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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

For example, I have Android versions of the following apps that I use on my iPhone: Chrome, Dropbox, Flashlight, Google Voice, HootSuite, Quickoffice, SketchBook, and Skype for productivity and utilities; Allpoint, Amazon, AmEx, Concur Travel, Fidelity, Kayak, Pay by Square, RedLaser, Safeway, Urbanspoon, and U.S. Bank for banking and commerce; and BART (the regional subway system), BBC News, Caltrain (the regional train system), the Economist, IMDB, Kindle, Reuters News Pro, Soundfreaq Remote, TiVo, Twitter, and USA Today for information and entertainment. Android has a built-in navigation app with voice directions, which is available for only the iPhone 4S and later on iOS. (The free Waze iOS app works better than Apple Maps and runs on any iPhone model. Waze is also available for Android, and I prefer it over the built-in Navigation app.)

What don't I have on Android that I have on iOS? Sophisticated office productivity apps such as GoodReader, Keynote, and Pages, and sophisticated media apps such as iMovie, iPhoto, Photoshop Touch, and Snapseed. It remains true that the more desktop-class the app, the less likely it is to be on Android. But the truth is that I use the apps sparingly on my iPhone -- their use is largely for emergency touch-up. I typically work with them instead on the iPad, along with iPad-only apps such as Office2HD.

If you use an iPad for the "heavy" apps, Android's relative deficiency in this area is not that meaningful on your smartphone.

AirPlay streaming, iMessage chat, FaceTime videocalling, and AirPrint: You lose these (well, almost)Apple has been pushing the use of zero-configuration network services aggressively in both iOS and OS X. In the OS X context, AirDrop allows for drag-and-drop file sharing among newer Macs.

But AirPlay and AirPrint are the two major services that people use based on Apple's Bomjour zero-configuration networking. With AirPlay, you can mirror your screen or stream audio to a stereo or TV connected to a $99 Apple TV device. With AirPrint, you can print over Wi-Fi to any AirPrint-enabled printer.

There's a huge seduction in what these services offer: being able to simply share music and videos from the device you happen to have in your hand. But you won't get so seduced in the Android platform, where each device maker deploys its own streaming functionality -- or chooses not to. When available, streaming is typically restricted to the vendor's own media devices.

As a result, you should forget about streaming from an Android device -- unless you have the DoubleTwist app and its $5 AirSync add-on, that is. After you enable AirPlay in its settings, you can easily stream music and videos via an Apple TV, a feature most ex-iPhone users will be very happy to see.


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