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Re: I'm thinking of switching to Android. Need massive advice and help. Please don't be bias.
You can do anything with Android because it's a linux computer. The limit is depended on how much effort you put in it, which is where the consumer come in. The thing with Android is the choices. This can be a good thing or it can confuse the consumer. I think Android have a sharper learning curve, it takes longer to learn and fully utilize, it's not as user friendly compared to iOS.
It's difficult to answer, since it's literally anything. If you are thinking about it, chances are someone else have already thought about it and made an app for it or trying to implement it. The limit is only what the hardware of a device is capable of. There are many YouTube videos that may be able to answer your question better. For my case, I don't have to use any software the manufacturer gave me. I can install third party web browser, third party camera app, third party lockscreen and unlocking method, completely customize the interface to the way I like, create automated tasks and integrated them with NFC technology or voice input.
Then there is 'root', which give the user full administrator privilege to the phone, this allows you to completely modify the operating system. With root I can do things like flash a third party kernel which can be very powerful, such as allowing me to change the CPU speed and voltage, change graphic card speed, modify multiprocessing behavior and how Android manage RAM, tune the colors and gamma of the display on a hardware level, tune the audio chip on a hardware level, it can also add new hardware features. Root also enhances the security of a phone contrary to popular belief, you can alter the linux iptables which is a powerful network firewall, you can modify the hosts files to prevent malware (also known as adsblocking), you can control every single "permissions" of apps running on the phone, preventing them from recording your personal data. Of course, with root you can install third party firmwares as well, otherwise known as "custom roms", it breaks warrenty, but its a choice you have. Some of the most reliable roms are fully open source which is good for security and trusts (contrary to popular belief).
In Android the main interface is called the "launcher" or "home launcher". There are lots of launchers in Google PlayStore that emulate Windows Metro interface or iOS interface. There are countless of launchers that offer different designs, features and usage style. Like what? I like that I read you can totally customize it. Does it offer something like live tiles or better? Android is excellent at multitasking, it's easy switching between running apps using default methods or third party apps. I don't have that much experience with Windows Phone, but I'm still going to say Android have the best notification system bar none. The Android's notification bar is very robust to alert you of anything that you set. There is a way to disable it for individual apps as well. Most Android phones have RGB colored LED which flashes different colors for notifications, there are apps that will allow you to control and custom the LED. Most good launchers have their own notification features, so for example the Dialer and Messaging icon will have a small indication to show many many missed called or new messages there are. There are also widgets that can be put on either the home launcher or the lockscreen to show notifications. I love seeing everything on my phone as it happens, as it's live without clicking the actual app or messages and so on. For some of the negative aspects, one thing about Android right now, though not applying to your case, is that there is still some developer bias for iOS apps. Some games or apps get preference treatments on iOS, and get updates slower on Android. I think it's less of an issue now since Android have such a big market share, you're only looking at some really big titles. But some of it have to do with engineering issues as well, because Android run in so many different hardware and form factors, it's can be harder to make apps running flawlessly on all devices. I'm not a programmer, that's just my impression. Overall, I don't care if iOS have more apps, the way I see it Android is a lot more open, there will be tons of apps on Android that iOS will never get due to it's closed source nature, and lots more free alternative on Android. But please don't be biased. I want to make the best decision here.
Also there is the infamous wakelock issue with Android, sometimes apps keep running the background and doesn't get killed, so it drains the battery. I still think this issue plaque Android and isn't completely solved yet. It's not an issue for me however.
Lastly, there is the problem of choices. You can have completely different experience with one Android over the next. Each manufacturer custom the Android OS to their own design with their own features. A lot of times they add in bloatwares or unnecessary things that slow down the OS. In conjunction, there is the issue of updates. Unless you have a "Google Nexus device", which get updates directly from Google, there is no central control for updates like with Apple. When you buy a phone that is branded by a carrier like ATT or Verizon, you are at their mercy for receiving updates, it can come soon or take a long time, or never. Even if you buy an unlocked device, you are still at the mercy of the manufacturer to release the updates (unless its a Nexus device), sometimes manufacturers will not update an older phone to force you to buy a newer model (that's my take). Some manufacturer have better track records than other.
I can only speak for myself, I choose Android mainly for it's open nature and the choices it allow. I guess one reason is the excellent Google integration. If you use the various Google cloud services, than Android is a must. If you distrust Google, then Android is not for you. One of the best Google integration feature for me is a feature on the 'Moto X' which allow me to use voice commands to do Google searches and other simple phone tasks without having to touch the phone. I would really love for any and all people to convince me and give me specifics on why I should get an android.
If you want to try Android, the best way is to start with the basic, stock Android. Stock Android is referred to the original Android interface before any
perversion modification from third party manufacturers. It's meant to be simple and doesn't come with bloatwares. I suggest getting a Moto G to try out, which is a budget phone that come with stock Android and good performance for its price range. Use it a bit to see if you like the experience. If you don't, you can resell it or return it without losing much money.