Can a week living with Android convince an iOS die-hard to make the switch?

Is there an app gap?

Over and above the obvious apps - web browser, weather, music, email and camera - I regularly use TomTom Europe, Paprika, Flickr, Fantastical, NextBuses, Zite, Netflix, Feedly, eBay, Dropbox, Evernote, my bank's app, Facebook, Tweetbot, GarageBand and a guitar tuner app.

Most of those apps - or very similar equivalents in the case of NextBuses and Tweetbot - are in Google Play for little or no money. Re-buying the TomTom app would cost £36.99, but I think Google's own navigation is good enough for my everyday needs.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

With few exceptions, your favourite big-hitting apps are in both stores

The only everyday app I couldn't find an equivalent for is Fantastical: there are lots of calendar apps, but I couldn't find any offering the natural language processing that I've really come to love.

I did encounter problems with music creation apps. Apple doesn't make an Android version of GarageBand, and while there are decent Android music apps, it falls some way behind iOS - so for example music apps I use occasionally, such as Animoog and SoundPrism, aren't available on Android. Listening to music is covered, though: Google Play does what iTunes Match does, for free.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

Zoodles' Kid Mode, bundled on the HTC One, is a boon for parents

There's another problem. My daughter. The last time I counted she had over 80 apps, and some of her favourites once again aren't in Play: the Toca Boca apps she loves are missing, as are many of the book apps.

The apps that are there generally cost money because we try to avoid ones based around in-app purchases, so I'm looking at £2 or £3 per app (assuming I want to re-buy the ones she already has). Realistically to replace the must-have apps I'm looking at around £30-£50.

Money, money, money

Let's talk a bit more about money. Matching specs and contracts with my existing Apple kit would mean buying a £159 Nexus 7 16GB, a £389 Nexus 10 32GB and a £69.99 HTC One. The HTC One is a pound per month cheaper on Orange than my iPhone 5 is, so over two years that's a saving of £24, which brings the phone upgrade cost to £45.99 (provided, of course, that I'm out of contract - otherwise I'd have to pay to buy myself out of my existing airtime contract, or buy the HTC One SIM-free).

Buying new kit would cost me a total of £593.99, but I can make that back by trading in my old iOS stuff. Assuming no recycler shenanigans, I'd net around £261 for my iPad 4, £147 for my iPad mini and £262 for my iPhone 5. That's £670, so I'd be up by £76.01.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

Switching from iTunes Match to Google Play Music saves money

Replacing iTunes Match with Google Play Music would save me another £20, and if I used multiple accounts to share the Nexus 10 with my daughter I could save a further £159 by not buying a Nexus 7.

There are other costs too, of course. Replacing my speaker dock and car charger would cost around £40, and swapping the Apple TV for the WD TV Play would cost £70.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

We're fans of the TomTom sat nav app, but Google's own navigation is good too

I'll go for the lowball estimate for re-buying my daughter's apps - £30 - and stick with Google's own navigation instead of spending money on TomTom again. That gives me a subtotal of £141, so moving entirely to Android would cost me £44.99. Or if I didn't bother with a smaller tablet, I'd actually save £114 by switching.

So would I do it?


To jump or not to jump

The music apps are a deal-breaker for me, but that isn't going to be the case for most people. However, music isn't my only reason for staying put. There's a great deal to like about Android, and the HTC One definitely gave me phone envy, but I felt that a move would be change for change's sake, not for any real benefit.

Were I coming to this with a blank slate I suspect it'd be a very different story, though. I can easily imagine choosing an HTC One (or a Nexus 4 if I were buying SIM-free) over an iPhone 5, and it would then make sense to get a Nexus 10 instead of an iPad 4.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

HTC Sense is lovely, enabling you to display friends' status updates or tweets

Before Android 4.0 I wouldn't even have considered Android over iOS, especially on tablets. The operating system wasn't particularly pleasant, the available hardware was horrible and there was a significant apps gap.

Now, though, choosing between platforms is largely about aesthetics, not practicalities. While Android Jelly Bean wasn't quite sweet enough for me, I could well be tempted by some Key Lime Pie.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.