Switching to android

There's plenty of opinion out there on the relative merits of various mobile operating systems, particularly iOS and Android. I thought it would be productive to add my voice to the din as a long time iOS user and recent Nexus 4 android convert from the UK.


Based on the location of this post, it's probably immediately apparent which offering I am leaning towards. Nevertheless, I wanted to briefly codify my thoughts on switching platforms from iOS 6.0.1 to stock android 4.2.1, inviting your comments below.

Applications

From my perspective, there's almost complete parity between the Apple app store and Google play store. All my productivity, reference, news, travel and finance apps could be found in the play store and overall, seem to exhibit the same look at feel as their iOS counterparts.


One thing to note is that in my opinion, the Google maps and Gmail applications look nicer and are less-cluttered on iOS.

Day-to-day use

I quickly got to grips with the concept of the launcher and app drawer in android but I think it could cause confusion for some users when compared to the simple, single view of all applications used in iOS.


One area in which android particularly excels is multitasking. The cards concept borrowed from webOS is simply brilliant compared to the equivalent implementation in iOS. Notifications are handled almost identically on the two platforms, but the ability to instantly dismiss all notifications and two-finger swipe to quick settings in android is very welcome.


Live, instant information can be displayed using widgets. These can be a combination of very powerful, highly customisable or just plain useless. This doesn't exist in iOS, with the exception of the rather mediocre stocks and weather applications that can be added to the notification centre.

Performance

Both operating systems allow one to quickly swipe through applications fluidly and drill into menus with ease, although differences arise when browsing the web.


I found safari on iOS to be faster at loading pages and display smoother scrolling behaviour when compared to chrome on android.


With respect to battery life on android, excessive use of widgets and not verifying an application's settings to ensure it isn't aggressively refreshing in the background could result in poor longevity. I have never had a similar issue in iOS, even my iPhone 4 will give me 1.5 days of charge with heavy usage.

Conclusion

To conclude; both platforms have great applications, android wins hands-down in day-to-day usage with iOS edging in performance. In my opinion, android is the most compelling offering for now, but I reserve the right to change my mind and welcome all competition and innovation in this field. It feels like a good time to be a consumer!