As you might have heard I'm working for HERE which is a Nokia Business. And Nokia, well known as a maker of mobile phones for more than a decade has recently sold its mobile device business to Microsoft.
So we're no longer a handset manufacturer. That has some side effects 😉 For instance are we now allowed to order other mobile phone brands than Nokia phones for our daily business use.
So I went with an Nexus 5 Android phone which was made by LG Electronics. In the past years I've used quite a few different Nokia mobile phones with Symbian, Meego and WindowsPhone as operating system. I also owned an iPhone and still use an iPad with Apple iOS. So it was about time to try something new.
Some colleagues were using Android devices for quite some time already and I was curious how it would compare to WindowsPhone an iOS. For some reason people seem to fall for Android phones if one looks at their huge market share. But I've also heard a lot of negative comments from users.
If I would be a developer of mobile applications Android seems to be a safe bet just because of the vast user base. But looking at the details I thing Android bring more headache than iOS for Developers.
Yes, there are millions and millions of potential users out there. But what version of Android are they using? And on what kind of device? Is it a low end feature phone with small screen and low CPU and memory? Or a high end monster with quad core CPU and jiggabytes of RAM? Do they have an hardware keyboard or only the touch screen? Is it a tablet a netbook computer, a TV setop box or even a watch?
In short… the variety of Android hardware is sheer overwhelming and despite the potential large user base I'd have to make compromises which kind of devices I'd focus on. It seems impossible to optimize an application for every possible Android device and thus ensure a good user experience no matter what device the user is using.
But enough about my premature assumptions on Android. I'm not an developer of mobile applications but rather a normal user. So what was my first impression?
I'm used to Nokia hardware or Apple hardware which always had superior hardware design and manufacturing. Given that background all the Android phones I saw looked squeaky and rather cheap plastic to me. The Google Nexus 5 made by LG seemed to be one of the different ones that had a compelling solid design without bells and whistles that would fall off after a week in my pocket. It also had the mere Android OS without any vendor modification that would prevent it from getting OS updates directly from Google.
Android as an OS at the first glance looked a bit like a toy to me. Everything is colorful and blinking and distracting. One may like this but I'm more in favor of a clean and more minimalistic user interface. WindowsPhone UI is my favorite at the moment. The new iOS 7 just overdid it with the simplification of UI elements.
Android on the other hand seems to shout “look what I've got!” or “Or can do this cool thing, and that sound here and this little twist over there”. Feels a bit like my little kids when they come back from a weekend with friends and want to tell me everything they experienced within 10 minutes 🙂