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Can an iPhone user learn to love Android?

Kirk McElhearn | March 17, 2014
I've been using an iPhone for a few years, but I've always been curious about Android. Not because I didn't like my iPhone, but I wanted to know if I was missing anything. I'd seen how Android works when friends showed me their phones. But given the cost of smartphones and tablets, it wasn't worth getting an Android device just to play around with it.

I've been using an iPhone for a few years, but I've always been curious about Android. Not because I didn't like my iPhone, but I wanted to know if I was missing anything. I'd seen how Android works when friends showed me their phones. But given the cost of smartphones and tablets, it wasn't worth getting an Android device just to play around with it.

But then, a couple of months ago, Motorola released an Android smartphone — the Motorola Moto G — at a low enough price that I was tempted to get one, just to see if it might be better. I decided to take the leap, and here's how I fared.

Making the switch

I got the Moto G for £130 (about $200); it's now available in the US for $179. I won't go into details about specs: it's a phone and it runs apps. The only technical point to highlight is that it offers a mere 8GB of storage, with only 5.52GB of that available to me; the rest is commandeered by the Android operating system and apps. I don't use the phone for music or videos, so that storage is enough for me, but for some people it could be a deal-breaker. (There is a 16GB model for not a whole lot more.) The Moto G also came with an additional 50GB of Google Drive storage for a year, on top of the standard 15GB — much more than iCloud's measly 5GB.

Initially, the Moto G came with Android 4.3, a.k.a. Jelly Bean, but was upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat in January. One advantage of this phone is that it is unlocked: there's no carrier-installed cruft to worry about. It's a stock Android distribution, with a couple of Motorola apps.

As you'd expect, a phone like this is very Google-centric. Just as an iPhone is hooked into iCloud, many of the Moto G's apps are dependent on your Google account. So if you have an aversion to Google, you'll be limited when using Android; if not, you'll have access to all sorts of features and content.

It wasn't too difficult to set up the phone, even using my existing data. There's a Motorola Migrate app, which pulled my contacts from iCloud, to get me started. You don't need to use Gmail; you can easily set up your iCloud email account, or any other email account, though you'll need to enter the server information manually. Syncing contacts and calendars is a little trickier, but it works. I grabbed two free apps — CardDAV-Sync Free Beta for contacts and Caldav Sync Free Beta for my calendar — and they managed to get things in line. If you use Microsoft Exchange, that's doable, too.

 

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