I like my new Android phone. It has power, it lets me have more control over the experience than my iPhone ever did and for a lot of people, it delivers in exactly the areas that iOS is increasingly frustrating and/or boring them. But this is not a phone I’d recommend to my Mum. Or most of my friends. Or, in all probability, you.
My Nexus 4 is a great, complete, mobile experience. The word that comes to mind again and again is “unrestrained’. Where iOS cajoles you into certain behaviours and typically ‘we know best’ UX, Android will play on your terms. Want to use Face unlock? Fine. Want to rinse your battery telling Evernote to update 60 times a day in the background? Fine. Want to sideload ROMs, new firmwares etc? Fine. On your head be it!
I’d say I’m a technological grownup. I understand how to tamper with technology and make it do what I want — but I’m old enough to deal with pretty much any consequences if it goes wrong. Most people aren’t like this. Most people don’t want this.
Even with a good regime of folders, the front page of my iPhone homescreen is almost like a rundown of responsibilities and considerations.
Mailbox, Fantastical and Reminders. Feedly, Instapaper and Reddit. Vine, Instagram and Facebook. Tweetbot. There’s something about all the potential, all these calls to action streaming into my brain every time I pick the thing up.
So a holiday provided the perfect opportunity to simplify my life.
Smartphones rose to power because they took a device you always had with you and crammed it full of extra value. These portable computers used the ‘phone’ concept as a trojan horse at just the right time of mobile data, miniaturisation and social networks. Before long, most people will have smartphones without even thinking about it.
But they also only impact you at the point of consumption. Until you take it out of your pocket, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Like your watch, these inventions are hidden but just a ‘click’ away when required – like menus in web design.
Glass is different. It’s always there, ready to notify you or leap into search. But there’s a price: it sits there benignly on your face all day every day, whether you’re using it or not.