The Beauty of Material Design

I admit it, I'm possessed of an insatiable curiosity of what the other side of the fence looks like.  Especially when it comes to phones and mobile OSes.  So on Christmas Eve of this week, I bounced from iOS 8 to Android Lollipop.

Now, let's get one thing straight:  I'm becoming a pro at this.  At any given moment, I have around 10 devices to "try".  But I typically will only dabble and not full-scale switch all that often.  The cost of switching from iOS to Android, or vice versa, is high.

The big show-stopper recently was iMessage.  In case you had not heard, you could be held hostage to iMessage chains if you switched to Android.  This is in part because iOS would cache your number's availability as an iOS device, thus rendering all communication through iMessage only.

This had the nasty problem of effectively walling you off from iMessage only conversations if you switched from iOS to Android.  Many prominent folks have written about it, but Apple released a tool with iOS 8 to "free" your device's number from iMessage.

So, on Christmas Eve, I took the enormous step of "freeing" my number from the sticky-sweet grasp of Apple's money-soaked hands (tongue in cheek, folks, tongue in cheek), got a new SIM and put it into a Nexus 5.

Going from a 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus to a 5" Nexus 5 display was not that big a deal.  The size down was actually a bit welcome, and I'm noticing that I can just stroll around easier with this phone.  But this is not about the phones.  As a matter of fact, a Nexus 6 may make it's way to my door soon, and that is an even bigger phone than the 6 Plus.

But, and I don't say this lightly, the beauty of Android Lollipop is stunning.  iOS is not ugly, by any means, but it's a bit like walking into a room and seeing someone that suddenly redefines what your meaning of beauty is.  Everyone else looks, well, just normal.  Lollipop is like that...  Most of the time.

The fact of the matter is that any of the apps which adhere to the Google Material Design look amazing.  They flow, they pop, they are a delight to use.  Do you know what I love the most about my recent foray into Android?  Google Hangouts and the Google Contacts/Dialer.  Seriously?  WTFM8?

But there's a big, big problem:  Not many apps use Material Design yet.  Twitter makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it's so ugly and poorly designed.  LastPass is a disaster (but it kind of always has been).  Amazon just doesn't get it right.

Apps like Wunderlist are just intrinsically beautiful, but that's because they're simple.  And that brings me to something:  The really beautiful Material Design apps (in my limited experience) are very, very tightly focused.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, while Material Design is a superior way to elucidate your UI, it puts constraints on you that are hard.

There are other things, too.  The cameras are tough.  Apple just makes a far, far superior camera and camera ecosystem.  That's a big deal for me.  I did not film my children's Christmas on the Nexus 5 and kept the 6 Plus in my pocket for a good part of the day.

So, I will likely stick this out for a few more days or weeks.  I will try to last til the Nexus 6 gets here.  I will also convert Converted (hehe) to Android via Material Design, which should keep me going for a bit.

But, even with the beauty of Material Design, the camera will pull me back, I think.