Android Attraction

Smart Switch

Last Summer, when I ditched my iPad and switched to Chromebook, I started thinking about doing the same with my phone – iPhone to Android. Naturally! It just makes sense to go all-in with the Google stuff. But I hesitated, finding it a bit concerning to fix something that isn’t broken. My iPhone 7, despite its age, is working great. I’m comfortable with the quality and reliability; also, there are a few key apps/features that I would miss.

A few months later, I found myself re-visiting the idea of switching phones. The iPhone has a lot going for it, but my mind has changed. I’ve decided to move over to Android! So what’s the big deal?


Android Attributes

As I mentioned, one of the big draws to an Android phone is that all the Google apps I use daily would be the default apps! Click a link: Chrome would open instead of Safari. Heck, I could have Firefox open if I wanted instead! Sharing via mail: Gmail would open instead of Apple Mail. And best of all: Google Assistant would default instead of Siri. You get the idea. Overall, Android’s flexibility (and openness) is more efficient than iPhone.

Also very attractive is Android’s customizability. Get bored with the way your phone looks? You can totally change it up…but not on iPhone. Want to see the nice photo you set as wallpaper? No probs! Just move your app icons anywhere you wanna! Heck, you can have zero apps on the screen too and just dive into the App Drawer where all your apps reside. Nice!

I know these features first-hand because I used Android for several years. I’ve already switched back and forth between iPhone and Android. So another reason I’m wanting to switch back now is because of the novelty of it. I’m ready for something new.

Now, onto one of the grandest Android features of all! Affordability. Even though $1,000 Android phones exist, you can also get a great Android phone on a budget. But are they worth it? Yes! I love how there are a number of phones competing in the market at the entry-level and also at the mid-range phone level. You can say that mid-range Android phones today are the affordable versions of the flagship-level phones of yesterday. Since smartphone tech has advanced so much now, you can get an Android phone without compromising or sacrificing all that much. And without emptying a bank vault.

Because there are truck-loads of Android phone makers producing multiple phone models for every budget, there’s another cool aspect of shopping for one instead of an iPhone: variety. Beyond the simple glass rectangle of a phone, in the Android space, you’ll find different sizes, colors, features, and benefits. While this abundance relates to a downside called “fragmentation”, which can be a mixed bag, I find it really nice to have so many phone options. In contrast, the only iPhone variety you have is: the new one or an old one. Or plain, plainer, and plainest. Or costly, more expensive, and exorbitantly priced. No thanks.

Finally, I recently found a bonus feature of Android phones. It’s called the Google Family Link app. So let’s call this feature, Family. This app from Google allows a parent to easily control multiple aspects of their kid’s phone. Yes, Apple has something similar, which I currently use. But the Google Family Link app appears to offer better or more granular control than Apple’s set-up. The fact that I can also keep tabs on my kid’s Chromebook activity in addition to their phone habits is salsa on the chips!


Hello…Moto

There are other areas to consider about Android versus iPhone. One of the biggest and trendiest these days is the two-punch combo of Privacy/Security. In some ways, I still think Apple and iPhone are best-in-class for this. But Google and Android are also great; I consider them trustworthy enough.

So now I’m saving up my pennies and dollars to make my next smartphone purchase a shiny new Android. I’ve set my sights on the reduced-price Moto G7 to replace my iPhone 7. The cool extra benefit to this will be the similarity and affordability of also replacing my kids’ iPhone 6 with the Moto G7 Play. If it all works out, I may blog about it in the not-too-distant future.

Speaking of the future, here’s another good example of Android variety. Microsoft has announced they plan to release a two-screen Android phone called the Duo. It looks so cool! Will it be practical? Time will tell.

(For the record, I once was the proud owner of the Moto Q feature phone. And in my former Android days, I used the Moto X followed by the Moto G4. No, I never owned the flip phone Moto Razr…but have you seen the new flip-smartphone version?)


What smartphone do you prefer? Have you lived with both iPhone and Android before? Write below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Sound Of Hearing Tech

Listen Up

It happens to be Deaf Awareness Month, (or week…) and I stumbled upon a tweet from @Android that made my eyes open wide; then my ears got tickled. Why? Because of the news that Android smartphones now work with hearing devices in a new improved way. And it sounds promising!


Now Hear This

Hear’s Here’s the news: Android partnered with Cochlear and ReSound GN for the use of hearing devices with Android 10. As a result of this “unique collaboration,” for the first time, Android can stream audio directly to hearing devices using Bluetooth Low Energy. For a guy who is into technology and suffers from tinnitus, this is music to my ringing ears.

You can read the announcements in this tweet and in this tweet. It’s also listed on the new Android 10 web page under Accessibility. And there’s a YouTube video announcement as well with a good article on Cochlear’s website. Here’s a few snippets:

“The new technology is based on a recent hearing aid specification, Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels, which Google has developed in collaboration with GN Hearing and Cochlear. This new direct streaming technology from compatible* Android devices allows people to use their hearing devices like a headset to enjoy music, take calls and much more, while using a protocol designed to maximise battery life.”

Something to point out is that, as of now, this new feature works in Android 10 only on Google Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, and 3a XL phones. But it should be coming to more Android 10 phones in the near future. Also, only certain hearing aids are compatible. While this sounds limited, it’s a good start! The underlying open source specification is key to future development:

“The streaming specification is open source, which allows other manufacturers of hearing aids and Android devices to offer direct audio streaming in the near future.”

This is great news for anyone with hearing loss. In conjunction with my tinnitus, I have a mild to moderate partial loss of hearing. Thankfully, I’m not yet to the point of wanting hearing aids. But it’s something I think about for the future.

Hearing Hope

My present interest is more about how the latest technologies might be able to produce noise-cancellation for the internal sounds of tinnitus. This is similar to how white-noise sound generators mask the tinnitus, rendering it’s steady ringing innocuous – and avoiding induced anxiety. I wrote about this earlier in the year: Tinnitus And Technology. The hope is that I, and many others, can once again hear the relaxing sound of silence.

Amplifying Audio

There’s more good news too! While looking into Android 10’s newest features, I found more progress besides hearing aid support.

Android now has a stand-alone Sound Amplifier App that lets you “see” the sound around you. Listen to how this works: the app enhances sounds you want to hear while filtering out background noise. It uses the microphones in your Android device to “hear” all the ambient noise in your environment and, through regular headphones (not costly hearing aids), amplify the sounds you need.

Even if you don’t suffer from any type of hearing loss, you can appreciate the benefit of the Sound Amplifier app. If you have ever used noise-cancelling headphones to enjoy music without the whine of a jet engine during flight, then you have a good idea of how the Sound Amplifier can help. It sounds awesome!


Future Sounds Good

Given the current state-of-the-art in hearing tech and the ongoing growth in this field, the future looks sounds clear. In time, the tech tools we use everyday could help render hearing loss obsolete.

For more information on ReSound hearing technology for Android devices, click here, here, and here.


Does this news sound good to you or someone you know? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for your time!