I've always been one to veer away from what the masses are doing. I never saw Titanic, didn't watch Lost and I'm not into American Idol. When a whole bunch of people get out of their heads excited about something, it makes me a little bit less interested--because I want to discover the awesome thing that no one knows about yet.
That's why I've always tried out a wide variety of phones. I had a couple of Palm phones, a Windows mobile phone in 2005, and even had a Helio. When everyone went iPhone, I went Android. While there may be more Android phones out there, among VCs and tech folks, it was the zag to seemingly everyone else's zig.
Truth be told, I really liked my Android phones, especially since I'm on Google's cloud for just about anything important that I do. I feel in love with Swype and liked adding apps over the air.
Eventually, little things would pop up--and eventually the little things piled up and became, well... downright maddening. The fact of the matter is that the care that goes into every last detail of the iPhone design just isn't there with Android phones--and it's that last 5% that really makes the difference. There was nothing big that I wanted to do on the iPhone that I couldn't do on the Android, but doing them was just that much slower, clunky or glitchy. Not a lot, but eventually, just enough.
Here were the camel straws:
- Memory. Androids have plenty of memory--when you include their flash memory cards. The problem is that not all apps work on the flash memory, particularly the ones that use some core functionality of the phone. So, eventually, you start to get "low memory" notices and you're forced to delete your twitter cache and manually move apps from internal memory to the card. I couldn't help but think, "Steve Jobs would never let a user spend time moving apps around memory or worrying about cache clearing. The phone got too cluttered up for me to run Swype and I had to switch back to normal typing.
- Random apps running in the background. One of the number one apps in the store is Advanced Task Killer--an app that helps you close down apps you never opened in the first place. Seriously? On a routine basis, I had to kill my American Airlines app that would just launch itself and do God knows what in the background--taking up memory, power, and probably sending my data to the highest bidder. Total fail.
- Power. The screens are big and lovely--and maybe when we have fuel cell technology, they'll be useful, but for now, they just outstrip the phone's capacity to stay juiced up. I'm not sure the iPhone is that much better, but my iPhone friends don't seem to spend nearly as much time undering for outlets as I do.
- Micro-USB. Those tiny little plugs are utter crap and totally designed to fail. Eventually, all of the chargers I had wound up bending too far and making it flakey to charge the phone.
- Testing startup apps. As a VC, I could never advise that a startup launches on Android first--the VCs, media, and key influencers are all on iPhone--which left me at a disadvantage as an early adopter. Perhaps if building for the Android phones weren't such a pain in the ass...
So now I've joined the iCult--yet I still use a PC on my desktop and am perfectly happy with that. Feel free to play Draw Something with me in the meantime.