Saturday, 16 March 2013

3 Things To Do With Your New Android Phone That Will Help You Get Over Your iPhone

This post comes from watching a friend of mine buy his first Android device (a Nexus 4, after much deliberation) which reminded me of the time I made the switch. Coming to Android from an iPhone can be hard, especially since in many ways Apple are still ahead of the curve. However, with time, there is much to love on Android that can't be done with iOS, and this is where your new phone comes into it's own. These three things should make you happier with your decision, and avoid that awkward month where your phone feels daft and clunky, where you iPhone felt soft and smooth.

1. Find your love of widgets.

Preloaded on most Android devices is some generic clock, perhaps a Flipboard or Facebook and something else fairly simple like a Google search bar. There are fine, but they aren't yours. If you just leave the widgets that came on the home screen, you will not feel the love. Widgets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so one of the first things to do with your new phone is find the ones you need. Apps you need instant access to. Tool, settings, notes you need right there in your face.

Minimalistic Text: Let's you put a small box of text somewhere, horizontal or vertical, with all sorts of formatting options too. You can have it read things like time, battery status, date etc. I have a line to tell me what Wi-Fi network I am currently connected to. This is a pretty useful widget.

Power Toggles: This widgets give you some quick access toggles, and although a lot of phones come with some sort of toggle widget as stick, this has been my favorite to use so far.

Circle Battery Widget: Not for everyone, but with my device's short, one day battery, I like to know on immediate glance what kind of shape my battery level is in. I need this reminder right in front of me to make sure I plug in when needed.

2. Get ROMs and forget about the App Store

After years of being spoilt by the App Store's super easy usability  the Play Store can be a bit daunting for game hunting. However, this is because your Android has a lot more capability than an iPhone, and it's not easy to show off here. Android phones can play ROMs, and all you need is a decent emulator.

John GBC: I loved my Gameboy as a child, so this is go to games console for me. John GBC is inexpensive, and opens up a huge back catalog of classic games. Once you're playing Pokemon or Mario on your phone, you will really start to feel the freedom that comes with Android.

Word to the wise: Downloading ROMs of games you haven't purchased is illegal. There, I've told you. Whatever you choose to do with that information is on you now. Having said that, if Nintendo hunts you down for a game that hasn't been on store shelves for over a decade, then well, the world has really gone to shit hasn't it.

3. Get an icon pack and customize your look

All you really want here is the MetroStation Icon Pack. It's free, and quite customizable, so it should be all you need to get into a bit of customization on your icons. You're no longer a subject to your phone's strict UI. You can have it looks however you want now. Icons may not seem like a big deal, but they are one of the simpler things to do in terms of customization, and it's something not at all possible on your iPhone. If you love it, and want more, you can try some of the following medium/advanced steps...


Get a different launcher. The launcher is essentially the UI that you see when booting the phone, so launchers can give you the feeling of a completely different phone, with tonnes more customization options. I use Nova Launcher.

Root it, and do awesome stuff. There's a lot of option possible once you have root access, that I won't even start going into. With Android being so open source, there's a big developer community building custom ROMs, so there's lots of fun stuff to try.

Torrent files straight to your phone. Don't download copyright stuff though cos that's evil etc. Think about those poor musicians who can't afford private jets anymore.