My experience with an Android product, and my return to the iPhone

iOS and iPadOS
Hello AppleVis and AppleVis readers, I'd like to post about my experience with iOS, then Android, and now, my return to the iPhone. I've been an iPhone user since the introduction of the iPhone 4S on October of 2011. I've liked the product, and I've liked every Apple product, and for those of you who know me, I've used Apple products for a while now, and I'm in the Apple ecosystem for the most part. Well, last week, I switched carriers from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile. Turns out, they didn't have the iPhone 5S which I was looking for. I thought to myself, I should get an Android phone for now, maybe a Galaxy Note 3? At least until I'm able to get a 5S. Well, turns out, that was a bad choice in my part. For those of you who know me, you know my bad relationship with Samsung. People were asking me, "Oh wow, you got a Samsung? I thought you'd never get one of those." I spent two days with the Android device, when I finally decided, this isn't the platform for me. I, being a tech guy, and liking to spend time with the newest technologies available in the industry, didn't like the experience on Android at all for blind users. You thought VoiceOver bugs on iOS 7 were bad? Well, if that's the case, chances are you won't be able to handle Android at all. TalkBack is not as responsive as VoiceOver, at least with the voices most phones come preinstalled with. Anyway, earlier today, I went to the T-Mobile store to order an iPhone 5S. If all goes as planned, it should be here in a little over a week, meanwhile, I can keep using the Galaxy Note 3. I'm glad to say, I'm glad I'm part of the iPhone family once again, and I'm not switching from Apple any time soon, no matter if the newest iPhone is currently unavailable.



Submitted by Daniel on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hi, I don't own an android device but first thing I would like to ask did you do any software updates in relation to the fermware and talkback itself? Please, I don't want you to asume that you rushed things because all I know is that you might of given the phone some extensive testing. Its just reading your post I got the impression that it all seemed rather rushed. Again I don't want to asume anything here or start something. Its just I'm cureious what was the bad and good etc. Glad you'll be getting your 5s very soon! :)

like the previous poster, i'd suggest updating things, but thats not the whole story. you have to under stand how android phones work and what samsung does to the phones they sell. when samsung gets the android software and puts them on the phones, they tweek it and change it. this is called skinning. the run what is called touch wiz. this isn't the most talk back friendly at times. i'd suggest installing a new launcher called nova launcher. furthermore, you probably had problems with the keyboard as well. so install the google keyboard. you are probably going to have to poke around for any accessible alternatives for any inaccessible preinstalled blote ware. that will be up to you to find out what is accessible, and what you need to replace. i have a nexus 7 so i don't run into any of this because i'm running stock android and i don't have any 3rd party blote ware and skinning. like the note 3. honestly, half the battle on android is running the latest software, but things are getting better in that respect. but some of android is poking around and seeing what you can do and what you have to go to the play store and replace. but i can tell you that, with the exception of games, i have found something on my nexus 7 for everything i can do on my iphone. and even in some cases more. just do to the nature of android and the amount of custumization. what i fear you did is pick it up and said, "oh thats wierd. oh why did it do that? oh thats not accessible." android isn't accessible. correct me if i'm wrong, but i'd urge you to take some of my suggestions here and please give android a second look. and if possible give us some specifics. you were rather vague in your first post.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Thursday, October 24, 2013

wow, absolutely amazing. did you consider that maybe touch wiz might have something to do with your bad android experience? Had you held out and got a nexus five it might have been better, and as to your issue with the voices the phone comes with, I think it may be samsung.

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Honestly, I think this post and the thread mentioned here tells me a lot. Now correct me if I am wrong on this. I have no problem in being corrected. Let say John or Jane Doe that is visually impaired goes to the store. Picks up an iPhone of any model. They will find out quickly that it works great without any kind of modification and technical work. This would be the result across the board. Now if one is reaching for an Android phone. I have no clue how many models they have but I'm sure there are a lot. That each and every model will give you a different experience. So I either have to work a lot on getting this to work reasonably or I buy just one model that is known to work rather well. I'm no expert but I'd imagine that most phone users would not want to take a lot of time to download this. Tweak that. Just to get it where we are satisfied. I mean by a typical user that is. Now if one is technical saavy and don't mind a lot of grief and fusturation to get it right where they want it to be. It sounds like it would work rather well. To me that defeat the perpose of being easy and friendly from the first switch on for that device. Plus, the eco system that you know have across many devices and to the computer. I would say 80% of my friends and family couldn't or wouldn't want to take the time to get it setup of where they would want on a phone like the Android. However, that does leave the 20% that could do this and I'm sure the experience could be rather good. So the point of this discussion and this post. Is that I'm glad he took the time to tell us of his story. This does say a lot for one experience. Plus, the fact I've heard the same story over many times from many friends that have taken the leap to try it. I do hope at some point. That All Anroid phone will be as friendly and easy as the iPhone. I do want a choice. So when that time comes when any visually impaired person goes to the store. Pick up any device. Android or iOS and maybe another OS. I hope that we can use it as we first turn on that device. Now that would be awesome. Thanks for sharing the story with us! :)

