Part 2 of moving from an iPhone to an Android: (click here for part 1 in the series)
General or Pre-Installed Apps:
The calendar, camera, camcorder, messaging, market (Android market), and maps are fine with me. The calendar uses Google Calendar and that is what I use, so for once I didn’t have to do a lot of set up. It pretty much recognized my account right away. One minor critique is if you have only one thing listed on a day, in the monthly view it appears as if that day is open/available. Only by clicking on that day do you see that one thing. So you either have to change your view from monthly or click on the day to make sure. Maps uses Google Maps and it is very good. It is more robust than the standard maps app I had on my 3G iPhone. Google Maps does not speak/talk to you like a GPS might, MapQuest has a free app that does that. Both MapQuest and Google Map are very similar except for the audible directions feature. I am testing both out on my way to/from work and errands so that I can see which one I like the best when the time comes that I really need a map. The Android market is very similar structurally to iTunes, but ther seem to be a lot of comments about apps working/not working depending on various Android operating systems. (That is just kind you get with an Android.) Additionally, whenever you download an app you get several warnings about what that app can/will do to your phone and what systems it affects. Some of the warnings are nice to know but sometimes they are overwhelming and don’t always make sense to average users. Heck downloading a simple stopwatch app had a few warnings.
Clock and Keyboard:
The clock is one of the pre-installed regular apps on my phone that I was disappointed with. Really how hard is it to have a clock app that also has a stopwatch and timer? Clearly the developers don’t have kids or stay close to their oven when they are cooking. I used the timer feature on my iPhone all the time. I would set the timer for 15 minutes and tell the kids when it rang it was time to clean up, go home, give somebody else a turn, etc. I would also use it a lot for cooking. I am no master chef but the timer on my oven is quiet, so in addition to setting it, I would set the timer on my phone. That would allow me to go upstairs, go outside and watch/play with the kids, etc. I am just befuddled that somebody creates a clock app for a phone but can’t include a timer and stopwatch. Stupid. But I did find a good free app called StopWatch & Timer. It is simple and does exactly what I need it to do.
The keyboard on my Triumph is touch screen, similar to the iPhone. But it behaves slightly different. I can’t explain it exactly, but two things I noticed are the keys are a different size and they touch each other. The iPhone keys are slightly smaller and there is some space (not a lot) between each letter. I was having some real problems typing on the Android keyboard, but I figured this was just something I would have to retrain my fingers on. However, the one thing that I loved that wasn’t on my Android was an auto corrector & spell checker. Now, I know some people (like my husband) HATE the auto corrector & spell checker on the iPhone, but I really liked it. For all of the funny mistakes my iPhone’s auto corrector made, I came to rely on it and adjusted my text/typing style to deal with it and use it to my advantage. For example, I would just hit the space bar twice to get a period at the end of the sentence. The Android had some sort of auto suggestor on its phone, but it didn’t replace words, it didn’t do the double space bar period thing, and its vocabulary was very limited. Combine that with the slightly different keyboard buttons and it was taking me twice as long to write/text something with a bunch of spelling errors in it. It was out of my desire for an auto corrector that I found the A.I.type Keyboard app. Not only does it have an auto corrector but it also allows you to change the style of your keyboard to an iPhone. While the auto corrector is not as good as the iPhone, it is better than nothing and I am doing better at typing.
Oh I have such a love hate relationship with Google. I love its email, calendar, docs, search engine, and I think I like G+. But I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE having my Google Contacts as my phone contacts. UGH! What a freaking nightmare and the worst decision for Google to force more people use Google. If I was more paranoid I would start to believe Google is amassing this information for some nefarious reason. Why does Google need my mom’s phone number? I have people in my Gmail who should stay there, not to be duplicated in my phone’s contacts. I also don’t want all of my phone’s contacts moved to my Gmail. For example, my online bill pay companies all came over into my phone contacts. Additionally, if you synced your other email accounts and your FB account on your phone, it moves those over as well. It was and still is a total organizational disaster. Now there are settings that say only put people in contacts if they have a phone number. I checked the box, but still I got my online bill pay sites in my contacts. Additionally, if you have a contact listed in multiple places it duplicates all of their information. For example my mom’s email address is in my Yahoo and Gmail address book. When I clicked on her name in my contacts list there were 2 email listings (all the same address) under her contact name, but I couldn’t delete them from my Contacts because they were being imported from my Yahoo and Gmail. In addition to having multiple people with multiple emails, I had multiple phone numbers listed 3,4,5 times under the same person. The winner for having the most duplicate phone numbers and emails is Mike. He has 6 duplicate emails and his cell number is listed 3 times under his name. His work and our home phone aren’t listed even though I synced those before I moved. The best part is I can’t easily delete all of these duplicates. Not only is this frustrating for me personally, but it kills my voice recognition system with my car. I have a new Ford Flex and one of the things I love, love, love is that it uses Bluetooth so that I can answer my phone or call somebody completely hands free. My phone could be in my purse in the trunk and if somebody calls me I can answer it by tapping a button on the steering wheel. (The conversation is public, it is heard through the car’s speakers.) If I want to call somebody I tap a button and say, “Call mom at home.” It then dials my mom’s home number. Well if you have multiple phone numbers listed under a person that all say home the system gets confused.
I don’t know what was worse, setting up and fixing all of my contacts or syncing my email systems to the phone. However, I think I am leaning toward contacts as being the worst feature on my phone so far. The email syncing took 2 hours and 2 beers. The contacts mess is taking several days to figure out and work on. I have yet to find an app that fixes this mess, if you know of one that is free please let me know. I almost feel like it might be faster if I nuke everything and start loading my contacts from scratch again. I think I might have to undo or nuke my email and FB syncing to fix it too. This mess with my contacts has almost caused me to run back to Best Buy and return everything and go running back to AT&T. It also led to a huge fight in my house on how to the damn thing working the way I want it to work.
DoubleTwist for my music player:
The Triumph does not come with a music player, which actually is kind of good for me. I already have a lot of songs in iTunes. I loved using my iPhone as my iPod so I definitely wanted to use my Android in a similar fashion but I just heard of nightmares trying to move your iTunes library into WindowsMedia. DoubleTwist is a free software and app combo that uses your iTunes library. You download the DoubleTwist software onto the computer that has your iTunes and you download the app to your phone. DoubleTwist is like a shell system over your iTunes that builds and syncs your iTunes library to your Android phone. You still download songs through iTunes, create play lists, and amange titles using iTunes, but DoubleTwist makes it possible for your iTunes work on your Android. I am told that everything you ripped from CD to iTunes will work on iTunes. However, if you purchased music on iTunes prior to iTunes Plus (January 2009) that music won’t come over to DoubleTwist due to DRM issues. But you can make those older songs available on DoubleTwist by paying an extra .30-.60 cents per song.
Downloading my songs to my Android was where I had my first experience with my memory card. Memory cards in phones are new to me since iPhones didn’t come with them. You bought an 16GB iPhone, you got about 16GB of memory. The Triumph comes with a 2 GB mini SD card and wow that is not enough memory. I wasn’t able to sync all of my songs because I ran out of room. Had I really thought about memory cards and phones I would have realized this before I even tried to sync my songs, but I forgot. Thankfully I had an old 8GB mini SD laying around from an old camera that went belly up. I used that and that worked. When I get around to it I will probably buy a 16GB mini SD for the phone, or maybe if my 8GB one is doing fine I might just wait around until the prices of a 32GB come down a bit.
Hopefully next week I will have my contacts straightened out and I will let you know that disaster resolved itself. I intend on looking at a few medical apps that I used to have on my iPhone and see if they are available on the Android and how they work.