iPhone to Android Part Three – Cost of Switching

After owning an iPhone switching to an Android can be costly. I’m not talking about the initial outlay to buy the phone or even the cost of the monthly bill from my wireless carrier. Instead, there are costs like apps to replace those used on an iPhone and all those accessories. This can be the hidden cost and you need to count the cost before making the jump.

Android eats and AppleFlickr bejadin.info

Apps

The good news is Android apps are often cheaper than iPhone apps. The bad news is that there is a perception that Android apps make developers less money than iPhone apps. As a result, there may not be as many iOS equivalents for all of your apps. That seems to be changing.

The cost of replacing your iPhone apps with suitable Android counterparts will vary depending on your usage. I use my iphone for the following purposes:

  • Bible reading and occasional study
  • Taking pictures and video
  • Social networking (Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Email)
  • Note taking
  • Personal Information Management
  • Listening to music, podcasts and audio books
  • GPS/turn-by-turn directions
  • Light web surfing
  • Accessing files on my PC
  • Playing games
  • Remote control of my PC and my Roku box – wish I could with my Apple TV

Of the above uses, the vast majority have suitable Android counterparts. In fact, for reading my Bible one of my favorite iOS Bible apps has a free Android version. It is a generation behind the iOS version because the developer works on iOS and then the features filter down to Android. My two other favorite Bible apps are in development and won’t be ready for a little while. At least they are coming and the Android versions are free. All the books I bought for use in the iPhone versions come over to Android without any extra cost.

My new Android phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, has a great camera. I have a few photography apps that I use in conjunction with the iPhone camera, like Photosync, which doesn’t have an Android version. Fortunately, you can sync with an online site from within the Accounts & Sync menu in Settings (access from the menu button at the bottom of the phone). Some phones will sync with Picasa through your Google account, like the Samsung Fascinate. My HTC Thunderbolt has Flickr built-in, which I really prefer. If your favorite photo hosting site is not built-in there is almost certainly a free app in the market. Sharing photos should not add any cost to the switch, unless you want a specialized app. SugarSync is another good option for syncing to the cloud without sharing.

Most other apps will have equivalents. Just list all the apps you use and search the Android Market online before buying the new phone. Do the math and see if it is an acceptable cost. A way to get some free apps that are normally paid is to install the Amazon App Store and get their daily free app.

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Android's GPS Navigation App

Android's GPS Navigation App

GPS navigation software is expensive, some of the most expensive in the iOS App Store. Android has navigation built into the system, and in my short testing, it is every bit as good as my favorite iPhone app Navigon. I love that it shows you a picture of the destination if it has one in the Google maps database (see above).

The only reason GPS navigation software will be an expense is if the built-in navigation software in Android is not sufficient. One reason might be that you don’t have unlimited data on your phone account or you live/drive in areas where data is not easy to get. In that case you will need a GPS navigation app for Android that has offline maps. As an example the Navigon app for Android is $40.

Cases

For those who carry their phones au naturale, this is a non-issue. I am one of those brave souls who doesn’t mind throwing caution to the wind. The good news for those who are smarter than I am, a decent case is not too expensive, unless you just really want a special case. A few of our favorites include:

Otterbox Case for HTC Thunderbolt

Otterbox Case for HTC Thunderbolt

  • Otterbox – rugged cases usually around $35-$50.
  • Seidio – usually $30 and up.
  • Waterfield Designs – homemade style sleeve case starting at $10 or $14 with a pocket.

Just do a search and you will find dozens of cases for your phone. You may not find very many at the local office or electronics store. They usually only have generic pouch cases and a few custom cases unless you new Android is one of the most popular phones. Don’t settle for a loose-fitting case. Be patient and order online for a form-fitting case designed specifically for your phone.

Bluetooth

If you like to use a Bluetooth headset or car speaker phone, chances are very good that it will work with your new Android phone too. Mine does. We have reviewed of a few here and we recommend the following based on our reviews:

  • Scosche MotorMouth II – adds speakerphone and audio streaming via car’s auxiliary jack.
  • Griffin Bluetrip – great if all you want is streaming audio to your stereo via the auxiliary jack, but not so good for speakerphone.
  • Plantronics Voyager Pro UC 2 – our editor Josh Smith called it the best Bluetooth headset.
  • Bose Bluetooth Headset – it’s expensive but our review said that was not a problem since this headset is so good.

