Android Has Lost its Appeal

Android, currently the world's favorite mobile operating system, is held in high regard by many and high contempt by others, namely Apple fans. Lately for me, Android has become un-inspiring and too tied into this always on, always connected online only world that Google is pushing. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about being connected, but the feeling that I have to be connected for my device to be useful, it sometimes as limiting as it is liberating. I currently own a Galaxy Nexus on Sprint running the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean build. This is supposed to be the premier Android experience, and I will say, it's up there as one of the best, if not the best Android phone's I've owned. But I want more.

Google Now
I say I want more, but what I really mean is, I want less. I want to spend less time customizing, syncing the right accounts with the right apps, searching for the needle in the haystack of apps for the few good ones that really help me out and make my phone more useful. I want my phone to know me and to feel like mine without me having to sit down and set aside a hour or two to customize it just so.

Now, Android has some great features, Google Now is great, and really is helpful if someone limited. Once I set my home and work location in the phone, it does a great job of alerting me to traffic. Seeing a weather card is nice and the automatic display of the Chicago Cubs scores is cool too. (Yes I'm a Cubs fan, yes, I know they suck.) But that's all the information it ever gives me, besides asking me if I want driving directions to somewhere if I visit it once and stay there for any period of time.

I do appreciate Google Talk on Android quite a bit, but as more and more of my friends and family migrate away from Android to iPhone, fewer people are online to chat with, and SMS has become the my way of communicating. Which leads me to my next point, Google Voice. What once used to be the greatest feather in the Android cap, has lately become the biggest pain point for me. I can no longer trust Google Voice, even with the deep integration that Sprint offers. I never know for sure if a text has gone through, people only receive one text when I send them three and there's still no support for MMS. Google's progress with Google Voice seems to have stalled, with no new features or major changes to the product in over a year, I don't feel like it's a priority for Google anymore.

Now that I'm running the final build of Windows 8 on both my home and work PCs, my phone feels more and more like the odd device out. Sure it has some Microsoft services like Xbox Live app and Skydrive, but they don't work very well, they are both very manual apps that require me to actively open them. Skydrive doesn't support background uploading of pictures, the one feature I want before I switch totally away from Dropbox. I know why Microsoft does this, they want me to use Windows Phone, but as I've mentioned before, I'm on Sprint and Windows Phone doesn't seem to be in the cards anytime soon. (Nor does LTE, but that's another story.)

So that's why I'm switching away. Not just from Android, it uninspiring hardware the lack of a desktop platform for it to tie into, but also from Sprint. I'll be headed to Verizon, where the LTE is plentiful and the network is reliable (for the most part), so I hear. I just hope both Nokia and Verizon wise up and realize that the Lumia 920 belongs on big Red's network. If Windows has a premiere phone, that's it. I'll keep people updated with my experience as I switch and how my experience is going from Sprint's abysmal 3G to Verizon's LTE after it's been hit with an influx of iPhone 5s as I won't be making the jump until Windows Phone 8 launches. I'll just make the best of Android and Sprint in the meantime.