May 24, 2010
Highly dependent on Google account. For example, Calendar can't even be used without being logged into a Google account. In a way, you are a just trading a certain amount of Apple lock-in for a certain amount of Google lock-in.
I use a standard IMAP server for email. Gmail and Mail are two separate apps (why?) and the standard mail client is very much a second-class citizen. (Cannot move a message to another folder, for example. It's just not possible.) A third-party fork of the standard email client (called K-9) offers better IMAP support, along with its own set of weird behaviors, fractured GUI, and regrettable Dr. Who icon.
I've just endured a week of reading Google's ‘opener than thou’ harping, with ever increasing levels of irritation, and all along Android is locked in to their services? What bullshit.
Apple's app store and policies are grossly imperfect (I maintain it won't last once the platform is established to a certain level of maturity), but keeping my contacts in sync using MobileMe is my choice, I could use Google's Exchange support or just regular desktop synching if I wanted. I choose to store my calendars in Yahoo Calendar (accessed through the iPhone via the CalDAV standard, and iCal on desktop using the same method.) You're telling me I can't even use the Calendar app if I don't submit to Google Calendar? I dislike Google Calendar.
Android has provided pause for though lately. I'm 16 months into my iPhone 3G deal, and will be promptly eligible for the iPhone 4G/HD after it arrives in June. Android is developing at pace, has some intriguing capabilities in its OS architecture, and I'm tempted. HTC's hardware seems decent enough, and the state of third party apps seems to be improving respectably.
But then you look around, and see that handsets—even the mass-marketed, one top-of-line models like Verizon's Droid—are being left hanging for supported software updates mere months after their release. Then, it turns out updating your software wipes out your data?! There are devices that are forever stuck running Android 1.5, 1.6… The trouble seems to be that whilst Android is offering marketing parity for manufacturers to compete with the iPhone, it really hasn't done anything to change how those manufacturers treat their phones after sale. Apple improved the mobile industry both with the quality of their software, but also the quality of the support for the life of the product.
Say what you will about the App Store policies, and the SDK restrictions, but if I buy another iPhone, I can be very confident from observed history that I'll be getting two years of regular, first-class upgrades. I'll get an iPhoneOS version 5 in 2011, and in the event I don't upgrade the phone again after two years, a decent subset of features for OS6 in 2012, too. If I buy an Android phone, I have every reason to think that after six month I'll be unsupported, rolling my own OS upgrades, for as long as they still work at all. For a piece of technology that I carry with me all the time, every day, with a high level of dependence, that's not OK.
Apple's ecosystem is constricted, but reliable for users. I have no faith that the Android world is designed to provide devices and software that will last the length of a cellphone contract, or if this still just one long public beta, where a bad handset choice will leave you out in the cold.