Why I Won’t Be Switching to Android Anytime Soon

I’m a fan of the iPhone. I first picked one up with the 3rd generation model, commonly known as the 3GS. Now I’m sporting the 5th generation iPhone (known to most as the 4S [with Siri]) and as always I’m curious to see what Apple will come out with next. Being a tech-geek I’m also interested to see what Google has up their sleeve with Android and what Microsoft is working on with their upcoming Windows Phones. That being said, I’m not likely to switch away from the iPhone (and iOS) anytime soon*, especially considering the state of the Android ecosystem.

Let me get this out there right away, lest I be flamed to death. I love competition in the mobile ecosystem. I think Android is a good mobile OS. I can understand the appeal to those who want to be able to do whatever they want with their devices. It’s just not for me. Here’s why:

I want to know that my phone is going to work well and not die halfway through the day. I want to know that my phone will be supported by developers for at least the duration of my carrier contract and that apps will run smoothly. I want a phone that will be able to immediately use any new OS updates. I also want an easy to use User Interface (UI) that not only looks great but is smooth like buttah.

I don’t feel like I can get all of these things with an Android device. The market is too fragmented to guarantee I’ll be able to find a phone that will do all of the above. Take a look at this graph from the Android Developers site:

Graph of the distribution of the different android os versions

As of April 2nd, the date this data was last collected, only 2.9% of Android devices are running on version 4+ (Ice Cream Sandwich). This is 6 months after ICS was officially released (in October of 2011). Couple that with the fact that there are HUNDREDS of android devices and it’s hard to know that your phone will ever be supported fully by developers, let alone for the next several years. As far as OS adoption goes, go to a local electronics shop and take a look at the newer Android phones. A large percentage of them don’t even have ICS factory installed and several don’t even have an upgrade path defined yet by their manufacturer.

All of this, and there are rumors floating around that Google may release Jelly Bean (Android 5.0) in Q2 of this year.

All of this fragmentation gives me the willies. I wish Google would’ve taken a more Microsoft-like approach when it came to licensing their OS. Of course if they had, who knows if it would’ve grown as much as it has.

I’m going to stick with my iPhone for now. Considering how much I’ve invested in the iTunes ecosystem at this point it’s not likely I’ll ever switch (even if I really want to). In the meantime I’ll be enjoying all the benefits of the healthy competition we’re seeing in the mobile device market. Keep getting better Android, you’re making life better for all us iTards.

* I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but the Windows Phones actually intrigue me. I definitely want to get some screen time in with one.