I fully admit I am an avid, Kool-aid drinking fanboy of Apple products. I have used 2 different iPads in my past couple of jobs, going from an iPad2 to the 3 with the retina display. I am on my 3rd iPhone. I’m still using my 2008 Macbook Pro and it continues to run like a champ in 2013 and I just recorded a new album on my 2006 Mac Pro Quad and it never even hiccuped. Apple just has great quality products that deliver consistently excellent results.
Since I’ve begun working for myself at Moyers Design, I had to give up my iPad3 and have been without a tablet for over a year. I got to the point that I needed a tablet in order to fully function as a mobile professional. The trouble was, I didn’t have $350 to drop on an iPad mini. After some exposure to the Android operating system (you can read my account of that in this post), I decided to give it a try for about a third less in total cost.
This Apple fanboy bought a Google Nexus 7.
My initial response? Apple has lost its massive lead in the tablet marketplace. I would say they still have a slight edge, but if things continue on the same path, even that will be gone soon. If you’re like the former me and have never tried an Android product, you may be wondering where the difference lies?
Let me ‘splain, Lucy. For me, the differences are not readily discernible. I’ve not really missed a step in my move from iOS to Android. The Nexus 7 is a good little tablet. It is slightly smaller in width than an iPad Mini, but not by much. It is also slightly heavier and thicker than the iPad Mini, but again, not by much.
The user interface will seem very familiar to an iOS user. Swipe, pinch and zoom… most everything feels the same. The one big difference is the back button. It operates very much the same as a back button on any internet browser, only on the Nexus the back button moves you backward through pages AND apps. It’s really pretty nice and you quickly master the concept, since it’s not really new.
The Nexus allows for much more personalization than an iPad. This makes it feel like it’s YOUR tablet and not something everyone else has. Not a big deal when it comes to comparison, but it’s something to consider.
One big question mark for me was the availability of the apps that I wanted and needed. I am told that, even a couple of years ago, this was an issue. Today, the issue has been mostly resolved. Every app that I used consistently on the iPad is also available in some form or fashion for the Nexus. From what I can see as I write this, Apple has some 800,000 apps in their App Store. Google Play has 700,000. I believe Apple has a larger proportion of tablet-specific apps, but that margin is closing quickly. Some apps that I used on iPad we’re not available on Google Play (specifically OnSong), but I’ve found an acceptable analog for all of them. Most apps that I use are available in either flavor.
I LOVE the Nexus keyboard. It allows for continuous contact. Just leave your finger on the screen as you type and Android determines what you’re typing and completes it for you. No more worries about auto-correct gone amuck, for the most part. It’s not perfect, but it’s a far sight better than the iOS keyboard in my opinion. The voice recognition and dictation is much better as well. With iOS, even after several years of use, I still have to speak unnaturally for it to work correctly. Android’s speech to text software is much more forgiving and intuitive. I speak naturally and it works. That simple.
One other major factor has played a part in my acceptance of the Nexus. I have been a Gmail user for many years. When I made the switch from PC’s to Apple back in 2006, I never really jumped over to the dotMac address. I used the calendar since I had an iPhone pretty early in the game, but that was about it. Being so heavily invested in Google and all their products has made it very easy to switch to Android. At this point, I don’t use any of Apple’s iCloud products, especially since the iPhone allows for syncing of my Google calendar into their calendar… even though I use a different app on the iPhone anyway (see my post about Calvetica).
At this point, I am seriously considering going with an Android phone when upgrade time rolls around. The keyboard issue alone is enough for me to make the switch. I am sick to death of retyping everything 3 or 4 times on my iPhone when I try to text.
So, to sum up, I have become a fan of Android and the Nexus 7. Would I take an iPad if it was offered? Of course. But I am comfortable with either one. How about you? Have you tried an Android tablet? Tell me your thoughts…