Rajcomputers: Switching from iPhone to Android

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Switching from iPhone to Android

Are you an iPhone user, ready to take the plunge into Android, but don’t know where to begin? Well, folks, put your minds at ease… we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at some steps that you will want to know during your transition.

First suggestion: if you’re not using Gmail as your default email client… start. This, of course, doesn’t go for things like Exchange, but your webmail client should be Gmail. Android phones, by default, require you to either sign in with a Gmail address or set one up on the spot during the initial phone setup. So, as long as you’re using their email services, you may as well be familiar with it and plan on utilizing all the dynamic features it offers. The Android OS is made by Google, so it should come as no surprise that they want you to use their email client. Remember, though, your Gmail account will also be synced with other Google services, such as contacts and calendars.
This tutorial will assume a couple of things:
  • You have iTunes installed and synced with your iPhone
  • You’re using the computer you sync your iPhone with
  • The computer you are using is running Windows XP SP3, Vista or 7
  • You have your Android phone with a MicroSD card and know how to access the files on it
If these parameters are met, then let’s get started.

We’ll begin by syncing your iPhone contacts over to Gmail. First off, it will be good for you to know that only the following information will move over:
  • People’s names and job titles
  • Company names
  • Email and postal addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • IM names, including the type of service
  • Notes
That being said, the instructions are quite simple. According to Google:
  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your computer using the USB cable.
  2. Open the iTunes application.
  3. Select your iPhone and click the Info tab.
  4. Check the Sync Contacts with option and select Google Contacts from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Configure and enter your Google username and password.
  6. iTunes Contact Migration
This will move all of your iPhone contacts over to your Google account, which will be synced to your new Android device during it’s initial setup.

This is where it gets a little tricky, and also begins to cost a little bit of money. Since Apple isn’t big on allowing access to the file structure of the iPhone, we’re going to have to rely on some third-party software. First off, download this software (free) and install it onto your PC. Then, click here to open up iTunes and download SMS Export to your iPhone ($4.99) and get it rolling. Make sure to export it in text format.

Once you have the exported text file and your new Android device in hand (already setup), move the file onto the root of the MicroSD card. Now you’ll need to download an app from the Android Market, called “SMS Migrator”. it costs about $2.20. Make sure that USB Storage is turned off on the phone (this option will be in the slide down menu from the top of your screen when the phone is plugged into your PC), run SMS Migrator and choose the text file you put on the MicroSD, and let the app do the rest.

You may have heard it around the rumor mill that Android and Exchange don’t get along. While Android may not handle Exchange as well as the iPhone does, it still does a good job. This step is as simple as opening up your email app on your Android phone and setting up your Exchange account. This will sync up your Exchange email, but not your calendar. In order to get that running, you’ll need to sync up your Exchange calendar with your Google calendar. Unless you’re running HTC Sense, which integrates your Exchange calendar into the phone’s calendar, you’ll need to install some software on the computer that has your outlook client connected to Exchange. Instructions can be found here(free) or here ($14.99, more features), and make sure you utilize the 2-way sync option.

Because things like photos, music, movies, etc are all stored locally, they’re quite simple to move over to your new device. It’s as simple as locating them on your computer and moving them over to your Android phone’s MicroSD.

Things To Get Used To

Remember, guys… these types of transition have a learning curve associated. It took me about a week to get used to the fact that my homescreen was more than just shortcuts to apps, and that all that stuff was in the pull up menu. It took me awhile to find widgets I liked and would use to put onto my homescreens. It took me a long time to get used to the slide down notifications menu at the top. The interface is way different, but in my opinion, more intuitive.

Buttons. Oh lord, did I ever have to get used to buttons. The iPhone has two buttons, one of which you only really ever use for lock and power. My Hero has 6, plus a trackball with a clicker. This also took me a long time to get used to, and I honestly never thought I would use them… but I do now, all the time. Your first instinct, when finished with something, will be to hit that all powerful home button… it’s a habit you’ll have to break. And remember, with Android, apps run in the background, so even when you press the home button, that app you were just in is more than likely still running in the background, taking up memory. You should also look into a task killer, so that you can fully close apps that you know are safe.

Another large difference is manually handling your music. It’s really just as simple as moving all of the music you want on your Android device over to a folder on your MicroSD card, and whatever music app (yes, you have choices!) you have will likely just search through your card and display the metadata (Artist, album, song name, etc.), so there’s usually not a need to rename that music you may or may not have gotten from a legitimate source.

Of course, if you would like auto-sync features for your music, pictures and movies, give doubleTwist a try. For those of you coming from the iPhone, the interface will look very familiar. It looks and functions a lot like iTunes.
Also, all your “app” purchases will now be handled through the Android Market. It comes preinstalled, and is basically the App Store for Android. The checkout process is a little different, in so much as it uses Google’s checkout service instead of iTunes account integration.

