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An Android User Comes to iOS

Mar 23 2011, 5:33pm CDT | by , in Reviews | Apple

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An Android User Comes to iOS

It's kind of nice over here.

The iPad 2 is the first Apple device I've ever owned. Over the last week and change since the launch, I've had a chance to explore the new operating system on a deeper level than ever before. As a bit of background, I've been an Android user since the G1 launched- I'm used to the look and feel of Google's open source OS.

As tempting as the iPad 2 is, I'd imagine some of you out there are in the same position I was. Here's what you can expect out of your first days and weeks of iOS use.

Say Goodbye to Widgets:

The most jarring difference between how iOS and Android look are the widgets. My phone has widgets for the time and weather and my media library and all my hardware controls. The iPad only has a bunch of shortcut icons. In a way, it's more like my old desktop than what I've become accustomed to in a mobile OS.

As much as losing widgets shocked me, I haven't missed them all that much. I do less at-a-glance computing with my iPad. When I settle down with it, I have a very specific purpose. I'm not pulling it out of my pocket to check on the time and see what the weather is like outside.

Say Goodbye to Windows Too:

In Android, you have a whole bunch of windows you can fill up with apps and widgets. iOS only gives me one extra pane, which I imagine might get irritating when I fill this thing up with a few more apps.

There's No Crap:

At least, no crap that you don't install on there. My phone still has a bunch of proprietary Sprint apps that I haven't been able to remove. Apple products launch clear of anyone else's spyware. I know Apple is just as liable to record my every move as a mobile carrier, but at least they won't also gunk up my system.

iOS is Fast...And Surprisingly Productive:

You can't multitask in iOS in the same way as you multitask in Android. I miss being able to slide that top bar down and flit from app to app. But iOS is fast enough that I don't mind it too much. Moving between a browser and a notes document is lag-free and blessedly simple, thanks to Apple's fantastic copy/paste functionality.

Research-based tasks, which encompass a big chunk of my job, are more comfortable on my iPad than on any other device in my arsenal.

There are Still Some Holes:

And I'm not talking about Flash. There are a few productive areas where iOS comes up really short. For one thing, working on a Google spreadsheet is almost impossible. And all the photo-editing apps stop short of what you'd need to do any sort of meaningful work.

On the whole...

Android is capable of so much, it is easy to forget just how crude it seems at some of its core functions. My Evo's browser still periodically clears all my windows, and my message app locks up almost constantly. My iPad 2 hasn't done anything I haven't told it to do. Apple built their mobile OS to handle a limited range of tasks to near perfect execution. iOS devices just work, exactly the way they're supposed to, whenever you need them to.

That's a little boring to veteran fiddlers. But it is nice to have when you need to get things done.

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