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How to switch from the iPhone to Android

Galen Gruman | Oct. 10, 2012
You don't have to give up the whole Apple ecosystem to embrace a Galaxy S III or other Android smartphone

A better and popular iTunes equivalent for Android is DoubleTwist, which comes in three parts: the free DoubleTwist Desktop for your PC or Mac, the free DoubleTwist Player for your Android smartphone, and -- if you want to be able to sync over Wi-Fi rather than just a USB cable as well as stream to an Apple TV -- either the $5 DoubleTwist AirSync utility or the $10 DoubleTwist Pro Player (an in-app purchase that also allows podcast syncing) for your Android smartphone. My only caution about DoubleTwist is that it tries to access your contacts, which it has no need for to do its job; OS X Mountain Lion automatically alerts you to this attempt and lets you block it.

To use the free DoubleTwist syncing, you need to connect your Android smartphone to your computer via a USB cable. If you have a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, you can't do that -- USB syncing between Macs and Android devices doesn't work with OS X Mountain Lion. This is true even if you install Google's free Android File Transfer utility for OS X. (Windows needs no transfer app; it has built-in drivers for Android devices' storage access. But you still need an app like DoubleTwist to do more than see the Android device as a storage device.) DoubleTwist users can use the $5 AirSync add-on to get around this USB issue in OS X Mountain Lion.

For e-books, the only real option is to avoid Apple's iTunes' iBookstore and use the Amazon.com Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Google's Play Books services instead, as their readers are available for iOS and Android.

For ringtones, if you make your own in iTunes, you can use those same files in Android if exported to MP3 format.

Apps: Content apps are easy, but productivity will sufferThe iPhone didn't invent the mobile app, but it did reinvent it as a consumer-quality experience, rather than as a simplistic front end to some back-office system, the types of apps most common in the BlackBerry era. iOS developers have created hundreds of thousands of apps, several times as many as Android developers have. For several years, Android apps tended to be not only fewer in number but also later to the game and less sophisticated.

That's been changing, now that Android smartphones outsell iPhones by 2:1 or 3:1, depending on the market. If you bring an Android smartphone into the mix, you will have to repurchase the apps that have Android counterparts or functional equivalents to what you use in iOS. I found that the apps I used for content consumption and e-commerce on the iPhone were also available for Android, with mainly equivalent functionality and polish -- the Android experience has improved considerably.

 

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