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Android and the road back to iOS

T’was the night before Xmas, I mean “Let’s talk iPhone”. In less than 12 hours Apple will reveal to the tech world why the next version of the iPhone has taken 16 months to be unveiled. There is a lot riding on the “Let’s talk iPhone” event for Apple. It will be Tim Cook’s first keynote presentation since taking the reigns as Apple’s CEO, iOS 5 (should) will be close to release with more features to show off, a potential “world changing” assistant might make an appearance, and the biggest iPhone question of 2011 will finally be answered, will there be an iPhone 4S or 5, or both?

As crazy as it sounds the nights before Apple keynotes are always like Christmas Eve for me, possibly even more so this time around. After six months on the Android (Nexus S) wagon I may be ready for a hop back to iOS.

Nexus S

A bad experience with the Android OTA update system last week going up to 2.3.6 nearly made the trip back to iOS a certainty. Someone somewhere either at Rogers or Google screwed up and I’m almost certain that the the wrong version of the 2.3.6 update was pushed to my phone. The end result was an immediate loss of network connectivity. There are plenty of other people with similar experiences here, here, here and here. In short, the firmware pushed to my version of the Nexus S had the wrong baseband which resulted in a non-functioning cellular radio.

Prior to this OTA mishap my Android experience had already been above mediocre at best. The proximity sensor was severely buggy, Exchange support was sketchy, managing background services was a pain, finding a launcher that had the features I wanted and didn’t chew through system memory was a chore, performance was up and down, and battery life was almost worse than my old iPhone 3G.

Ironically it was the same OTA mishap that led me to find a new custom ROM for my phone, SuperAOSP, that actually fixed a number of the above issues (Exchange support is still mediocre).

Android definitely isn’t iOS. As an OS it is much more complete. With all of the widgets, background apps and apps you can add it provides much more power over iOS. But with all the things that can be done on Android that many more things can go wrong. An OTA update shouldn’t kill my cellular service. I shouldn’t have to go through four different launchers to find one that performs well. I shouldn’t have to hunt down a custom ROM to fix trivial issues. I just want the phone to work.

While I’m hoping Tim Cook makes the world “Oohh and ahhhh” tomorrow I have this feeling we’re only going to see an “iPhone 4S”. But if there is an iPhone 5, I might have to pull a few monetary strings (break the bank) and go for an early upgrade.