Speaking as hardcore iPhone users, using nothing but the Nexus for the past 3 days has been fun. In all honesty, the only time we went back to the "Mighty i" was to take pics of the Nexus One screens. (Screen capturing is done through the desktop, which we had no chance to configure, and we did not feel like paying over US$2.00 for a screen capturing app by an independent developer).
The integration with the cloud and Google Voice still keeps amazing us. For example: if you get text or voice mail from Google Voice, it is just another notification to check and move on, so from the work flow standpoint it's a breeze. (FWIW, the same feature is available on the Palm Pre.)
Notification implementation is way better on Android than iPhone, since everything is in one place.
You see all of your notifications in the top left corner.
Swipe your finger down on the notification statuses, and you will get notification list. From there, you can pick notification you want.
Before we get into the Nexus One's media management aspect, we have to make note of the whole user interface experience. At times, it's a stroke of genius; at other times, it's an Epic Fail. What do we mean by that? Well, on the iPhone, you have a consistent expectation from the UI: learn concept once and it will stay unchanged throughout all of your software.
On Android, it can get a little bit frustrating because your learned UI expectations don't always match. These little quirks are not a big deal, but they do take away from a smooth user experience. We must note, however, that these issues are software related, and therefore can be fixed over time.
Now, let's get into media management.
On the iPhone, you manage you media through iTunes, period. Now, we don't want to go off on a rant here (a la Dennis Miller), but we hate iTunes. Hate it with a passion. We use Mac software on a daily basis (iPhoto, iMovie, Numbers and Pages, etc.) and iTunes is nothing like other Apple software: elegant, intuitive, well designed, etc. To our eyes, it looks like nothing more than a huge pile of legacy garbage which grew over the years. But whether you like or loathe iTunes, it is the only game in town.
So on the iPhone, you can use the following management work flow:
1. Manage your music on iTunes (buy or drop in existing files).
2. Manage your movies on iTunes (same as 1) .
3. If you have movies in DIVX or AVI format, you need to convert them into MP4 format to be playable on iPhone, but then you still sync them from iTunes.
4. For images from your computer, you can sync them using iTunes into your iPhone.
5. For images taken on your iPhone, you can follow the same work flow as for other cameras you use. Same applies for video files, although you can share them using the YouTube program.
6. For picture viewing, you use standard Photos App or other apps.
7. For music listening (including audiobooks), you use iPod App.
8. For videos, you still use iPod App.
9. If you are fan of Podcasts – yep, iPod app.
Since we are very familiar with iPhone media workflow, we will try to replicate/duplicate same work flow on the Nexus One.
Connecting a Nexus (or other Android phones in general) to your computer allows you to mount the phone's SD card as a data drive and access its contents. So when it comes to media management, you can just drop music/images/video right onto the SD card.
Another option is to install doubleTwist, which does involve creating a user name and password:
However, the user creation process took less than 2 minutes, with email verification at the end.
doubleTwist comes with support for Nexus One and other Android phones. Here's what the screen looks like when connecting Nexus One.
Essentially, doubleTwist is fancy file management of your media, compared to just using your file management on Windows. The good thing is that it will see your iTunes library for music and videos, and you can then drop them directly into Nexus One.
You can also browse all the media on the Nexus One using doubleTwist. Keep in mind, though, that with iTunes the whole sync process is automated; on doubleTwist, you have to manually drag and drop. The exception to that rule is audio purchased in the Music store using doubleTwist (note: music purchases are done through Amazon's MP3 store).
Load warning: doubleTwist will not be able to transfer DRM-protected music you bought using iTunes. You'll have to strip DRM protection from the files you bought and then do the transfer, but that's an article for another day…
Like the iPhone, the Nexus One can play MP4 video files, but not unconverted AVI movies. One nice bonus to doubleTwist is that when you grab an AVI file from the library and drop it into your Nexus One, it will be automatically converted into an MP4 file. (As a matter of fact, on the screen shot above you can see a circle beside the Nexus One device, indicating that a conversion is in progress.) This was our first video file converted, so doubleTwist also created a Video directory which now shows up in the gallery. One caveat: the conversion quality was not as good as we liked, so we will stick to our own method (we use VisualHub on the Mac).
Remember, if you mounted the Nexus One's SD card for file operations, you'll have to dismount it before you disconnect the phone from the computer.
If you like to watch movies and browse your pictures, you should use Gallery app:
Mind you, it took us a while to figure out that the Gallery app can actually play movies. This is the design inconsistency point we mentioned earlier; based on the app's name and icon, we assumed it was an image-only viewer.
If you have a Picasa account, the Gallery app will show you your Picasa Albums.
The Movie player is not as feature reach as on iPhone. The Android Market has some free-to-download alternatives, but we didn't like them any better.
The Music app is obviously for playing music, and it has all the basic music playing functionality. (Another note: we have not tested how well you can manage playing audio books using Music or other Android apps.)
For podcasts, you can download Listen (a fresh addition from Google Labs). Compare this to using iTunes and your iPhone (to some degree) to manage your podcasts.
So let's go over our media management work flow we set up on our Nexus One:
1. Manage your music with doubleTwist (drop in existing files or browse iTunes library) or the SD card.
2. Manage your movies with doubleTwist or the SD card (same as 1) .
3. If you have movies in DIVX or AVI format, you need to convert them into MP4 format to be playable on Nexus One. You can use doubleTwist for conversion, or your favorite conversion app.
4. For images from your computer, you can drop them into Nexus One via doubleTwist or SD Card.
5. For images taken on your Nexus One, you can follow the same work flow as for other cameras you use. Same applies for video files, although you can share them using the Youtube program.
6. For picture viewing, you use the standard Gallery App or other apps
7. For Music Listening you use the Music App. We have not tested Audiobooks (yes, you can play them, we just haven't tested the managment part yet).
8. For Videos, you use the Gallery App, or other apps from Android Market
9. If you are fan of Podcasts you can use the Google Listen app, or other apps from Android Market.
We hope you can see that the whole media management process (viewing, loading, syncing) is not as smooth on the Nexus One (or any other Android phone) when compared to the iPhone or iPod Touch. Remember, Apple has had years to develop and perfect this, while Android is the new game in town.
Bottom line: if you are switching from iPhone to Nexus One or another Android device, you still be able to to do all the things as far as media – but you will have to put some extra into the whole management process.
We think computer-savvy individuals will have no problem adopting, but the casual user switching from an iDevice to an Android phone will struggle.