Sound Accessories

This is the worst category since most iPhone sound accessories will use a 30-pin Apple dock connector. When I was an iPhone guy I didn’t mind that most of these use this proprietary connector. Now that I’ve got an Android phone I hate it.

iHome has an auxiliary Jack on back

iHome has an auxiliary Jack on back

The good news is many of these accessories will also have an auxiliary or line in jack. I reviewed a great iHome battery operated speaker system for our sister site Notebooks.com. I love this thing and use it all the time. Fortunately it has a line in jack on the back so I can still use it with my HTC Thunderbolt. However, it will not charge the device like the speaker system does with an iPhone.

Because Apple licenses the use of their proprietary dock, manufacturers who would probably love to make adapters so we could plug a micro-USB cable into the dock cannot. This would help people use such devices with non-Apple products, something Jobs and crew don’t want. If you know of such a solution, please let us know so we can test it out and let the masses know.

This category is way too big for us to talk about every accessory you might have and the cost of switching. Just look for something like the iPhone audio accessories that you are using. If they just use a stereo jack, they will almost certainly work with your new Android phone. If they have dock connectors and no AUX jacks, then you will have to replace them or do without.

UPDATE: One of our commenters below offered an accessory solution for connection iPhone dock connector devices to Android. We ordered one and will be testing it out and let you know how it goes. That adds $20 to my cost of switching.

Total Cost of My Switch to Android

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So far I’ve replaced about $10 worth of apps and that is the only cost I’ve incurred other than the cost of the phone itself. I don’t use a case, but if I did that would add probably $30-$50 more depending on the case. I’m using all my old sound accessories and my Bluetooth device that I used with my iPhone. And I like the GPS app in Android just fine. Do the math and let us know what it would or has cost you to make the switch. We don’t think the added expense so far have been enough to keep someone from making the switch unless  you are really strapped for cash, in which case it is likely wise to stay put until you can afford it.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Congratulations on Your switch to Android, I have a Evo, The good news about owning a Android device is you will have a greater appreciation for your IPhone when you switch back, Comparably Android OS sucks when compared to IOS and the Battery life on a Android device makes using this Evo worthless.

    • Kindredsouls says

      Typical hater. Using rhetoric and giving no actual comparisons as to why one product is superior to another. as to why one product is superior to another.

    • Xenocatz says

       Fan Boy!! I have an EVO, after having had an IPhone, and there are so many reasons why Android is winning, including voice to text, home screens & widgets with live data feeds & all of the Google apps that have features not available to IPhone. Apple is playing catch-up, and they need major changes in order to compete.

    • Anonymous says

       the battery life sucks because YOU have full control of a android phone… if you have bad apps running in the backround… thats a issue YOU have full control of…If you like the closed iOS system, more power to you, everyone has their own likes/dislikes… just don’t shoot off your mouth without knowing…troll fed yet?

  2. Surya says

    I switched from iPhone to Android and bought a cable from cable jive to use with iPhone docks. It works pretty well - http://www.cablejive.com/products/Dock-Input-Cable.html

  3. Martin Hill says

    Kevin, why is this post titled “Android to iPhone” when it is clearly about switching from iPhone to Android?You might want to add a few more costs incurred with switching in that direction:

    Games
    Apple’s iOS boasts well over 300 top tier games from the big games publishing houses ID, EA, Gameloft, Ngmoco, Popcap, and Pangea while Android scrapes together less than a tenth that number from those publishers.

    Because iOS developers make 1,000% more income annually than Android developers (and the difference between them is growing at 11x the rate), high quality software will always be available for iOS first (and many times only) for the foreseeable future.

    Hardware Peripherals
    Because all iOS devices share a standard dock connector and a similar range of form factors, the specialised iOS 3rd party peripheral market is enormous compared to Android.  Everything from oscilloscope interfaces, insulin pumps, gps amplifier docks and millions of dock equipped audio systems and home automation systems crowd shop shelves. 

