I’ve done it. I’ve officially retired my iPhone 3GS, and have made the Google Nexus One my primary phone. Actually, I made the switch a week ago, but carried both devices until now, just in case. But no more. And having spent a week on the road with the Android powered Google Nexus One, here are some initial thoughts:
- My biggest gripe against iPhone has always been the virtual keyboard. I’ve been told repeatedly to just wait, give it a few months, get used to it … And I gave it many months, and never got used to it. Between e-mail, text messaging, web browsing, I think I have yet to type a single sentence on the iPhone that did not require that I retype something. iPhone auto-correction is pathetic (one suggestion? and only after you’ve typed most of the word? and not if you hit the shift key by mistake?). Heck, even my old Windows Mobile 5.x and 6.x devices did a better job at suggestions! The Google Nexus One also has a virtual keyboard, and it is actually a little cramped when compared to the iPhone’s. But, the suggestions work perfectly, with multiple listed, starting with the first character typed, and adapting as you go. As a result, I rarely have to type more than 3 or 4 letters to get the word I want, so less typing, and higher accuracy. Add an editable user dictionary, and faster access to commas and hyphens and more, and the Google Nexus One (well, Android) easily wins the virtual keyboard battle for me.
- The other big iPhone gripe for me is Apple’s refusal to support replaceable batteries. I still need to buy a second battery for the Google Nexus One, but the fact that I can do so is reassuring.
- The Google Nexus One’s screen is sharper, brighter, and much easier to read in daylight than the iPhone’s.
- The Google Nexus One is really comfortable to hold. Form factor is actually very similar to iPhone’s, but I find it more comfortable over extended periods, both in the hand and against the ear.
- The Google Nexus One is fast. Make that blazing fast! Really. You’ve got to try it to experience the difference. That 1GHz processor does the trick.
- Flash. Enough said.
- As much as I like the Google Nexus One hardware, Android itself still leaves much to be desired. The software often feels half baked, and not quite as polished as iPhone. It feels more like v0.x software, not v2.x.
- Lousy Exchange support! I’ve solved the problem for now by using a 3rd party tool (I’d not have been able to switch otherwise), but it’s a sub-par solution at best. Really Google, Android can’t succeed as a corporate smartphone without solid Exchange support. iPhone lacked Exchange support in v1, and when it was added to v2 suddenly the device became a viable corporate phone. Android had better do the same, and quickly.
- While the Google Nexus One is fast, its responsiveness can be iffy. Every once in a while it feels jerky and lagging, and then it quickly catches up, and in doing so launches the wrong app or sends you to an unintended screen. (Could this be a side effect of multitasking?).
- The apps are not quite there yet. Many of the important ones are missing. And those that do exist are usually not as clean and as polished as their iPhone counterparts.
- Google Marketplace is pathetic. There are lots of apps out there, but finding them is a pain, the marketplace UI is feeble at best, account setup to Google Checkout is horribly buggy, you get the picture.
All that said, I’m enjoying the phone, and the pros outweigh the cons. While the Android running Google Nexus One feels like it’s not quite baked as a mass consumer device yet, it’s definitely a lot of fun as a techie’s device.
So, goodbye iPhone, and hello Flash enabled Android!