Android Switch

On Friday, June 29, 2012, 3 years and 9 days after getting my iPhone (3GS), I made The Switch. I renewed my contract with Rogers but upgraded to the new Samsung Galaxy III. It was a huge change but I kept a familiar by getting it in white, haha. Three years ago, The Android OS barely had a presence in the market and the HTC phones were kind of neat in that they were different from the ubiquitous iPhone amongst our group but otherwise not droolworthy with features. With my iPhone, it was my first dataplan and that has become a fact of life.

It’s a different smartphone world now and until I hear the apple announcement unveiling the killer and to-die-for specs of the iPhone 5, I’m living regret-free. In any case, these are just three-year commitments which is long at the start but not long at all in the grand scheme of things. NPY will probably get next year’s iPhone so I will still have one to play with!

NPY was sad at first and did not quite understand at first that my iPhone essentially became a (thick) ipod Touch and that I can still download/play the games available only for iOS (which are many). His daily reminder of my switch is that our SMS is now default green and not pretty blue indicating iMessages. I also plan on unlocking my phone and, for once, exploring using an international SIM card next time we travel.


It’s been an interesting week of adjustment and I can’t help but compare and contrast between my old phone and new. For starters, the Samsung made my iPhone look positively mini and while I got used to it over the phone, when I grabbed my iPhone for something, it felt so tiny!

I did not jailbreak my iPhone (except for a short period in the beginning) and I don’t intend to root my Android phone until someone (or the articles I now pay attention to) completely sells me on the benefits. So I’ve essentially gone from one walled garden into a roomier walled garden and liking the new environment so far.

Other than exterior customization that includes picking up a translucent semi-hard case ($5) and a bedazzled anti-dust earphone jack plug ($2) in Chinatown, I’ve had fun and enjoyed very much these new features:

  • widgets – I like to keep it simple and just running S Planner, Music (although I have no songs loaded), (which provides a nice outdoor image reflecting the current weather and time of day) and Evernote
  • customizable SMS app – grid paper background, burnt orange and off-white speech bubbles
  • Face Unlock followed by Pattern Lock – and we’ve determined that my sister passes for me only once out of about 50 attempts!
  • switched out the default keyboard with Touchpal which lets me enter Chinese with handwriting and not have to switch back to English keyboard to throw in the odd English word; Touchpal also improved on the default keyboard and made my Swype so much prettier adding iridescence and sparkle to the trail!
I’m still having a little difficulty with the keyboard which has a different responsiveness to iPhone and certainly doesn’t know my word preferences yet. Before, not Bessie! (Bessie?!) For, not Door! You, not Toy! My first contact with S Voice has been mostly useless. It searched the Internet alright upon my command but does not respond to “Hi Galaxy” very well and set my alarm for 6 p.m. instead of 6 a.m. Finally, it can’t understand me when I say “text NPY message Hi” and tells me I have no such name in my address book! So frustrating!

The rudest shock at first has been that I could not find all of the apps I have enjoyed with iOS. I’m not even that adventurous and was surprised which apps I could not find:

  • Air Canada – my workaround: saved AC’s mobile site to bookmarks, but I’m so disappointed!
  • Moleskine notepad app
  • Zenbe, the lists app I went with after trying out many apps (both Moleskine and Zenbe are replaced with Evernote)
  • Chinese apps Dianhua, Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook is not free! (or is no longer free anywhere), KTdict C-E – discovered: Pleco, which is a really cool app
  • Stanza e-reader – discovered: Aldiko, an eBook reader for Android
  • an official Pinterest app – I was really surprised!
  • Starbucks app – Canada only has the iOS version while Americans have the iOS and Android apps
  • Photo Mess by Steply which I used previously to make collages; other fun Steply apps that appear to only be for iOS: Photoautomat, SigNote, booooo…..

We were shopping for a case for Mum’s Samsung Galaxy (II) at Pacific Mall and even I was in awe of the entire hallway that was dominated with cellphone accessories stores. Bedazzling with a layer of Swarovski crystals? Pshaw! They take cases to a whole other level! And, guess what? It’s all for iPhone 4(s)!


On this day..