Eric Schmidt of Google published recently a 900-page guide for helping users who want to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone. The guide can be found here.
He says that additions are welcome, so Ive written a few.
Congratulations on your new phone! Which one is it? The Samsung Galaxy S4, the S3, the Note 3, or the Sony Xperia Z or the LG/Google Nexus 5? I ask because all of them have different versions of Android and different “skins” (looks) to it. I recommend you familiarize yourself with the technical details of your phone, because what you can do with it will vary depending on the Android version that is installed and the compatibility it has with apps. I know that, since you come from an iOS background, you probably expect your phone to update as soon as OS maker (Apple or Google) releases a new version. But you have to understand that, unlike Apple’s iOS, there is no “single” version of Android. Rather, Android is used as the basis for many different “versions” of a mobile Operating System that are personalized and tweak by each manufacturer for each phone. There are hundreds of thousands of versions of Android and upgrading them isn’t as easy as upgrading just a single version of iOS… So, knowing your version number is important. What’s that? You don’t know what a version number is, since you didn’t go to engineering school and definitely don’t have time in your busy schedule to learn computer science? Don’t worry. Remember your friend or family member who’s always there to help you with computers? You should probably call him and ask him to check the version for you. That way you’ll get a better idea of the apps you can install and the compatibility of your phone with other devices.
Ok, first of all, after you’ve opened your phone and imported all of your contacts and music and photos into the phone from your old iPhone, it’s time for you to dive into the fun of installing a RAM memory manager for your brand new Android phone! What exactly is a RAM manager? Well, it’s simple. It’s an app that runs in the background, that you never have to actually see or feel, but that manages how your apps use your RAM memory. Don’t know what RAM memory is? Well, let’s just say it’s an important part of what makes your apps work, and it’s limited and you can run out of it if you have too many apps multitasking and doing things like updating that cool-looking Twitter widget, and the semi-transparent weather widget, and those new skins you’re going to install to disguise the ugly look and feel that Samsung or Sony or LG thought would look great but actually is pretty unfamiliar. Good thing you can personalize that! But, all of that uses up memory and unless you manage it by keeping track of all the individual tasks that all of your apps are doing, your phone will drain its battery and it may even crash. That’s why you need a RAM manager. How come you never needed that on your iPhone? Well, the iPhone does that automatically for you. Android doesn’t because it doesn’t want to impair any app from doing what you asked it to do, even if you asked it to do it a day ago and you forgot to ask it to stop because you received a call, or an important text or email. So, yeah, that’s why you need it. Which one is the best? Well, since you have your choice of apps to do this particular task, why don’t you just try it yourself? Whichever prevents your phone from crashing too often, that’s the one for you!
Now that you have your RAM memory manager installed, it’s time to do all those cool things you used to do with the iPhone. Why don’t you go to your friends and show them all the cool pictures you’ve taken with your new Android phone? I know, the light in the pictures doesn’t look as balanced or well focused as before, but, hey, look at the detail that those extra megapixels can capture! Now, if you ever need to print a poster-sized version of that phone-quality picture you took, you can do it and every single optical mistake will look super detailed! But, I know, you don’t want to print the pictures. You want to show it to your friends in that extra-large, high quality display you got there. Don’t mind the pixelation, that’s normal for non-retina displays. Oh, ok, so you’re just going to use your iPad? Sorry, but your pictures aren’t automatically backed-up to the cloud like you did with iCloud when you had the iPhone. You have to either activate auto-backups from a social service like Facebook or Picasa, sharing your pictures with them, or you have to install a cloud app, like Dropbox! No, unfortunately does don’t auto-arrange your photos in albums by date, or location where the photo was taken place. But, you’ll be able to access them in any device! (As long as you have an internet connection an can remember the file name). No, unlike iCloud the pictures won’t be auto-downloaded to your iPad (or any other Tablet for that matter). You’ll have to consume your data plan to download the picture every time you want to see it. The good news is that you can manually download all the pictures to the secondary device every time you take a picture with your phone. Yes, this will take up a lot of storage, and that may seem scary when you only have 16GBs, but remember that most Android phones (except the Nexus, for some reason), have the option to add external MicroSD cards! You’ll have to configure your photo app to set the external storage to default. What? No, you don’t need to earn a Computer Science degree to do all that! All you need to do is ask for help.
