However, when someone asks me, "Should I get an iPhone or a Droid?" or "Should I get an Android tablet or an iPad?" ... the answer is almost inevitably -- "it depends". Because the truth is, it probably won't matter which one you get. The Apple products and the Android products are both really, really good. So usually my first question is, "What do you already have?" Because if you've already got an Apple product (ie. an iPhone or a Mac of some sort) you should probably get an iPad. And if you've already got an Android phone or tablet, then I'll recommend an Android product. My recommendation is to stick with what you have. You'll find that your devices will operate together more easily and the interface between them all will be very familiar to you.
Then, usually, what it comes down to is that people are concerned that if they go with an Android device, it'll be too hard to use and they won't be able to do all the things they want to do with it. I blame this perception on the poor marketing that is out there for Android -- mostly due to Motorola and Verizon making it look like some sort of science fiction device from a Transformers movie.
So, if you're someone who's agonizing over an Android purchase ... this blog's for you. For people who carry smartphones, or use a tablet, their biggest concerns (after phone calls and texting) are about their ability to browse the internet, get e-mail, do social media (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.), listen to music, play games, read and have access to "apps". So let's address these one by one, and I'll tell you what I am doing with my Android devices.
Browsing the Internet on your Android device is just as easy as it is on your computer or laptop. Because the Android system is produced by Google, the Internet browser that's "baked in" to the Android system is Google Chrome. If you use Chrome on your computer, you'll find it very familiar on your Android device. If you're already synchronizing your Chrome bookmarks across your computers, they'll sync automatically to your Android device too. But, if you're more of a Firefox fan, you can also download Firefox for Android from the Apps stores too!
There are thousands and thousands of apps in the Android Market. And not only will you be able to download the expected free apps like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and ... yes ... Angry Birds -- you'll also be able to purchase music, rent movies and buy books on your Android device.
But what I think the real beauty of the Android world is, you have lots of app store options. If you're someone who has an Amazon account and likes to purchase things from there, they have an Amazon Apps Store for Android too. These stores allow you to register all of your Android devices and choose to download your apps to any of your devices. If you should choose to switch to a different Android phone or tablet at some point, you'll be able to re-download all of your apps from your account to your new device.
As you would hope, you'll be able to access your social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and you'll be able to do that through the apps or even using the built in Internet browser.
My Android smartphone is a fantastic music player. When I plug my phone into my computer via a USB cable, I'm able to copy my music over to my phone and it instantly recognizes it and allows me to play it from my phone. But my entire music library won't fit on my phone, and I also want my music on my tablet. So, after some experimenting with Amazon's Cloud Player and Google Music, I've decide that although Amazon has a larger music selection, I like the Google Music player for storing my music "in the cloud" and streaming it to my devices. So now I buy my music from Amazon, and then upload it for storage on Google Music so that it's available to me on my computer, tablet and phone.
|Google Music on my computer, tablet and phone looks the same.|
The Google Music interface is nearly identical from the computer to the tablet to the phone. As soon as I upload music to Google Music, it immediately appears in the music lists on all of my devices. Because my car has bluetooth, I'm able to use my phone to stream music from Google Music, through my phone, to my car audio system.
Now here's the one "gotcha". If you've spent the last few years buying your music through iTunes ... and you've got a music library full of music that has Apple DRM (digital rights management). It won't play on anything but an Apple device. It won't play on Google Music or on your Android devices. You can thank Apple for locking you in to their devices and eliminating your freedom of choice with your music.
Want to know something interesting? Both the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Color are Android devices. What's more is that they're Android devices that are, essentially, running their own Android reader app. So, if you have an Amazon or Barnes & Noble account already, you'll be happy to know that if you buy an Android tablet or phone, you'll be able to install the appropriate app and have access to all of your books and magazine subscriptions that you have on your reader devices. My wife, Paula McMullen, was amazed to discover that the Barnes & Noble app on her new Samsung Galaxy tablet looked EXACTLY like the app that runs on her Nook Color. She has all of her books and magazines available automatically. Ultimately she decided she likes reading on her Samsung tablet more, and we've given the Nook Color to our daughter.
|The Nook app for Android looks and feels exactly like a B&N Nook|
E-mail and Other Stuff
As you would expect, being a Google product, the primary e-mail application on your Android devices will be Gmail. However you'll also find that you'll be able to connect to your work's Microsoft Exchange server and get your mail (probably with the help of your IT person) and you'll also be able to download the Yahoo Mail app for Android, or even a Microsoft Hotmail app.
All of the Google products you've come to know and love, like Search and Maps are available to you. As well as Google Turn by Turn Navigation, which you will find is just as good -- if not better -- than the GPS units you can buy for your car. You'll also have access to cool new Google products like Google Sky Map to view the sky and stars, Google Goggles and Google Currents (to stay up with your favorite magazines and periodicals).
You'll also have access to all the popular apps like Netflix, Dropbox, Evernote and QuickOffice Pro (which allows you to create and edit Microsoft Office documents for Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
Don't Be Afraid
The bottom line is, don't be afraid of Android devices. They're really phenomenal and you'll easily be able to do all the things you would hope to do. I don't know why the marketing for Android products has to be so heavily techie ... but the Android products are definitely consumer ready and you shouldn't hesitate to jump into the Android world.
What do you think? Do you have any questions? Connect with me and shoot them to me. I'll be happy to answer them if I can.