Frosted Glass Effects: Why I Switched To Android After All These Years

Frosted Glass Effects: Why I Switched to Android After All These Years

Some people have called me an Apple fanboy. I stood in line for hours for the first iPhone and then again for almost every new iOS device that came out. I own more Apple devices than t-shirts (I'm not a big t-shirt fan, but still, it's a lot of devices…). And I have convinced quite a few people over the years to switch to Macs, iPhones and iPads.

Two weeks ago, I switched to Android. I bought a Galaxy S4 (Google Play stock Android version) and a Samsung Note 8.0 tablet. They're now my primary mobile devices.

Why? My Theory of Frosted Glass Effects

When a technology vendor can't keep up with the speed of innovation anymore, it resorts to incrementally copying other's innovations and starts adding pointless visual gimmicks, such as frosted glass effects. Such effects are cool, set your product apart, make it look modern, but unfortunately they are also entirely useless and just consume system resources without really improving the user experience.

Case in point: Windows Vista.

I switched to Macs in 2006, after almost two decades using Microsoft OSes. Microsoft in the 90s and early 2000s was much more innovative than people give it credit for. Tablet computing, simple Internet programming, productivity software, the first really powerful PDAs -- those were all sectors where Microsoft was the leader.

But then Windows Vista came out, almost five years after XP. And what was the most remarkable new feature of this next-gen OS?

Very cool-looking frosted glass effects in windows titles.

Frosted Glass Effects: Why I Switched to Android After All These Years

The rest was unremarkable at best, copying many of the features Mac OS X had had for years and fixing some old problems. It was clear at that point that Microsoft had lost its way, the beginning of Microsoft's current malaise. And for me it was time to switch to the platform where the real innovation was happening -- Mac OS X, mostly with web-based applications, and a bit later from Windows CE to iOS.

A few weeks ago Apple introduced iOS 7, the first major overhaul since the iPhone came out. It has a ton of new features, almost all of which Android users have enjoyed for years. It fixes a lot of old problems, and…

…it has frosted glass effects. Lots of them.

Frosted Glass Effects: Why I Switched to Android After All These Years

It Was Time to Switch

A few minutes after installing the IOS 7 beta I just knew I needed to switch to Android. I have found myself using more and more Google apps on my iPhone over the past 18 months or so. Google Maps replaced (surprise) Apple Maps, Gmail replaced Apple Mail, Chrome replaced Safari. I did voice search through Google's search app, not Siri. And so on. Why? Because Google's services are not only much more powerful but also very neatly integrated. The amazing Google Now is the best example for that.

In fact, I was already using a Google phone running iOS underneath, and there's simply nothing in iOS 7 that makes me think I might switch back to Apple's stock apps.

There's just frustration that iOS 7 has barely caught up with Android's current state.

Android fanboys tend to think that this has always been the case. Not so. When Apple came out with the original iOS, the first real browser on a mobile device, multi-touch, the original app store, photo stream, AirPlay, etc., it was years ahead of everybody else. But that was then, and iOS 7 is now. Unfortunately, it feels a lot like Window Vista.

The Android Era

Just to be clear: I'm not feature obsessed when it comes to mobile devices. I spend much of my working day wrestling with technology, and the last thing I need is a high-maintenance phone or tablet. But Android has matured to a point where it's (almost) as easy to use and polished as iOS, with a ton of added flexibility.

And without question, the real innovation now happens in the Android ecosystem. Smartphone functionality has matured to the point of saturation, and real progress can only be made in Internet-based services that integrate seamlessly with a smartphone OS. Google's superiority in information services and Android's general openness are perfect for that.

I'm not an Apple fanboy, I'm a fanboy of great products. And as much as I hate to see Apple lose its lead, it's time to switch.

This post has been republished with permission from Andreas Goeldi's personal blog. He also blogs about technology and the internet economy (in German) on and about video-related topics on the Pixability video blog. You can find his personal homepage here.



    Very funny! I like your theory, but i'm still keen to try iOS7 out of beta. :)

      You can for free

      Video explains how to get the beta installed without UDID Reg or Dev Account

      And with ios 6 still active on their registration servers its easy to reverse to the old iOS if you dont like it, watch the video and he mentions his other vid demoing the reversal :D

      Just did mine over the last 2 hours ( restoring contacts/apps etc )

      Last edited 07/08/13 9:33 pm

        harmonicdrone said "out of beta" - so assuming they'd like to try the final product.

        I'm running beta 5 which is far more stable than the first couple iterations. It's nice, a much better jump than iOS6. But still fairly unremarkable.

    So lack of innovation to you is judged by the implementation of frosted glass in the OS?

    Yet another article about someone switching from apple over to android for this reason and that, it seems like every few months there's an article like this being issued by you guys.

      Agreed. Really? You're leaving Apple because of frosted glass? ok.

      Last edited 07/08/13 10:17 am

        I think he left apple mainly because he is a Google user. He explains it under the It was time to switch section. The whole frosted glass thing is just his theory when an OS is running out of ideas on how to innovate. I personally don't believe in this theory, I think Windows Vista failed for many other reasons and actually dig the frosted look on IOS. His argument on why he switched makes sense though.

          You're likely right, he's using so many of Google's third party apps that he's decided to give Android a try and put it into one nice little package, makes sense.
          As a user of both platforms (personal / work) I mostly prefer iOS. Hope he likes the switch, and if he doesn't well we've got the luxury of choice.