Submitted by Kyle on Thursday, October 24, 2013

In reply to by AnonyMouse

yes AnonyMouse you are correct for the most part. there are dozens of different android devices. offering a wide variety of user experiences. this could be a advantage and at the same time it could be a disadvantage. on the one hand you will be able to get the exact user experience you are looking for. furthermore, the android operating system allows for huge amounts of customization. so you can run and explore what the limits of your device can do. where in the IOS operating system, what you see, or in our case what you hear, is what you get. again, that's both an advantage and disadvantage. it is a very clean and straight forward user interface. however, you can't change that. you want fleksi to be the default keyboard? nope. can't do that on ios. want to customize basic things on your phone like colors, icons, status bars, and home screnes right out of the box? nope can't do that on IOS. i say right out of the box because in android you can do this stuff but in ios you have to jail brake which some people are for and some people not so much. as far as the ecosystem across devices, it is very across devices. you use your google gmail credentials to sign in and things sink across your android devices if you have more than one. this is similar to the Apple id. for example, i can go to with my iphone, windows lap top, and if i had a mac i could go there too, and look up apps on the play store, click download, and they are downloaded to my nexus in literally like 5 seconds. way faster than anything on IOS BTW. i don't really know how or why they can do this in like 5 seconds, but it is not my wifi network. i've made sure of that. i am trying to see the difference in the fact where you still have to download stuff in IOS that is accessible for it to work for you as well? in either operating system there is going to be accessible apps and in accessible apps. you have to find out what is accessible, and what works and what doesn't work for you. so the experience is the same in that respect. in android there are definitely fewer, but like i said before i have found an android equivalent for everything i can do on IOS. plus more do to the nature of android. except for games. still would like to hear a bit more on specifics about why the first poster gave up on android. i mean, i kind of got the idea that he only tried it for like two days. but come on. two days is no judge of an operating system. now, if it was completely inaccessible, that is one side of things, but android is very accessible. hell, i hated my iphone for like the first 4 or so days i used it because i had never used a touch screne and was like i'm never going to get used to this. but i actually did.

Submitted by alex wallis on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hi Kyle, regarding the time it takes to get used to an operating system. I actually disagree with you I think it depends on the person, So in my case I worked out after about an hour or so of borrowing my brothers iPhone that I would be able to get used to the basic gestures and use it no problem. When I got my iPhone it took me a day or so and a bit of reading before I was comfortable with using it. Now, having said that I still hate the on screen keyboard and that's why I still have a Bluetooth keyboard and also use flecsy I avoid the on screen keyboard at all costs as for me its just two impractical to use quickly for any length of time. Now, by contrast before I got my iPhone I had a nokia e7, and I worked out in a few hours that I hated it, because the way talks had implemented access to the Symbian touch screen meant there was no easy way to find things on the screen you just had to move your finger around and hope and it just wasn't fun to use. I hadn't even scene an iPhone at the time when I had my e7, but I quickly decided it wasn't for me and got rid of it after a week, but I new it wasn't for me even after a few hours. I went back to my really ancient nokia e90. Luckily after that I got to try my brothers iPhone so made the jump and haven't looked back since. My point is that I think it can take different amounts of time to decide if something isn't for you.

Submitted by Brooke on Thursday, October 24, 2013

In reply to by Kyle

I loved the customization of Android; there are times when it can be a lot of fun. But there are other times when it can be beyond frustrating. TalkBack has come a LONG way since Android was my primary OS. My last Android phone is stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich, and even with that version, I can see its progress. So I'm sure it's even more significant for someone running the latest version of Google's software. And this was one of my biggest issues with Android... how fast phones became obsolete. You can buy a phone, and 8 months later, you find out that phone won't be updated to Android's latest version. It happened to me twice, and after the second time, I decided I was done. Granted, there are ways of unlocking the boot loader and installing a custom Rom, but that isn't always easy and can come with some risk. I know there are phones you can buy that come with stock Android, and these phones are more likely to receive all the updates. But my guess is these phones are expensive; they may cost more than the average consumer can afford. If you're able to afford a good Android phone that receives current updates, then the Android experience is enjoyable. The options to customize an Android phone make it an appealing option. There are still things about Android that I miss, and I don't expect that to change. But I didn't enjoy putting forth a significant amount of money for a phone, only to have it left behind in a short amount of time.

