Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Android or iOS?

Tandy's TRS-80
I consider myself a "geek" and lover of gadgets.  My very first computer experience was a TRS-80 from Tandy - go ahead and google it, I will wait.  Pretty odd looking device, no?  Very basic, too.  We actually had a primitive computer lab at my school in the early 80s, and by the mid-80s, it became a full-on computer lab with a few Apple II+.

Anyway, I haven't tinkered around computers as such for a while now.  I'm typing on a computer that I put together about 5 years ago, although I've upgraded the motherboard, CPU, and the graphics card in the interim.  Lately, I have enjoyed playing around with my phone, an android device I got last year.  The modern smartphone is a truly wondrous device, capable of so much more than those early computers - actually, they seem to be more powerful than even computers from a few years ago.  They have multitude of sensors, from GPS, to ambient light, to magnetometers, and so on.

However, I've never owned an Apple iPhone.  I have bought many Apple devices - I had a Powerbook, my wife still uses an older Macbook, although she prefers her new Samsung Windows 7 laptop, and I even have that old "lampshade" style iMac somewhere, although it is not used any longer. Although I like their industrial design, I guess I'm simply too much of a Windows user to really enjoy their interface; there is something about OS X that just feels limiting to me, but I'm sure there thousands of power-users out there who could show me all the ways OS X is superior.

This brings me to the current state of geekdom.  Just as in real life politics, there seems to be an increasing polarization of people's opinions, and an ever-increasing aggressiveness and just plain rudeness in people's expression of their opinion in their choice in computers or smart phones.  Just look at the comments section in Engadget or Gizmodo when the subject matter of android devices, Windows 8, or OS X comes up.  It is crazy how people feel such loyalty over tools that we use daily.  It seems that what you use validates your place in the world, and if people use something else, it somehow diminishes you.  At the end of the day, phones and computers are simply tools.  I think most everyone will agree that android phones or iOS phones will both accomplish similar tasks with roughly the same efficiency.  Same with computers.  What you choose is a matter of personal taste, and what others choose shouldn't affect you.

One thing that brought the level of discourse down to a more civilized level has been the recent passing of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.  I'm glad that we're having a breather on the topic, but I don't think this will last longer than a week or two.  One thing that the internet is great at doing is polarizing discussion.  I suppose the anonymity afforded by the internet does turn most of us into jerks.

As to the question on the title of the post?  My own preference is android, as I already stated.  Moreover, Google and Samsung have a great new phone about to be announced - although said unveiling has been postponed in honor of Jobs - as well as the next iteration of the android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich.  Nonetheless, regardless of which is your OS of choice, we have great things in the horizon.

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