Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Great iPhone to Android Migration

It's been a wondrous 2 years with my lovely iPhone 4. I don't necessarily want to part ways with my iPhone, it has been a great phone. The problem (good problem) is that the devil is calling me; I'm up for upgrade, and I cannot ignore the urge. All reports point to the iPhone 5/6/4ss/4GLTE/4xqzy releasing in October 2012. Can I really wait 3 months to upgrade? Simple answer is no. That Samsung Galaxy S3 is looking mighty tempting. Let's look at why I want the Galaxy S3. Then we'll look at the biggest Apple features I simply cannot live without and see if the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich toting Samsung Galaxy S3 can meet all my food groups.

Why go to the Galaxy S3?

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is an amazing device. Here are the upgrades I would receive by making the switch:
Android has come a long way:  Android 4 has much improved battery life and task management than previous releases, has a more unified user experience across the OS, and it looks so pretty.
iOS 6 doesn't sound interesting: iOS 6 is definitely an upgrade from iOS 5, but it still sounds lacking when compared to Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, especially 4.1 Jelly Bean which will be released shortly.
Highly customizable User Interface: Widgets, smooth Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and the ability to root and install custom ROMs with many customizable features (e.g., overclock processor, kill processes [daemons], custom gestures, change hardware button mapping)
Fast 4GLTE support: AT&T doesn't even have LTE in the Twin Cities yet, but it's coming, and the Galaxy S3 will support it when it does. We don't even know if the next iPhone will support LTE.
4.8" Super AMOLED 720p display: Even though it uses the pentile arrangement of pixels vs the Galaxy S2's RGB arrangement, the 720p display on the S3 is very pixel dense and nothing short of amazing. It's like having a tablet in your pocket without the bulk. The screen is perfect for reading, web browsing, watching videos, and just plain looking beautiful.
Upgrade now: This is two-fold...
  1. I can get my new device now! I don't have to wait 3 months for the next iPhone. By the way it won't be only 3 months. The next iPhone will be announced, then it will be released, and no one will be able to get one for the following month because they will instantly sell out. It's just the way of Apple products. 
  2. I will be able to sell my iPhone 4 for more money right now. I have an AppleCare warranty on the iPhone still valid through September. This is a huge selling point. The new owner can replace headphones/AC adapter/USB cable and check to see it they can get a battery or screen replace (both in excellent condition by the way). Also, before the next iPhone is released, my iPhone is only 1 generation older than the latest. I may be able to squeak out a few more 10's of dollars selling it before the next one is available.

Things I'm not concerned about

Let's be clear about one thing. I'm in no way concerned with the amount of apps available on either platform. For example, I have a great Calendar app (Week Cal), Grocery list app (ShopShop), and Alarm app (Alarmed); I'm pretty sure I can find an equivalent on Android for those. I'm more concerned with the killer features that I use almost day to day...namely features tied to the Apple ecosystem. Ahem...allow me to elaborate.

My Most-used Apple features:

Airplay to AppleTV

Airplay ability is absolutely essential in my quest for conversion. Take photos on your phone, then display them on the AppleTV to the biggest screen in the house...your TV. This is one of the most-used features I use on my iPhone 4.
Start playing a video stored on your phone, then press a button to play it on the AppleTV over WiFi.
Start playing music stored on your phone, then press a button to play it on the AppleTV over WiFi.
View a photo stored on your phone, then press a button to view it on the AppleTV over WiFi.
Youtube, Pandora, Vevo

How to Satisfy the foodgroup

The DoubleTwist app ($4.99 on Google Play) has the ability to Airplay all the Video, Music, and Photos stored on your Android phone. However, there currently isn't any way to Airplay apps' video/audio to least that I have discovered. I can live without that app streaming. My AppleTV has Youtube, my Roku 2 XD has Pandora, and Vevo is used pretty rarely. If I absolutely had to have these connected to my TV/stereo, then I can get an MHL adapter from MonoPrice for less than $11 to mirror the phone's screen and audio onto the TV.

iTunes Remote

I use my iPhone as a remote for the music playing on my AppleTV through iCloud. Through my phone anywhere in the house I can play, pause, rewind, skip any song in my iTunes library including any playlist created.
Similiarly, I use my iPhone as a remote for iTunes on any PC in the house.

How to Satisfy the foodgroup

The Remote for iTunes app ($4.99 on Google Play) arguably is an even better solution than the Apple version. It connects to your WiFi much quicker, and has a cleaner interface.

iTunes Stream

I use my PC as a music server. With iTunes HomeSharing, my iPhone can stream my iTunes library from my PC to be played on the Bose SoundDock Portable in or outside the house.