    Because there is no standard dock connector for Android and an enormous number of sizes, shapes and form factors and far smaller sales of any individual Android device, manufacturers have no incentive or economies of scale to create peripherals for Android.Car IntegrationOver 70% of new cars feature iPod/iPhone dock interfaces and steering wheel integration allowing you to charge and interface your iOS device with the built-in buttons on the steering wheel etc. Android?  No such luck.

    Media
    All those billions of dollars of music, video, movies as well as apps that iOS users purchase each year will go up in smoke.  At least music is not DRMed these days, but TV shows, music videos and movies are.

    Malware 
    With well north of 100 malicious apps ranging from bank phishing trojans to botnets etc have been accepted and hosted for long enough in the Android Marketplace for millions of Android users to innocently download them and be compromised.  Add CPU and RAM sucking anti-virus software to your Android shopping list and never let down your guard cause the next Android app you download could empty your bank account as quickly as 123.  
    Apple’s iOS App Store in contrast has had not one incident of malicious software get through Apple’s app review process. 

    Spam
    Some 45% of apps in the Android Marketplace are spamware so be prepared to do a lot of wading through muck to find the gems in the Marketplace.

    -Mart

    • David M.D. says

      While your response is valid and correct…the main thing about this is that these points, save malware, are nice or moot points.

      Games…while there are more games, he’s not switching because he wants a gaming device. That’s like giving reasons why switching to a Mac is a good move, but then saying “well, I know you’re switching for performance and productivity…but hey, game selection is far worse on a Mac. So yeah.”

      Hardware peripherals…as long as there is a headphone jack or microUSB port…there are accessories. The rest of what you stated has been addressed at Google I/O (home automation and Android Open Accessory platform with Arduino).

      Car integration…a niche market. That cost a premium, and most people aren’t going to pay an extra hundred just to have steering wheel integration for their phone when voice control can work just as fine and many people still just dangerously flitter between the street and phone usage.

      Media…well, if they’re switching from iPhone to Android…they’ll still have their iPhone,. So they’ll have an iPod. That problem is solved right away.

      Malware…while it is present on Android, your facts are mistaken when you say iOS has never had it get thru the review process. Just Google “Malware on iOS” and you’ll find it. It’s on every platform. The point is being smart enough to avoid it. That’s one “point” that iOS has I guess. Apple destroys that point by telling you what you can download. But it can still get through.

      Spam…this point is just pure bullshit. Nicest way to say it. App Store isn’t filled with “gems” either. The fart app excuse still rings true. As the stores grow, so do the pointless apps. 

      By your points, it doesn’t seem like you’ve actually had experience, fully, with an Android device. Seems you’re going by what people post and say. 

      So with your closing, I echo it with a change…Android is a great alternative for anyone who considers it an alternative. That’s the point of it being an alternative…

      • Martin Hill says

        David,You have very low expectations of your mobile experience it seems.

        Games
        The author *does* write that he uses his phone for “playing games”.
        Now if someone is buying a PC and includes “playing games” as one of their needs, I would indeed warn them that there are far fewer games available for the Mac.  However, in the case of the Mac Bootcamp allows users to run Windows games natively so it is not so much a problem.
        However, Android is not able to run iOS games.  

        Any comparison would be delinquent if it did not state the fact that you will not be able to play any of ID’s fantastic 3D games on an Android phone or the amazing infinity Blade or the hundreds of other top tier games.  

        Hardware Peripherals
        Most people do in fact appreciate the convenience and elegance of being able to drop their phone into a dock on built-into their clock radio or Hifi or car dock or Home Automation system etc and not have to worry about plugging in multiple cables for charging, audio, video, remote control etc.  And built-in docks have the advantage of holding the device at the perfect height and angle with minimal table space wasted.

        The billion-dollar iPhone/iPod/iPad peripheral industry also demonstrates that millions of users love being able to choose from thousands of cases, adapters and other peripherals.  Bad luck if you want a weatherproof and shock proof bicycle or motorbike handlebar mount for your droid or an underwater case or a portable slide-in multi-channel audio recorder dock or a DJ mixing desk etc etc.  It ain’t goner happen for the hundreds of Android models out there.