I hope these guidelines will help any of you heading from Apple’s platform to Google’s, and make sure that you read this article over carefully before venturing into the world of mobile data migration. Take some time, get to know your phone. Read the manual, check out the settings in the menu, become familiar with what you’re jumping into. While it can seem overwhelming at first, just keep in mind that, like most other things, it’s not as hard as you think it is once you dive in.

New features from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2 Froyo

With all the hoopla lately about Android 2.2 (aka Froyo, which means frozen yogurt by the way) I figured I would write a brief rundown of some of the new features you can expect from the latest and greatest version of the Android OS.

Home screen 
A new tips widget will grace your homescreen. This widget will assist new users on how to configure the home screen, adding shortcuts, adding widgets and how to use multiple home screens.
Another new home screen feature, as you can see, are dedicated buttons for the Phone, Launcher and the Browser.

Exchange Support
No doubt, one of Android’s most lacking features is exchange support. Well that will be changing with Android 2.2. Froyo’s new and improved Exchange support will include the following features:
  • Improved security – Exchange admins can enforce a password policy across devices with support for numeric or alpha numeric passwords to unlock a device
  • Remote wipe – Exchange admins can remotely wipe the phone to factory defaults if the device was lost or stolen
  • Exchange calendars – Will be supported in the Calendar application
  • Auto-discovery – With just your username and password, you will easily be able to set up and sync an Exchange account (requires Exchange 2007+)
  • Global address look-up – Will now be available from within the Email application allowing users to auto-complete recipient names from the directory

Camera and Gallery

A new and improved Gallery will allow you to peek into picture stacks using a zoom gesture.

The camera now will have on-screen buttons that will provide easy access via a new user interface for controlling the zoom, flash, white balance, focus, geo-tagging and exposure.

In addition, the camcorder now allows you to easily choose the size and quality desired for your video to make uploading to the web or sending video by MMS easier and more efficient. Shooting video at night or low-light conditions will be better now as well as the LED flash will become a light source when shooting video.
Make your phone a mobile hotspot

Apparently, not all devices will support this feature, but phones like the Nexus One will. When configured as a hotspot, your Froyo device share it’s connectivity with up to 8 other devices. Also, you can use the 3G connection on your phone (via a USB connection) to provide access to the internet on your Windows or Linux laptop. (Yes you can get apps for this on Android 2.1, but it will now be supported natively)
Multiple keyboard languages

Users that speak multiple languages will love this feature. You can now add multiple languages to the keyboard and effortlessly switch between Latin-based input languages by swiping across the space bar. Not only does this effect the keys but it effects the auto-correct dictionary as well.
Improved Performance

Performance increases are coming from all over with the Android 2.2 update, here’s the highlights:
  • Browser – By enabling faster loading of JavaScript, the V8 engine will boost the speed of the browser
  • Dalvik performance boost – in CPU-intensive duties, an increase of 2x to 5x can be seen
  • Kernel memory management boost – Memory reclamation by up to 20x. Applications will switch faster on devices with less memory

Adobe Flash 10.1
Flash game addicts rejoice! Adobe just recently released Flash 10.1 for devices running Android 2.2 (there are some beta builds of the OS out there). So not only will you now be able to play flash games on your Android 2.2 device, but any type of interactive content will now work flawlessly on your device.

There is one downside to this though, you will now see those annoying flash ads when browsing the web. But in this writers opinion, it’s a small price to pay for the many other benefits of flash.

Misc Improvements

  • Share contacts with other phones
  • Voice dialing
  • Support for BT enabled car & desk docks
  • Improved compatibility with car kits & headsets
2.6.32 kernel upgrade
  • HIGHMEM support for RAM > 256MB
  • SDIO scheduling and Bluetooth improvements
  • App Error Reports – A new bug reporting feature enables developers to receive crash and freeze reports from users of their Android Market apps
  • Apps can be installed on external storage (microSD card for example)
  • Apps can participate in data back up and restore, allowing users to reset their device to factory defaults and not lose any personal data
Cloud to Device messaging – Android apps can use the Android Cloud to Device messaging to allow mobile alert, send to phone and 2-way push sync abilites
  • Video FPS doubled from 10 to 20
  • Camera now supports portrait orientation, zoom controls, exposure data and a thumbnail utility
  • Camcorder also allows apps to determine hardware capabilities
User Interface – Users are now able to select “car mode” and “night mode” controls to configure their UI however they like.
Looks pretty good doesn’t it? No official word has been said on when the Android 2.2 update will be pushed out over the air, but the word around the web speculates it to be within a month. So cross your fingers and keep checking back with TalkAndroid as we’ll be sure to make a lot of noise when the official update gets rolled out.

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