Almost switched to Android

With my iPhone X glass broken, I needed a replacement phone quickly. The timing is not great because Apple has an event tomorrow, likely for the iPad and Apple Watch, with an announcement for new iPhones to follow within a few weeks. On the other hand, it has been nearly 3 years since I bought my iPhone X, so I don’t feel bad upgrading even to last year’s iPhone.

Meanwhile, there’s Android. As Daniel and I have been discussing on Core Intuition, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with how Apple manages the App Store. It would be good for me to have more experience with Android, eventually developing an Android version of Micro.blog.

Last year I bought a cheap Android tablet (Galaxy Tab A) to use for testing. I’ve been using it much more often, and it has become my “catching up on email, surfing the web, and Slack-ing while in the living room” device. The hardware is slow, but it runs Android 10, and already it has been useful for seeing how Android users experience Micro.blog.

iMessage lock-in remains the biggest problem with Android for me. I tried AirMessage, which Ben Thompson had good things to say about on Dithering. AirMessage runs on your Mac and essentially forwards messages back and forth to Android. It’s clever, but because I use a MacBook Pro exclusively, AirMessage will stop working if I close the laptop or take it somewhere else.

One option I seriously considered is getting a Pixel 4a and using an old iPhone (or ordering a new iPod Touch) just to run iMessage, Micro.blog, and anything else that I needed iOS for. It doesn’t make sense to go all-in on Android while I’m in the middle of wrapping up a major iOS upgrade to Micro.blog 2.0. Having 2 inexpensive devices would force me to live in the Android world while also keeping iMessage and everyday testing for Micro.blog 2.0. It looked like I couldn’t get a Pixel 4a shipped very quickly, though.

In the end, I’ve decided to upgrade to the iPhone 11 Pro. It arrives tomorrow. It’s the 3rd version of the iPhone X-style phone, so I know it’s a stable, better version of what I already have. I don’t know what the iPhone 12 is going to look like, whether the quality will be rushed because of COVID, or what features they’ll stick in that I don’t need. I’ll continue to tinker with Android, and maybe that will be my next phone, but it felt a little too early for such a disruptive change.

Manton Reece @manton
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