        Car integration 
        I’m sorry but iPod integration as standard is far more common that you make out and again means your phone is charged, audio interfaced and remote controlled with one cable or dock.  I stopped using my old Windows Mobile dashboard docks I used to have in my car as having to plug and unplug several cables every time I got in and out of the car grew old way too quickly.  With GPS and music as well as hands-free calling being a pre-requisite in cars these days,  you need a solid dock mount with charging and the variations in Android phones gets old real quick.

        Media
        Are you seriously suggestions users carry their old iPhone around as well as their new droid to play their media when mobile?

        Malware
        You are sadly deluded if you think there are any trojans, phishing apps, botnets, premium SMS texters, etc for iOS.   The only couple of instances of malicious iOS software out there only worked on jailbroken phones that hadn’t changed their default root login.  

        Spam
        Since you don’t believe me, here’s what Jon Lech Johanssen, the author of DoubleTwist the most popular iTunes replacement on Android has to say on this subject:”Google does far too little curation of the Android Market, and it shows. Unlike Apple’s App Store, the Android Market has few high quality apps…. are just a few examples of what’s wrong with the Android Market. Those 144 spam ringtone apps (which are clearly infringing copyright) are currently cluttering the top ranks of the Multimedia category… Developers and users are getting fed up and it’s time for Google to clean up the house.”I am actually very glad that Android is available as an option and is giving iOS some needed competition.  However, it is important that those considering choosing that platform are aware of the negatives as well as the positives.  Hence the list above.-Mart

        • David M.D. says

          Your points are still moot. He didn’t say it was a dedicated gaming machine,
          so the games is still niche. Even then, he didn’t say “iOS games” he said
          games. Which are on Android. Are there better ones on IOS, of course. Nobody
          can argue that. But is the choice on Android so low that nobody would be
          able to enjoy it? No.

          Peripherals, you still missed the point. Nowhere did I say nobody wanted
          them. But you make it seem as if there are absolutely none for Android and
          other phones. Once again. Is the selection better with iOS? Yes. Is the
          selection for other phones nonexistent? No. You’re implying they’d be hard
          pressed to find a headphone jack. :-/ Not to mention the point that I stated
          the accessories problem is being dealt with with many a manufacturers
          jumping on board. You forget iPod didn’t have this level of peripherals in
          the first few years, so why do you expect Android to. Lets use fairness in
          evaluation and not just favoritism.

          Car integration, all I say is Toyota is the best selling car in America.
          Most Toyota’s on the road are old models. I’m willing to put money on it
          that thats true for many a car manufacturers. And even more money that the
          majority of drivers do not have said integration within their car. But the
          point is still moot with the advent of voice control making its presence
          known in many phones, including iPhone, and having hands free control. So
          yeah.

          Media…you must be living under a rock. IPod is the most important mp3
          player in the world. Do you think people aren’t already walking around with
          one and a smartphone even? Hell, I’ve seen many people have an iPod and
          iPhone at the same time. So again…moot. just because you don’t find it
          logical, doesn’t mean its not being done.

          Malware. You say only jailbreak phones can get them hmm? Read this:

          http://m.cnet.com/Article.rbml?nid=10446402&cid=null&bcid=&bid=-245

          Its been done. Its able to be done. Whether thru sideloaded apps, App Store
          apps, it thru the Safari browser. Read up and realize just because its Apple
          doesn’t mean its not susceptible.

          As far as spam…still stick with first comment. App Store has spam too.
          Every market does. If they didn’t…you wouldn’t have apps sitting on the
          wayside or apps being pulled.

          I mean, you use an HOW old quote to back up your claim? I say again…stop
          trying to make deductions based on what you hear. I use both Android and
          iOS…yes I’m one of those nonexistent people who has an iPod and a
          smartphone. Omg. And guess what, both have strengths and weaknesses. Get
          over it.

          Once again…Android is a viable replacement for anyone who wants it to be a
          replacement. Whether iOS or not.
          On May 16, 2011 11:01 AM, “Disqus”

        • Martin Hill says

          David,
          Games are the most popular category of apps representing around 30% of the 1 billion+ apps downloaded from the iOS App Store every month.  Nielsen reports that 61% of smartphone users play games daily.  Games are NOT a niche and your attempts to minimize this very real cost of switching to Android is disappointing.