How to Satisfy the foodgroup

The $1.99 AirBubble app from Google Play allows using your Android device as an AirPlay destination. The only catch is that each time you want to do this, you have to enable it in iTunes on the PC first. However, this feature probably wouldn't be used very much, since I would be able to store every song I actually listen to locally on my phone. So, the extra step is probably ok.

Music Syncing

Playlist Syncing
I have a ridiculous amount of playlists created in in almost 50. Some of those are Smart Playlists where I choose the list to intelligently select tracks that I have rated 3 stars or above and have not been listened to in the last 3 months (yes I'm meticulous). I need to be able to sync these to my phone!

How to Satisfy the foodgroup

DoubleTwist (mentioned above) will do all of the above.

Access to entire Music Library

On my iPhone, I have iTunes Match. So, I have iCloud access to my entire music library [44GB] even if the track is not synced to the phone.

How to Satisfy the foodgroup

Buy a 32GB MicroSDHC flash card from Newegg for less than $30 to be able to store 48GB of data on the S3. I may not be able to sync my entire music library, but I will be able to sync my most played songs and a very good chunk of my library and still have room to store plenty of photos and videos. If I wanted to get a larger iPhone (32GB total), the device would cost $299 on contract. The 16GB Galaxy S3 costs $199 on contract. To get a 48GB Galaxy S3, I just need to pay $230. Alternatively, I could get a 64GB microSDXC card from Amazon for less than $60 to be able to store 80GB of data on the S3 ($259 total with phone). The 64GB iPhone 4S is $399!


    Workout Test

    Carry in pocket when working out
     The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8" screen. The device is thin, but very wide and long. In the pocket it may seem a little large, but doable. The iPhone 4 is very compact and fits comfortably in the pocket with me feeling like I'm going to smash a weight against it. I could probably get by just fine with a big S3 in the pocket.

    Mount on my arm when running

    Even if they make an arm band for Galaxy S3, would I want to wear it? It would look like a big rat on my arm. Oh my goodness it's possible! They make an arm band for the S3!! The Belkin EaseFit Plus Armband does not only exist for less than $24, but dare I say it is rather stylish. (Please don't judge my style.)


    Bose SoundDock Portable compatibility

    I have a Bose SoundDock Portable with iPhone dock that sounds very good for its size. It has a great remote and an average 8hr battery life.

    How to Satisfy the food group

    CableJive makes the $36 dockBoss+ cable that allows the connection of a phone with a microUSB charge port and headphone jack. It even charges the phone while you use it.

    Hold Volume to Skip Tracks

    As trivial as this sounds, this is probably the biggest thing I absolutely have to have with my phone. I play music in the car through my phone. I have to be able to skip tracks without looking. Normally, you have to press a soft button. Therefore, you have to take your eyes off the road just to skip tracks. On my iPhone, I simply press and hold the volume-up button for a short time to skip the track, and i press and hold the volume-down button for a short time to go to the previous track. Of course, I had to jailbreak my phone to allow this feature, but if I could ask for only one feature from a jailbreak this would be it.

    How to Satisfy the foodgroup

    Looks like an app called "Button Remapper" would satisfy this and more. Not to mention the amazing amount of customizable ROMs you can install after rooting the device that would easily allow the remapping of hardware buttons.


    Apple has a very decent service plan, AppleCare+. For $99, it covers the charger, headphones, battery, display, and covers 2 accidental damage repairs at a possible $49 each. So, 2 accidental damage reports would bring the 2-year total to $198.

    How to Satisfy the foodgroup

    AT&T's insurance is $10/mo, and requires a $199 deductible, but they also cover loss and theft.
    Best Buy's plan is $170 for infinite repairs for free (also covering included charger and offers a battery replacement), but no loss and theft coverage. Will Best Buy still be around in 2 years? I sure hope so.


    NOTE: I'm going to leave the cost of a case and workout armband out of this section because I would probably need a new case and armband for the new iPhone anyway.

    New iPhone Cost

    I would most likely want at least a 32GB iPhone 5/6/whatever. This would most assuredly be $299, and I would get the $99 AppleCare+ for a total of $398 (with a potential 2-year cost of $496 if I used 2 accidental damage claims at $49ea).

    Galaxy S3 Cost

    For a 16GB Galaxy S3 it is $199 on contract. Throw in a $60 64GB microSDHC, $36 CableJive dockBoss+ cable to bring the total to $295. Add in a $170 Best Buy service contract with 2-years of unlimited accidental damage claims and "free" battery replacement for a total of $465.

    Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner?

    Even with the added cost of getting a dockBoss+ cable and Best Buy service contract, I'm getting a 4.8" 720p Super AMOLED display, 80GB, 4GLTE, dual-core, insanely customizable super Android phone with unlimited accidental damage claims for $30 less than the 32GB 2-year, 2-accident claim new iPhone that no one has any clue what the actual "amazing" specs will be! I think I'll be making the jump.