25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s

25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s

Summary: My new Android phone makes my old iPhone feel like a dinosaur. I did not root my phone. Every app you see here is a standard product, available from the Google Play store. This is what you can do right out of the box.


 |  Image 5 of 26

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Thumbnail 13
  • Thumbnail 14
  • Thumbnail 15
  • Thumbnail 16
  • Thumbnail 17
  • Thumbnail 18
  • Thumbnail 19
  • Thumbnail 20
  • Thumbnail 21
  • Thumbnail 22
  • Thumbnail 23
  • Thumbnail 24
  • Thumbnail 25
  • Thumbnail 26
  • #3 You can replace the back cover

    While some Android phones don't have this feature, the Samsung S4 has a back that you can easily replace. Even better, unlike my old iPhone 4S, the new Android phone does not have a back made of easily-breakable glass.
    In fact, you can replace the of the Samsung S4 with hundreds of others, in all sorts of different patterns and colors. These are quite inexpensive, so if you do happen to do some damage to the back of your unit, the replacement cost can be under ten bucks. Now, that's progress!
    Image courtesy Amazon and "I Need" specialty shop.
  • #4 It supports wireless inductive charging without a bulky sled

    Ever since the ill-fated Palm Pre's Touchstone inductive charger, I've wanted wireless charging for my phone. There are add-ons for the iPhone that provide that capability, but they're large sleds that strap around the iPhone and make it bulkier and uglier than necessary.

    Because the Galaxy S4 supports replacing the plastic back, you can simply pop off the stock back that comes with the phone and snap on the new back and you have a phone that supports wireless charging, straight from the manufacturer.

    There are a few disadvantages I've discovered. Otterboxes won't fit, because they're built with absolutely no tolerance for "gooshiness" around the frame, and the S4's wireless charger adds about a 1/32 of an inch extra bulk to the back of the unit. Also, if you want a wallet-style case (most of which merge their own back into the phone), you're probably out of luck.

    Even so, the few case disadvantages are worth it for integrated wireless charging. My new Android phone has it and the iPhone doesn't. I've always found the lack of iPhone wireless charging rather strange. Wireless charging seems like such an Apple-like thing to do, it's somewhat odd that the company seems to have thusfar ignored this incredibly convenient technology.

    Image courtesy Samsung.

  • #5 Wonder-of-wonders: you can actually plug a USB cable into it and drag and drop files from your computer

    Stop-the-presses! Hear ye! Hear ye! Your attention please!

    Ladies and gentlemen, you're about to behold a sight so incredible, so amazing, so advanced, so utterly incomprehensible in the iOS world, that I urge those of you who are easily shocked, frightened, suffer from medical conditions, or love your Apple devices above all others, to forgo reading this item.

    You have been warned.

    If you have the courage, the intestinal fortitude to read past my previous warnings, if you believe that you can withstand the greatest of all shocks, then read on.

    Are you ready? Can you dig it?

    Here it is: you can actually plug a USB cable into it and drag and drop files from your computer.

    "Amazing," you say! "Incredible," you whisper. "There's just no way," you mumble. And yet, it is the truth I type. You can indeed simply plug a USB cable into your computer and then into your Android phone and — woosshh! — copy files from the desktop.

    Will wonders never cease? Now, we truly know we're in the future!

    Image courtesy my desktop, Android's astonishing ability to do something my iPhone should have been able to do out of the box for years, and the Samsung manual.

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, The Year's Best Tech for Work and Play


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • and no Imessage

    When you send an SMS, you actually send an SMS. And when I want to message someone, I can use Skype or Google Chat (Hangouts?) or whatever I want.
    • Your point?

      You can turn iMessage off. You can use Google Talk and Skype on the iPhone…

      I actually like iMessage as many of my friends and family insist on using text messaging as if it was another instant messenger… so I just reply back to them at my desktop using messages on osx. I know you can do that with any of the others, but this works when they "text" my phone number as well (without having to get a service like google voice)
      • imessage has many problems

        When I upgraded from my iphone 4 to a Nokia Lumia 920 (what a fantastic upgrade that was) anyone who had ever "texted" me from their iphone couldn't anymore since it kept going to imessage. apple quite literally hijacked my phone number.
        • iMessage

          iMessage does have issues, I can't argue that. Never seen this issue as I don't know anyone that went from an iphone to another brand…

          Did you unregister your phone number from any and all ios devices you might have had it enabled on? Did those trying to text you have "send as sms" enabled for when imessage fails? (not that that always works though, admittedly).

          I've had issue with iMessage occasionally… for me, simply turning it off and reverting to SMS then always worked fine (as long as I had signal).
          • I tried to troubleshoot for a bit

            It appeared that nothing I did would get apple to tell their devices not to use imessage when texting me. Yes, they could manually force it to use text when contacting me but it always reverted back to imessage as the default the next time. Besides, it was terribly unintuitive and difficult to use.

            Do a search on apple forums and you'll see a ton of complaints. This is a big problem. At least it was when I switched at the end of last year.
          • Not sure...

            why this would be a 'big problem'....on my iphone 5 under Messages, just enable one radio button (Send as SMS), and when my recipient, whether on IOS or anything else, receives my texts via SMA whenever iMessage is not available. It's a no brainer, in my experience....YMMV.
          • No logic please.

            Logic and facts send @toddbottom3 into a frenzy...well...sometimes he goes catatonic, but mostly a frenzy.
          • It is a special brand of apple logic

            Yes, the suggestion that I contact everyone and ask them to change their iphone settings because I've switched away from iphone requires a special type of apple branded logic.
          • Oh, that's a simple solution

            So all I need to do is go to all of my contacts that have iphones and ask them to tweak their settings so they can contact me?

            I shouldn't be surprised. Inefficiency is the apple way.
          • They need change your contact info...

            In their iPhone they have your number setup as iPhone... they need to move it to Mobile. Then it will stop thinking they are connecting to another iPhone and use SMS by default.
          • wait what? it doesn't just work?

            you have to **TWEAK** iOS to tell it the recipient isn't using iOS?
            that's like 90's tech!
          • Oh, that's a simple solution 2

            So all I need to do is go to all of my contacts that have iphones and ask them to tweak their settings so they can contact me?

            I shouldn't be surprised. Inefficiency is the apple way.
          • I can't imagine...

            Why anybody would want to send you a message. You're far too busy trolling these posts to ever read them anyway...
          • Pot

            meet kettle.
          • amazing.

            no, you need to disassociate your phone number from imessage. It's 3 clicks. But it's easier to bitch then google something, right?

            Seriously, amazing.
          • LOL!!!

            Most of us would call that Karma bottom dude. Even the universe thinks you're a tool... LOL!!!
          • iMessage errors

            Yeah... it hasn't been fixed in the time since you had issues with it (surprise, everyone! :P). Many users switching from iPhones to B10 had the same issue. Shame on you Apple.
          • Someone switched to B10?? Wow!!
          • sigh

            it's 3 buttons to press.

            But yeah, iOS is really hard, so i guess you're in trouble.
        • toddbottom3 has even more problems

          Actualy, the truth is YOU didn't go into your iPhone's settings and turn off iMessage.

          User errors being blamed on Apple...why do they exist?

          I work alongside people like this. They misplace a file on their desktop and blame Windows/Dell/Hp/etc, etc... only to be shown how to find it. lolz