Orthodox Android - part 1

Last year I posted this collection of reviews of my favourite apps for my iPhone.  Now that I have an Android phone, I have promised people a similar review for Orthodox Android apps.  This will come but, having previously endorsed the iPhone I feel that I bear some moral responsibility to point out what its flaws are to prevent others from falling into the trap that I did, of getting caught up in the Apple hype.

I got the iPhone in March of 2011 and had got rid of it by October of the same year.  My iPhone 4 was my first smartphone and my mind was blown.  It did for me more than I could have possibly expected a phone to do for me.  Suddenly, I didn't have to cart my laptop around the country with me so that I could keep on top of correspondence, I could easily navigate my way around unfamiliar parts of the country I was visiting because I had GPS, as well as rail, bus, and tram route maps and timetables at my fingertips.  These and other numerous benefits were amazing.

However, I very quickly came to realise that there were drawbacks to having the iPhone. The one that I immediately noticed was that downloaded media files would be converted to a file type that was incompatible with anything other than Apple's software.  Also, once saved to the phone, they could not be forwarded to any other device.  These were my files, for which I had paid to have saved on my device, and I couldn't even e-mail them to myself to back them up on my computer.  I then began to notice that any website that used Flash would not work properly on an iPhone because Apple had built in this incompatibility.

Then, I began to explore various apps for my phone, and found some really rather good ones.  Only, I couldn't download all of them.  Why?  Apple has implemented a strict vetting process for apps, and has designed the iPhone's operating system (iOS) to be incompatible with any app that does not meet with its approval, the witholding of which seems to be quite arbitrary and inconsistent.  There is a way to bypass this.  It involves a process called "jailbreaking" the phone, which essentially removes Apple's hold over the phone by installing an operating system based closely on iOS but without the aforementioned restrictions.  The result of this, though, is that, once iOS is gone, there is no getting it back.  Apple essentially treats you as an outcast. There are ways around this that people have discovered, but Apple is on top of things and quickly puts the walls back up.

Let us not forget the compatibility issues.  On many points, Apple's products are incompatible with much outside of the the range of Apple's products.  I was once heard to say what many people have bought into: "It's because it's a different operating system".  No, it is not!  There are many operating systems out there whose file types and much else are compatible with others.  Apple's incompatibility is by design.  It is to ensure that, once you have invested in an expensive item produced by them, you are largely tied to their overpriced products, accessories, and services, thus eliminating the competition.  I found myself wanting to buy Apple Macbooks and other things because they were all part of this Apple family, even though I had more than adequate equipment already, and there was no way I could reasonably afford these things.  I realised what was happening to me and knocked it on the head.

All of this meant that, once the honeymoon period was over, my love affair with my iPhone very quickly turned sour.  I began to explore Android and eventually sold my iPhone last autumn, the proceeds from the sale of which helped me to buy my Samsung Galaxy Nexus - a decision with which I am generally happy.

More to follow.

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