Happy New Year!

Howdy folks! It’s your friendly neighborhood Platform Agnostic Technologist here wishing you the happiest of new years!

To kick-start the new year I have switched to a Google Pixel phone and started over with an entirely new Google account. 

I didn’t want to instantly upload all of my files and photos because there’s a lot of clean up that needs to be done and if I don’t take this opportunity now, then I know I’ll get lazy and never take the time to do it properly. The only thing I have imported, though, is my music collection from iTunes into Google Play Music. 

The switch to Android did make me nervous I must admit. My entire family and nearly all of my friends use iOS, so I would miss out on the ease of sharing photos via iCloud Photo Sharing, simple messaging via iMessage, an email account I have used since the days of .Mac, the integrations between iOS, watchOS, and macOS as well as just the plain and simple fact of learning something new. 

I have dabbled with Android in the past when I had borrowed a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 running Android KitKat and then my ISP sent me a Samsung Galaxy Tab running Android Lollipop just for being a loyal customer. I still use the Tab here and there, but neither of them felt compelling enough for me to switch to Android full time. 

What appealed to me about the Pixel was that like the Nexus devices of years past it would be running pure Android and it would be the first Android device to be running version 7.1 of the new OS codenamed Nougat. However, unlike the Nexus devices the Pixel was designed from the ground up by Google. HTC is the manufacturer, but there is not a single hint of HTC on the device itself or when you compare it to other HTC phones out there. 

Another cool thing is that I was eligible for a free Daydream View VR headset! I’ve played around with it quite a bit and I have to say I absolutely love it!! More on this another time. 

The main reason for the switch was to finally break free of my iShackles. Now, I don’t want this to sound like I’m bashing Apple and that I am 100% against them because that is not the case. The problem I’ve always had when trying to live a plagtech lifestyle is that I’ve always ended up right back where I started, so this time I need to make a big change. 

When you look at the history of this blog most of the changes I have made were related to applications that I used and if I did switch between Operating Systems it was at the desktop level, but historically I have always stuck to the same mobile OS. This is where I think I have failed to commit to any of the other changes, which is why this time I decided to switch up the phone I am using and see where this takes me. 

One major benefit of Android over iOS that I like already is being able to use VLC player. We have a number of movies on DVD that we purchased legally and rightfully own that I ripped into digital format. I’ve always had to rely on VLC on my laptop to play them because VLC player was short lived on iOS. Well on Android this is not a problem because VLC player works perfectly fine and seeing as my Pixel has 128GB’s of storage I have more than enough room to store the movies, especially the ones that keep my son happy 🙂

The other benefits to switching to a Pixel is that I get the benefit of pure Android without having to change carrier, updates come directly from Google, the monthly installments are 60% cheaper than what the iPhone 7 would have cost me, and I get unlimited storage on Google Photos for full res pictures and 4k videos.  

One of the other reasons/benefits of making the transition to Android in general is that in the next 2-3 years when it’s time to get a new phone I have the freedom to explore multiple manufacturers. One thing I am already envisioning is that I could buy a phone from WileyFox outright as well as unlocked to use in other countries versus paying my current carrier an arm and a leg in international roaming and data fees. As everything is tied to my Google account I am not restricted to one type of phone anymore. The same goes for Android Wear too, but I’ll hold off on mentioning wearables until Android Wear 2.0 is released. 

Lastly, before I wrap up this wouldn’t be a true plagtech post if I didn’t end with a list of the apps I currently use, so here goes:

  • Email = Gmail
  • Calendar = Google Calendar
  • Browser = Google Chrome
  • Photos = Google Photos
  • Music = Google Play Music
  • Movies = VLC, Netflix & Netflix VR
  • Messaging = Messenger (native Android app), Facebook Messenger & Slack
  • Notes = OneNote
  • Health = Strava, Garmin Connect, MyFitnessPal & Google Fit

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