I have been using android on the touchpad since it was first released. With a new baby I am just now getting around to giving everyone my impressions of it. CM7 Alpha 1 was almost unusable. To be fair though the CM team warns you that their alpha builds are “full of bugs”. I had problems with the wifi staying connected and the screen freezing. But honestly after using android I couldn’t go back to webOS. I didn’t realize how slow the web browser was. I did like the interface but android just runs so much smoother. Not long after the alpha1 release alpha 2 was released that fixed all the bugs mentioned and gave the device a much better battery life. Alpha 3 has since has since been released but I had some issues with it so I downgraded back to alpha 2. The most recent version is Alpha 3.5 and I have yet to try it. I am eagerly anticipating CM 9.
For a little background my first smart phone was the HTC Fuze (WM 6.5). Now I own an iPhone 4. This is my first experience with android. For me android is somewhat easy to navigate. I do struggle at times finding certain settings but as I am getting more familiar with the OS it is getting easier.
I have mixed feelings about the app launcher and I think that is primarily because of my experience with iOS. If you are not familiar with one or the other, iOS applications are automatically downloaded on the springboard launching pages. Android applications are downloaded to an applications area. In order to get apps on the launcher pages the user has to manually add them. The only advantage I see to that is if you do not use an app often it can stay hidden. The only problem with that is when you need to find that application or you download a new one you have to wade through every single one which is organized alphabetically to find it. Hopefully you remember the name. Maybe there is a way around this that I am unaware of.
My favorite feature over iOS is the back button. Going between google reader or twitter and the web browser is very fluid. I don’t have to close the web browser then re-launch my reader application like in iOS. It seems so simple but you really can’t understand it until you have used the back function after not having it. Another differentiating feature that I like is android gives you the option for a default application to open weblinks, videos, music, etc. If you know anything about iOS you know you are stuck using safari to launch any website link unless you copy the URL and paste it into a third party web browser. Widgets are nice. I like the option of being able to use different keyboards. In fact I am typing this on a split keyboard on the touchpad right now
I haven’t been using this as phone but so far I have been able to find useful apps for the tablet. I have noticed most apps just blow up and are just large version of the phone equivalent since I am running gingerbread. Most of the time it works out and I prefer that over what webOS does which is just showing a smaller version that doesn’t use all of the screen real estate.
I also haven’t done whole lot of gaming either. Angry Birds is fun on a big screen. I also like that I can connect my PS3 controller and play emulators with a proper controller.
I really like Android due to more open approach to the user experience. I am certain that my next cell phone will be an android device. If you have any questions about my first time experience feel free to ask.