          Peripherals will continue to be a real problem for Android as manufacturers have no incentive to target each individual model of Android phone with their massively variant form factors and port locations when they have 170 million iPhone and iPod touch devices out there all sharing similar form factors and the same dock location.  No Android model has sales approaching even a tiny fraction of Apple’s devices.  The iPhone alone has sold 100 million units with only small form factor differences between models.   The iPod touch has sold over 75 million.

          As an example, I just did a search for weather proof, shock proof bike handlebar mounts for any Android phone and the best I came up with in all the Android forums where users were pleading for something was a bag that you strap to the frame(!). So much for viewing and operating your phone’s GPS apps while you ride, something I personally do all the time.MediaI’m sorry but one of the main reasons to buy a smartphone is to have it do everything for you – media, apps, browsing etc.  Most people are not going to see carrying their old iPhone around as well as their Android phone as a viable solution for having access to their existing media.

          Malware.  
          You don’t seem to know the difference between vulnerabilities that promptly get patched versus actual exploits.  You also don’t seem to be aware that you can’t side-load or download apps from Safari.  That is all part of Apple’s secure architecture.

          As far as your link is concerned, one proof of concept hacking app that has never been near the App Store or end users and a couple of legitimate apps that collected a bit more personal info than they should have does not compare to what is now plaguing Android.

          There are not and have never been any phishing apps hosted from the iOS App Store, while the Android Marketplace has hosted 50 apps masquerading as mobile banking apps each targeting a different institution that were in fact phishing malware.  Just in the last month 54 apps infected with botnet malware infected a quarter of a million Android users before Google finally took them down from the Marketplace.
           
          Other examples include:
          - the Geinimi botnet app that is infecting numerous Android apps on Chinese app stores and spreading around the world.
          - Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, the Russian “Movie player” app that surreptitiously sent premium SMS texts from unsuspecting users
          - Mobile Spy and Mobile Stealth apps
          - SMS Message Spy Pro and SMS Message Spy Lite spyware apps
          - Brand new HTC Magic phones infected with the Mariposa botnet and Conficker and a Lineage password-stealing Trojan that attempt to infect Windows PCs when connected over USB.

          In contrast, despite hosting getting towards half a million apps and over 13 billion downloads, there have been Zero pieces of malicious software come through the iOS App Store. A 100% safety record. Not bad, and good reassurance for a public tired of virus-riddled PCs.The difference between spam on Android vs iOS is exactly like the difference between having 50% of your email clogged with spam compared to having a pro-active intelligent ISP spam filter getting it down close to zero for the end-user. What do you expect from a Marketplace that doesn’t check what gets posted?  This is not rocket science.

          -Mart

          • jameson says

            Martin, I think your argument is moot aswell.
            First off games… if you really like games I’m sure you have a gaming machine at home I have a few the only reason most ppl would play games on there phone is to kill time. That being said yes ios has great games but so does android. And with android you can download emulators for systems lime gamebay, supernes, new, PlayStation and many more allowing one to play thousands of games on their android that you cannot on ios. Also you have phones like Sony’s experia that are made for mobile gaming with a built in controller, iPhones will never have that.
            Media androids media options are just as good if not better that iPhone and iTunes.
            Peripherals, look at Motorolas accessories and let me know that they lake what iPhone has. Ill let you know right now that Motorola has their lapdock that turns your phone into a little laptop and many more accessories that iPhone users can only dream about having.
            As for malware and spam, that’s something that everyone has to deal with no matter what devises they use. So again I agree with Dr David. Android has one big advantage over iPhone and that’s Google’s open sores code, enabling anyone to make apps software and hardware for them. Oh yeah as to car hookup. Anycar that has an iPhone hookup built in will also have an auxiliary port and I know that more cars have an auxiliary port than a built in phone hookup. That being said and also mentioning Bluetooth enabled cars/aftermarket radios makes your car pout moot as well. Android phones are great, if someone is unhappy with their iPhone I’m sure they would love switching to android. And androids are just so much more fun to play with and customize. An android phone is like a mini computer, an iPhone is an iPod that makes calls.

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