So, I’ve finally made the leap back to Android. For the past year or so, I was using an HTC One M8 Windows Phone, and prior to that, an HTC 8X. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s my life, my phone. And I still love the Windows Phone platform, and am hoping beyond hope that, with Windows 10, it’ll finally take off. I’d say it’s still my favorite phone platform. I prefer its UI over that of Android or iOS, along with the piece of mind that it’s apparently the most secure of the three major phone OS’s [1, 2].
However, as Windows Phone continues to lose market share to iPhone and Android, along with the market share go the apps. To be fair, I do not use, nor care, about applications like SnapChat. But it WOULD be nice to get my Bank of America app back on Windows Phone. Along with a version of Waze that gets updated. And Starbucks. And L.A. Fitness (this app sucks all around, but it does mean I don’t have to carry my membership card).
My other issue is that my family and I are on Verizon. The beautiful new Lumia 950 and 950 XL phones are only on AT&T at launch. To me, this was rather the last straw for holding out on Windows Phone. As nice as it would be for me to switch to AT&T, and get myself a shiny new 950 XL, I’m not about to move my entire family over just so I can have the phone that I alone want. So, begrudgingly, I made the switch back to Android.
I understand, especially with the aforementioned security concerns, that Android is the easiest to hack. However, I’m also an IT professional, and know what to look for in strange emails. I don’t sideload any APK’s. And while I don’t have any animosity toward Apple, the iPhone honestly just does nothing for me. There are also, in my experience, FAR fewer “fan boys” in the Android and Windows spaces as there are in the Apple world. By no means am I saying they don’t exist. I’m just saying that I’ve seen many, many more Apple worshippers than the other way around. I’m a fan of Microsoft. I am not a fan boy. I have zero problem recognizing the good and bad of Microsoft, as well as the good and bad of other vendors.
So now, I’m sporting a Galaxy Note 5, and am loving the fact that I have access to many more apps than I did on Windows Phone. I really wish I could’ve gotten them on that platform, but alas. That being said, the Galaxy Note 5 is a BEAUTIFUL phone! It has a bright, crisp screen, and the bloatware on it is minimul in my opinion. The launcher is minimalist, and barely more than stock Android. And, since this is a Note 5, it has the built-in stylus, which, though I don’t use often, definitely comes in handy when I want to jot down a quick idea, whether word or picture.
There are some great apps that I’ve discovered as well. Here’s a small list of my favorites:
- BlueMail – This is an email client. It provides a really nice UI on top of your email, including swiping and folder management, as well as the ability to connect to multiple email services, and display them in a unified list. I use GMail, but my primary provider is Outlook.com. This app handles them both nicely!
- Google Calendar – Self explanatory. I’m a big fan of Google’s Material Design, and this program uses it very well. It’ll also sync with my Outlook.com calendar.
- OneNote – Microsoft’s OneNote application is a great note taking tool. Though I don’t take a ton of notes in to OneNote on my phone, I do read them there, after I’ve done work on my computer. This just gives me a great way of viewing them on my phone.
- Google Keep – Another note taking application that focuses on small, concise notes. I use the aforementioned OneNote when I need to take project related notes, do mind mapping, etc. Then I use Google Keep for recording short snippets of information, such as my wife’s favorite flowers.
- PocketCasts – A PodCast app wrapped nicely around the Material Design UI elements. It allows a wide range of customability, provides time skipping features, and so forth. Take a look at the link to see its full list.
Eventually, I would certainly like to make the trek back to Windows Phone. Hopefully the Surface Phone will come out, and blow everyone’s socks off. I’m hopeful, but also realistic. Time will tell. In the mean time, I’ve found that I’m really very pleased with my Android phone, be it short term or permanent.