So I'm sitting here, agonizing over the "Buy Now" button on Target for an iPad mini. See, the store has the base model of the little Apple tablet that could on sale for $199, a solid $100 off its normal $299 price tag.
My trusty first-generation Nexus 7 Android tablet is getting long in the tooth, with a non-functioning headphone jack and a screen whose comparatively low resolution looks positive primitive next to this generation of displays.
Now I'm presented with a choice. Do I try to recapture the good run I've had with my Nexus 7 by upgrading to the new model of the same? Or do I abandon Android altogether and follow my destiny as one of those Apple People, throwing an iPad mini into my bag next to my MacBook Pro in the morning and charging it next to my iPhone 5 at night?
There are three main reasons I'm ready to get the heck out of the Android ecosystem:
The apps are worse
Take just about any app that's on both Android and iOS and the iOS version is almost always prettier and more stable. I know my nerd card is showing, but the comics reading app Marvel Digital Unlimited -- basically a Netflix for Marvel Comics, and an app I use practically every day -- crashes randomly and consistently on my Nexus 7. On my iPhone, it just works. On my Nexus 7, tiny little niggling UI bugs hamper my reading experience by opening books I didn't mean to read when I'm just scrolling through my library, but on the iPhone, it's smooth as silk. This is anecdotal, but completely consistent with my experience using apps on both platforms.
There's no such thing as an Android Genius Bar
The last time my iPhone broke -- some kind of hardware failure kept it from charging properly -- I brought it to the Genius Bar. They tested it, looked up my warranty, and handed me a new one. I was in and out within twenty minutes. When my Nexus 7's sound card burnt out, I had to shrug and accept my new, soundless fate. Am I too reliant on the beneficence of Apple? Maybe. But as a hard-traveling, hard-knocks reporter, I ask a lot from my gadgets, and having that safety net is very, very nice. And no, I'm not comfortable fiddling with the Nexus 7's innards.
It requires too much loving care
An Android device is way more like a full-blown computer than I was initially ready for: The fine control over apps, services, and permissions is really nice. But by the same token, granularly managing my storage, RAM, sync permissions, widgets, and so forth and so on gets really old for me really fast -- especially when the inevitable incompatibilities and app conflicts come into play. I understand that some power users love to customize their Android device to their exact specifications, but I just like to power up and go.
My Nexus 7 has plenty of benefits, too. I do really enjoy the fact that Google's more hands-off approach to the Android platform means that apps can iterate faster and include more experimental features on my Nexus 7 before they get to the iPhone. As a reporter, it's nice to have a device to test Android apps and keep abreast of the latest platform developments. Plus, Android sometimes gets apps that are just crazy useful that Apple would never allow, like SwiftKey.
Except -- oops -- it looks like the Target near CITEworld headquarters in San Francisco sold out of the model I wanted while I was writing this. The angst continues for another day.