Last year I wrote an article titled, “Why I own an Android Phone.” To summarize, the article described people’s fascination when they discovered that I (an iOS app developer and self-declared Apple fanboy) actually owned an Android phone.
A year later I’ve decided to stay in the Android camp and have upgraded my Samsung Galaxy phone to its latest iteration. Since both Apple and Google have made substantial advancements in their respective platforms, I’ve decided to revisit the topic, explaining why an Apple developer would be enthusiastic about a non-Apple device.
Building products to meet consumer tastes is a very challenging endeavor, often needing many iterations to perfect. With everyone racing to beat the iPhone’s utility and design it’s anyone’s guess who will arrive first. Samsung could be the first finisher with the debut of its latest phone. Since most of us are already familiar with the iPhone 4S, let’s review the features of the new Samsung device.
Look and Feel
The first thing that strikes you is the size of the phone. Weighing in at an amazing 4.7 ounces, the phone is lighter than the iPhone 4S (4.9 ounces) yet noticeably larger. While larger is not always better, in this case it is. Seeing the massive 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED display is truly impressive. To put it in perspective, the viewing screen of the Galaxy S III is approximately the same size as an entire iPhone.
Beyond being great for pictures and games, the large screen also has a positive impact when working with text, video and numbers.
One hidden feature of the Samsung phone is its mechanism for easy notification. Along with the notification bar that is part of the Android 4.0 operating system, the physical phone is equipped with its own color-coded ‘lighting’ scheme. This lets you know about its charging status, new voice mails, social media updates, content synchronization and new messages. This means I can glance at my phone to see if anything needs my attention all while still in standby mode. Genius.
The Drop Test
One thing that baffles the mind about the Apple ecosystem is their use of breakable glass in their products. Replacing broken iPhones screens has become a cottage industry and seems accepted by legions of enthusiastic followers (including myself). Fortunately Samsung has taken a different approach and uses shatterproof Corning Gorilla glass in its product line. This allows the phone to easily pass the ‘drop’ test in this CNET video. Note to iPhone users — don’t try this at home.
One thing that concerns iPhone users considering the switch is the number and quality of apps available. While this was a legitimate concern a year ago, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) makes this an issue of the past.
With the phone’s support for 4G LTE, a dual-core processor and 2GB RAM, the performance of apps is outstanding. While iOS still has more apps in its store, the best apps now have wonderful Android 4.0 counterparts. Leading app providers today see development not being exclusive to iOS but as part of the wider ecosystem. Smart digital strategies now include support for iOS, Android (phone and tablets) and the web. Even Facebook with all its app woes has an Android counterpart that actually works.
So these are main reasons I continue to dabble in the Android world. While I’ve covered some general aspects, the Galaxy S III also introduces some new technical concepts such as NFC (Near Field Communications) through S-Beam and Tec Tiles. And if that’s not enough, check out what it can do with with USB “on the go” technology. Many have speculated these new features will also be in the iPhone 5, but it’s anyone’s guess what the Cupertino kids will come up with. While we’re waiting, I’ll be enjoying my new phone.
Wayne Bishop is a local technology entrepreneur who explores digital trends through product development and software engineering. Wayne also runs a project called “Art Galleries for Mobile” that promotes museums, libraries and art galleries on mobile devices. He can be reached at @gallerieshq. He also writes regularly on his site, where this post first appeared.