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Kyle

Hello Kyle, There is no doubt in what you have lain out. I won't deny that the Android there is so much you can do with customization over the iOS platform. It is an open architecture. With every open architecture there will be problems. Just has with any closed architecture. You are limited in what one can do. So there are advantages and disadvantages to both of that kind of architecture. However, that is about where I will stop in saying about the Android. There is a lot more than just to say it can do this and that. So the customization is there. I grant you there. No doubt. Hands down the Android is the best for that. As I will always tell people. Is to try out the device. Give it a spin. As with you. Two days is not enough time to get the sense in what this baby will do. Give it some time to play with. Get what fit you and for your need. So if that is an iPhone, an Android, or even a Microsoft phone. That's great. I'm one of those that want the best bang for my buck. The customer service with Apple is bar none with anything I have ever seen in my life. I don't feel like when I leave a store that nobody is there to help you out as I did when I tried the Android out for myself. I also like to squeeze every penny out which my contract is up on my old phone. It is amazing what an unlocked iPhone 4 to this day and age will bring you in! Plus, the fact that old of a phone can still run the latest iOS after these many years! I just felt so much secured and safe when I want to use my bank app. So with the security that I can count on, the retail value of the device that I can get from it, plus the customer service is what keeps bringing me back to the iPhone. Everybody just going to have different reasoning for what they want to purchase. That us just natural for who we are. So as for the original post. I have to agree. Give it a try for a bit longer. It sounds like he was going to do that for another week. I'm sure if he feels at that point it is so much better once he got to know it. He should keep it. I certainly think after the first week of an experience person with a smart phone would know by then which is better for them. If he feels that the iPhone is better for him. Then so be it. If not, then his original reasoning to get the Android was indeed right for him. The bottom line is that one can't tell others in what is right for them but only for him to figure out on his own.

Hello, Everything on the Android device was up to date, latest TalkBack, and Android 4.3. I forgot to mention, I also have a Nexus 7, and I prefer the experience on iOS better. I have, and will continue to keep the Nexus 7 though, since I use it for software development.

Submitted by Santiago on Friday, October 25, 2013

In reply to by Kyle

I believe I needed to be more descriptive about my experience with Android over all, not just with an Android phone. I've had a Nexus 7 since last July, and my experience overall is based off the Note 3 and the Nexus 7. The experience on the Nexus was slightly better, in my opinion, than the Note 3, but not by much.

Submitted by Greg T Kelchner on Friday, October 25, 2013

In reply to by AnonyMouse

I know I did my fair share of griping about iOS 7… But I came to this same realization a couple of weeks ago… Any time you start talking about the android OS as it relates to the visually impaired community the same thing always comes up… The complexity of it all… "This phone works really well, this phone doesn't, this one doesn't at first but if you add this and take this away… Install this… You're going to have to uninstall this preloaded software" honestly… It's all quite ridiculous. Even these initial discussions about set up an installation and what works and what doesn't still makes the iOS appear more favorable. I think the key point here is that a visually impaired person can walk into a store and test, purchase, and start using an iOS device on almost exactly the same level of ease that a sighted person would be able to. When it comes to android? You really never know what you're going to get. It's a gamble. The bugs in iOS 7 are really nothing compared to the vast range of experiences on the android operating system and I've come to realize this. I have even used an android device I can't remember which one it was but in my opinion it was absolutely worthless in comparison to the ease of iOS. It was confusing to say the least…And now that the screen sensitivity bug is squashed in iOS 7 I'll probably upgrade to iOS 7 .0 .3 and hope that even more bugs will be eliminated by iOS 7 .1. I have to say my Apple optimism is being renewed.

yes apple has taken a big step by fixing the touch screne bug in IOS 7.03 but they still have a lot of work to go i'm afraid. to elaborate on some of the stuff that i've brought up before,the openness of android is both touted and praised in every circle. i think it is both an advantage and a disadvantage of android to be an open operating system. on the one hand you can buy something like a nexus and get a very clean OS with out anything crazy thrown in. where on the other hand you can also by something like a galaxy, which is very heavily skinned, customized, and tweeked by samsung. samsung's touch wiz user interface is so customized. in fact, you could almost call it a new operating system. imagine this. taking OSX code and interjecting lines of your own custom code into it all over the place. changing everything from the look to how the base api's work. now try to run voice over with it. you are probably cringing right? i am too and i don't even have a mac. well that is what is happening when you try to run talk back on an samsung device. it s not quite as bad as the example i provided, but i hope you get the point. i wouldn't be at all surprised if samsung takes there touch wiz stuff and makes there own operating systemm in the next few years. but the good thing about android's openness, is that you can still buy one of those devices and be able to use all of the features of the phone while making the interface better for us as blind people. whether you like that kind of thing or not is completely up to you. i personally have a few bones to pick with apple on how they do things. which is why, at this point, i'm liking android better. my complaints about apple aside, hope this helps someone understand things better.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

OK, this is what I think. As much as I used to enjoy using android, I enjoy using iOS even more. it's fast, easy, and fun. most of the apps you could download from the iOS app store can be available in the playstore, and so on. The gestures are simple to learn as well. After playing around with my friends iPhone 7+, I've decided to stick with the smaller iPhones. I do not like big iPhones! lol.