A Physician’s experiment with switching from iPhone to Android — the beginning

Medical Professionals — we’re supposed to be all about Apple, Apple, and more Apple. At least that’s what the data would lead you to believe . Apple clearly markets to the end physician user as well, prominently featuring medical apps that are exclusively used by physicians in their commercials, and even featuring a physician in their iPad 2 event.

I’ve had every iteration of the iPhone since the 3G, and my first computer was a Mac when I was 10 years old. Granted, my father saved it after the computer had been tagged for the trash at his work — but my first real exposure to an operating system was Mac OS. I’ve been using Apple products since then, so it would seem obvious I would never stray away from iOS in the mobile ecosystem. Add to this the success of iMedicalapps, and how we have kept hammering away on why the iOS platform is better than Android, and it would seem downright crazy for me to ever try switching to the Android platform.

However — things change, and unless you try something, you never know what you’re missing. Recently a close physician friend of mine essentially dared me to do this. His basic premise was there was no definitive way I could suggest iOS platforms over Android to the medical community if I hadn’t tried them out for an extended period of time. Valid point.

But what was brewing even deeper was my perception that Apple has become more of a closed ecosystem with time. Apple’s famous 1984 commercial preached about non-conformity, about how the one size fits all solution wasn’t necessarily the way to go. Yet in the mobile phone ecosystem, Apple offers only one solution, the iPhone. The flagship device offers a great overall user experience verse the broad range of experiences offered by a variety of Android platforms. Android phones vary from cheap to expensive, from horrible user experiences to great, with keyboards and without — but at the end of the day, they offer options, for better or worse.

So I finally decided I would try an Android device.  I didn’t want to bother with HTC sense or other manufacturer skins and customizations on the Android, and decided to choose the Nexus S that has recently been released for AT&T. Although the Nexus S has been released for many months on other carriers, it’s still the only phone that offers a pure Android experience, without all the junk that carriers add on. It’s Google’s flagship phone, and was the first to have Gingerbread (Android 2.3) running.

I’ve decided to give this experiment at least 3 weeks because using the phone for just a few days would by no means be a good sample size. So far, I’m one week into the experiment and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results — I never thought I’d dig widgets and home screen shortcuts as much as I have.

In subsequent posts I’ll be focusing on the three components of mobile operating systems that are important to medical professionals: quality and number of medical apps, ability to read and store medical literature and news, and overall user experience of the operating system.

Let the fun begin.

Author:

Iltifat Husain, MD

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of iMedicalApps.com. Emergency Medicine Faculty and Director of Mobile App curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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8 Responses to A Physician’s experiment with switching from iPhone to Android — the beginning

  1. janephilpott August 9, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Will follow your results with anticipation and curiosity.

  2. rem August 9, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    hope you will provide a comprehensive review of your findings as i too want to get either iphone / android based phone. pretty confused which one i should go for.

  3. john brohan August 10, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    http://www.woundfollowup.com
    This is a system to receive pictures from patients, allowing them to avoid the in-person visit for visible problems. It’s a (free) android app on the patient side, and a windows application on the doctor viewer side.
    It was originally conceived to allow patients to get advice about surgical wounds, since most surgeons avoid these phone calls.
    John Brohan

  4. Michelle August 11, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I recently switched from the iPhone to Android and I am writing about the experience on my blog for medical librarians http://kraftylibrarian.com/?p=1314. I haven’t begun to look at the medical apps so I am looking forward to seeing your thoughts on them.

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