I was not interested in anything but Apple. I can’t be blamed though…it’s a fact that for a few years there, nothing could touch the iPhone. But today, all that’s changed. While iPhone users will tout that their phone is the greatest in all the land, Android users have fun at pinpointing exactly what it is that their phones can do that iPhones can’t. For the longest time, I was one of the fanboys bitterly defending iPhone to the last breath, but then something just snapped one day… (Continue to my blog)

10 Reasons to switch to Android

Whenever I speak to people about the “switch”, the first thing they say is how much they love iPhone and how they don’t need to switch because iPhone does everything. I expect this because I was once in that camp. However, I’ve come up with 10 reasons that made me want to switch.

  1. Hardware – iOS has one device (counting phones only). You get what they have and that’s it. If you don’t like the look or the specs, too bad. However, Android is on many different devices, so you get to choose what phone you want based on your real life preferences (and your wallet). Just on AT&T alone, there are 21 phones that run Android!
  2. Customizations – With iOS, you’re completely stuck with the general layout of the phone. Of course you can change your background image and some other visuals, but with Android you can have fully functional widgets that are actually useful. You can change fonts and sizes, colors, etc.
  3. Functionality – Both operating systems are great, but Android excels at functionality with things like automation (tell your phone what to do and when to do it),  custom app launchers (used to change how the home screens look and operate), remote control (use your phone through your computer) and let’s not forget that Android can play Flash videos. See more things that iPhone can’t do at LifeHacker.
  4. Multitasking – While both systems offer it, Android manages apps much better. On iOS, you have to double-click the home button and close each app one by one, whereas on Android, there’s a full-featured task manager. You can exit all apps with the click of one button.
  5. Screen size – This is more of a comparison between devices, but almost all Android devices have a larger screen than iPhone. You don’t even notice how small iPhone is until you’ve used an Android device for about 2 days. It’s actually hard to go back!
  6. 4G – Although iPhone 4S appears to be on par with HSPA+ (still not 4G) speeds, it’s not a 4G phone and this is one area where Android devices can really excel. Of course there are 3G Androids available as well, but there aren’t any 4G iPhones as of yet!
  7. Photos – This comparison isn’t between cameras since all devices are relatively equal. However, where Android excels in this area is with image controls. On an Android device, you can find many camera settings that rival those of high-end SLR cameras. These settings can be used before or after taking a photo.
  8. Apps – There was a time where Apple was king of the hill in the app world, but Android has certainly caught up with both quantity and quality of apps and games available. You’d be hardpressed to find an app on Apple that doesn’t have an Android counterpart. That is unless you’re using Instagram.
  9. Storage – With iPhone, you have 3 storage options and must pay dearly for the larger upgrades. On Android devices, you can easily add a microSD card to increase your storage for relatively cheap.
  10. File System – There’s no usable file system on iOS. You can’t create folders to save documents in. You can’t go into the system and make changes to things. In fact, to get anything off your iOS device, you need iTunes and even then, the task can be annoying. On Android, all you need is a USB cable. You can use your Android device as external storage. When combined with software like Dropbox, you don’t even need that USB cable!

Just for fun, check out which types of people use iOS and Android!

My two cents

In addition to the above list, I’ll say that the main motivating factor for me to switch was seeing how awesome the Android 4.0 software is. Another great feature of Android devices is the ability to install custom ROMs and software that utilize many features that aren’t always available on stock phones. You can customize to the hilt and when you’re done, you will no longer have a cookie-cutter device that looks like everyone else’s. For the first time, the word “customized” won’t mean that you just re-arranged your home screen.

There are naysayers of course who feel that Android was ripped off of iOS in its early days and Steve Jobs was one of them when he said this to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

So far, I’m about a week into my new Android phone which happens to be a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (say that three times fast) and I love everything about it! This will likely get sold as soon as the Galaxy S III is released, but for now it is an amazing little device and super fast. And while iPhone is also a really nice phone, I couldn’t see myself going back to it unless Apple starts releasing 4G iPhones that allow more Android-like features.

Google In Trouble for Location Tracking Software

Directly on the heels of developments revolving around Apple’s iOS 4 privacy concerns, Google is now up to bat. Only this time, there’s a lawsuit involved. $50 million to be exact.

Now, $50 million seems like a drop in the bucket for the likes of Google, but as with most lawsuits, it’s the point that’s more important and this case is no different. According to Wired.com, “Detroit area residents Julie Brown and Kayla Molaski filed a class action lawsuit against Google over concerns that the location data that Android devices send to Google “several times per hour” is tied to a unique (though random) device ID.” What this tells me is that people are becoming more and more aware of just what kind of personal information is getting out to the world. The irony of this is we also live in a world where we’ve never been connected more.

With Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs and the ability to “check-in” to practically all these, does it really surprise you to find your name on Google? If we learn anything from movies these day, we should all know just how traceable the cell phone world is, so does it also surprise you that your smartphone is sending data to the companies that run the software?

Of course not! In fact, it’s not even personal data that’s being transmitted (or so they say). It’s simply location data. Naturally, when you hear such a term, your first thought is a horror story about how Google (or Apple) will always know where you’re at. This is just not the case. At least in Apple’s story, they were collecting location data in the form of cache that allows them to reduce the amount of bandwidth required to pull the same data off the same cell towers everyday. To put it in English, if you are using an app that uses location mapping, your phone has to contact each local cell tower and download some data in order for your phone to know where you’re at. Part of the process includes your device uploading some data to that cell tower. Apple was basically storing that data for you so the next time you accessed it, the desired results would come to you much faster.

The other major concern in both of these cases was how accessible such data could be should your device fall into the wrong hands. In other words, if your mortal enemy got a hold of your phone, could he/she download files that would tell them where you’ve been? It would seem that in Apple’s case, that was true—this was fixed in the latest software update. In Google’s case, the data remained on the phone in an encrypted state that could only be accessed through a root connection (which on Android phones, it’s the equivalent of jailbreaking).

Lastly, the class action lawsuit is claiming that Android devices are collecting this data every few seconds and then transmitting it back to Google every hour or so. Google claims that this data is transferred with a unique (and random) ID number that in no way allows Google to know what device the data came from or who owns it. I for one, am not worried about this. Well, actually my only real concern would be the likelihood that my battery will die much sooner with all those “extra” connections.