How about instead of getting frustrated with your pictures, we place a videocall instead. Wait, put that phone down. Asking Google Now to “Facetime your wife” isn’t going to do a thing. First of all, your Android phone, unlike your iPhone, doesn’t know and doesn’t care who your wife is or who your relatives are. Most importantly, they don’t come with Facetime. You’ll just have to use Skype or Google Hangouts for this. Now, remember, unlike Facetime, when you call someone, Skype won’t ring on whomever you are calling unless they have skype open, so be sure to send them a text message alerting them that you want to call them, and wait for them to load Skype. It may take a while. Of course, you understand why people don’t just have it open all the time, right? It consumes a lot of battery and memory! So, just wait for your wife to figure out how to load skype and sign in (hope she remembers her password), and when she’s logged in, go ahead and video call her.
Well, now that you’ve placed your video call, let’s do something else. I noticed you tried to use the voice function of your phone, like you did with Siri when you had the iPhone. Want to try to do something else? Ok, let’s do it! Hold on! Why are you talking to your phone in Spanish?! It can only speak English!! Oh, you do international business in French Canada, Mexico, and Japan, and you have to speak all of these languages? Bad news! Android isn’t very good at speaking those languages. I mean, they support them, but they don’t understand a lot of what you say. Take Samsung’s S-Voice, for example. If you ask it to call on of your Mexican business associates, it will call someone else ALL OF THE TIME, because it can’t recognize names in Spanish! Also, set up your international keyboards. Remember how, in your iPhone, to change the language of your keyboard all you had to do was tap the globe key? Well, in Android it isn’t so simple. But, you’ll get used to it. And if you want to type in Japanese, well, you better go to the Google Play App Store and install a Japanese compatible keyboard. Yes! In Android, if you don’t like the default software keyboard, you can install competitors! Unfortunately, for Japanese, there is no native Japanese support in Android so it is obligatory to install a keyboard. Google has an experimental (Beta) keyboard which crashes some times, but works fine most of the time. For everything else, I recommend you install the SwiftKey Keyboard. It’s predictive. It learns from what you type and so eventually is able to complete your sentences which is better than merely correcting your spelling! In fact, to save some time, SwiftKey will suggest that you share everything you have ever written on Facebook, Twitter, or any of your blogs on this private company’s servers, so it can analyze your writing and serve you better predictions. Since sharing and authentication keys are centrally managed in Android, giving permission to third-party apps to access all of your personal information is super easy! Sometimes, it’s just one tap away, so be careful what you press or tap on your phone and its gigantic screen.
Oh, sorry, forgot to mention that you probably should install an anti-virus. Unlike the iPhone, you can install Android apps from any website, not just the Google Play App Store, and sometimes those apps may have viruses or other vulnerabilities. Google also doesn’t check the apps it offers through the Google Play App Store the way Apple restricts developers in the Apple App Store, so sometimes even Apps you get from there could be exploited. Having a good antivirus on your Android phone is highly recommended. You can install it directly from the Google Play Store. Remember how in the Apple App Store you used to spend dozens of dollars on games, creative tools, and other fun apps? Isn’t it great that now you can download keyboards, antiviruses, RAM memory managers, and skin apps for free instead?
So remember, the key in enjoying your Android phone is installing all of these great necessary apps, becoming US-english centric, sharing everything you can, and remembering file names for your photos, or spending time organizing them. I know it’s a little different from how you did things on the iPhone, but hey, at least you have a bigger screen now, right? Enjoy your phone before the next version of Android comes out because you most likely won’t be able to install it on your phone for months, if ever, and don’t resell your phone. Unlike the iPhone, you won’t get anything near enough to upgrade when you do. So, seriously, enjoy your phone!