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BLOG: I dumped my iPhone 4 for the Android Galaxy Nexus

Scot Finnie | March 5, 2012
I like a lot of things about my iPhone 4, but I don't like the way Apple seems to be closing its ecosystem again.

The second example is more complex. It deals with corporate policies on protecting company data and BYOD. A friend of mine bought an Android device with his own money and he's paying the monthly charges himself. He wanted to get company mail on his mobile. While his company supports that, their policies require specific security requirements and full hard drive encryption. Those changes are initiated by the creation of an Exchange account on the device. On the Android, hard drive encryption also allows companies to set additional configuration policies that can't be turned off without wiping the phone's memory. It also allows the policy setter to remotely wipe everything on the phone in the event that the device is lost or stolen, which for some users is overkill. Bottom line: there were so many strictures on the use of the phone that it became unusable to him and he decided to back out of Exchange support on his Android device.

The removal of the Exchange account did not return his Android device to normal. To do that he had to wipe the memory, eliminating the encryption, and then restore the device to its original state. That turned out to be a fairly simple process on many Android devices. Verizon offers step-by-step instructions for performing a hard reset on its website.

When everything was back to normal, my friend decided to look around for alternate Exchange client solutions. In short order, he discovered NitroDesk's TouchDown for Android. The powerful, highly configurable Exchange-based email/calendaring/contacts client can be used with ActiveSync to reach company servers without triggering overbearing policies. It also supports many Exchange security policies . That means it can remotely wipe all TouchDown email and message attachments. My friend doesn't have corporate data anywhere but in his TouchDown email, so this is a sound alternative.

IT managers might have a heated debate about the value of such an application, and none want their security policies circumvented. But there are worse alternatives from a security perspective. Back to my main point, I haven't been able to find anything close to TouchDown in the iPhone App Store.

I'm sure that whenever Apple gets around to releasing the iPhone 5 (or whatever it might officially be called), I will desire that slick new phone. But Apple's our-way-or-the-highway approach to everything it does only works when it's not placing restraints on what I want my mobile phone to be able to do. The sense I get with Android is that whatever I may want the Galaxy Nexus to do in the future, there will be a way to get there.

 

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