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New to smartphones - is Android the way to go?
I'm kind of new to the whole smartphone thing, as I've been using Nokia symbian phones for the past decade and a half. Maybe you can help sort out the confusion.
I'm also an Apple Mac user for a number of years. So I was naturally looking at the Apple iPhone as a possible phone, since I already know the system and would feel right at home.
However, I also use a lot of Google products (Gmail, Maps, Google Docs, etc.) and I have a very good appreciation for that company. And I was offered a Google Nexus 7 tablet this Christmas and I just love it! It's fast and responsive, has a good battery, and I don't need an iPad mini that costs double the price of this tablet. So I wondered if I could also get more for less with an Android phone?
These will probably be stupid questions, but anyway:
1. I looked at a few Android phones yesterday at a mall, but they looked different from the Nexus 7 tablet I have. The sales guy told me that most manufacturers install their own software on top of Android, so they are all kind of different looking. Is this true? Is it possible (and easy) to unistall that software and just keep the Android system like I have on the Nexus 7?
2. I know Google has a phone, the Nexus 4, which I also consider. But they are difficult to come by in my country (Portugal), so I need to consider other brands in order to have quick service in my country, should the phone gets damaged. Brand is not important, as long as the phone is good. Most brands and models are available here (apart from the Nexus 4, which I can't seem to find anywhere in the usual shops here).
3. As I use a lot of Google services and will be buying a phone for the next four years or so, I want to have a newer/later model that can go through several updates, instead of yesterday's stuff. I don't want to get stuck after three or four updates only.
4. Don't want something with a very big screen size. Anything over the 4.3/4.7" range is out. I need something I can comfortably carry in my pocket and use with just one hand. I was shown a Samsung Note and I hated it. It looked more like a tablet than a phone to me and was not comfortable at all. This is one of the reasons the Apple iPhone looked good to me. I tried it yesterday and I could do mostly everything with just my thumb. Also, I don't care what type of screen it is. LED, Amoled, LCD, whatever... I'll assume the differences between them are minimal for someone that is not going to use the phone to watch movies or family pictures (I have the Nexus 7 for that).
5. I have the simpler Nexus 7 (32GB, no 3G antenna). Is it possible for the Nexus 7 to share the internet connection with the phone when I go outside?
6. A good camera would be a big plus. I don't carry a camera with me anymore, so a decent camera in my phone is always welcomed.
7. Good battery life. I understand these phones have demanding software, but I don't want to have to charge the phone twice every day. Also, if the phone lets me replace the battery myself that would be great. The sales guy told me that you can't change the battery in your iPhone, you have to send it in. What if I want to carry a spare battery with me?
8. I would also like to use this phone as a music player to listen to music when I go on my road trips. Can I play all the stuff that I bough on iTunes? (it's a music store from Apple) Can the Android phones play those AAC files that iTunes sell? The headphones quality is not important at all, I'm not going to use them. I will just plug the phone output to the car stereo.
9. Probably another stupid question, but here it goes. Will the applications I buy on the Nexus 7 work on any Android phone? I know it's basically all Android deep down, but if it's true that manufacturers put their own software on top of Android, is that going to create problems or any incompatibilities or something?
10. If the phone gets lost or stolen, can it be tracked remotely like the Apple iPhone? Does Android do that as well?
11. I don't see much "charger inputs" on these phones, so I'll assume they all charge via USB nowadays, like the Nexus 7. Does that mean any USB charger (like the one on Nexus 7) will work with one of these newer smartphones? The Apple iPhone seems to have their own flat connector instead of USB, and I don't really like that. What if I break the cable in the middle of the night for some reason? How will I charge the phone? I'd rather have a standard USB connection instead of some proprietary connector.
12. Finally, price is not important. I will be buying a smartphone for the next few years. I'd rather buy something good now, instead of settling for something cheaper and regretting if for four years...
Sorry for the long post, but I don't know much about Android, and this seemed like a good place to ask.