        This was discussed on Reddit quite a bit. He didn't leave iOS because of the frosted glass effect. He's saying that there is no improvement besides aesthetics upgrades only and is lacking the innovations that he was used to seeing.

          Correct, and it's why I made the same move. Apple got on stage carrying on how innovative they are and then showed me nothing new. It was akin to someone painting their house and calling it a complete renovation and just hoping I'm too stupid or distracted by shiny things to notice it's just a lick of paint and a ne doormat. They lost my respect.

          If they got up and told me that they believed their mobile platform was solid and iOS7 was about tying up loose ends and just trimming existing features to suit their audience needs better, I'd probably still be using an Apple phone. I like their products, but don't tell me it's one thing when it very clearly isn't.

          What really surprised me is how fast and utterly painless the transfer was. No such thing as platform lock in.

          All you fanboys: they're all just phones; same shit, different shrink wrap. Get over it.

    All over frosted glass? get over it...
    Android OS's are an embarrassment.
    Don't get me started on the horrible apps and malware.

      Horrible apps and malware? Yeah Apple has none of that.

      Two words. Apple Maps.

        Well it doesn't have malware.

          Unless you plug in a malicious charger and get malware THAT way:

            Oh yeah:

            Now how long would you have to wait on Android for a fix like that? Months? A year? A new device?

              With Android these days? Typically about a week if it's a flaw in an app. Because Android is compartmentalizing their system (Notice how you can download Google Play Music from the marketplace, instead of having it baked in as a system app?), updates for individual apps can be pushed out as soon as a fix has been made and tested -- you don't need to wait for an OS version update, unless the app relies on a new feature only found in an updated OS version.

              That's why I choose the Nexus line of devices. Not only do you get the latest Android, but you can also easily install something like Cyanogenmod, that fixed the package signing bug in mere days, or compile your own version of Android from source with the fix in it.

              If the manufacturer takes forever to include the fix, that's their own fault -- no use blaming Ford for a Holden problem, especially if Ford took a Holden design and put a new engine in it.

          You're missing the point. iOS up until now IS the malware. It's rubbish. It's behind the curve, it's not innovating pushing boundaries. Apple released iOS on the original iPhone and have done pretty much NOTHING to it other than a heap of "me too-ism" bits and pieces pulled right out of Androids playbook over the last few years. As the author said, Apple have run out of ideas and, hey presto! Just like Microsoft, Frosted Glass.

      get back under ya bridge, troll......

      Last edited 07/08/13 12:35 pm

      lol horrible apps. Sounds like an iOS interface

      No Malware? Are you seriously that deluded?

      A link to the Apple support page on how to remove MacDefender Malware...

    I have a galaxy4....let me know how you go with it. Having had the following phones Iphone3, iphone4, galaxy2, galaxy3 and now 4 (with a short lived nokia 880 or some crap in between)........I have made the decision to go back to an apple for the iphone 5s (or whatever it will be called). I love the look of ios7 and just feel like its time to go back. My galaxy4 has given me nothing but grief and i am looking forward to going back to apple.

      ill gladly take that pain in the butt GS4 off your hands
      i wont even charge you!

      So what actual 'grief' has it given you?

      I mean my iPhone has given me grief. It's given me the worst kind of grief ever. It's the worst phone I've ever owned.

      I'm going back to Android.

        Btw, I don't own an iPhone, own an SGS2, but seriously that had as much information as yours did, Im wanting to know, what exact grief? Because after working with phones and working in IT, be it apple, pc or android,I came to the conclusion, 9 out of 10 times, it was user error...

        Last edited 07/08/13 11:14 am

          @weresmurf deserves an award for that comment!

          The classic ID10T error!

      I have no problems at all with the S4. It is one of the better smart phones, long battery life and fast. I have previously had iPhones which drove me crazy.

      I believe Touchwiz has put a bad taste in your mouth. Next time buy a real pure Android experience aka Nexus 4 or better yet the older Galaxy Nexus.

      One of the best things I did was get off the Samsung bandwagon. I'm using a Nexus 4 now, and even though it's not an elite phone by today's standards I'm absolutely loving it. Came from a Nexus One, Galaxy S2, now this one. After the GS2 I was pretty sold on Samsung but it seems they've gone downhill a bit with it not being uncommon to hear about issues.

      Last edited 07/08/13 2:42 pm

        I have a Galaxy S2. First, last and only space phone I've ever owned. I LOVE it! There is this really awesome app I have on it... If I press 8 numbers and then the green button, I can talk to someone through the hole on it! AMAZING innovation!

        But in all seriousness... Never had an issue with Android. Maybe short battery life. Sometimes crashes, but usually due to the stupid games I download.

        Don't know what version of Android the phone came with, but I should have kept that instead of updating. Battery seemed to last longer and I liked the way it was just simple to use. Now there are widgets and things... Get rid of that crap...

    "I’m not an Apple fanboy... And as much as I hate to see Apple lose its lead..." Aren't these two statements directly contradictory? If you weren't an "Apple fanboy", why would it matter whether or not Apple kept its lead? Of course, that just makes his switch even more remarkable.

    Best desktop OS: Windows - gaming, software availability, ubiquity
    Best Phone OS: IOS for dummies and lazy people, Android for the intelligent and poor
    Best Tablet OS: Windows if you bother to tweak the desktop interface to be more touch friendly
    Android if you want something simple with more apps

      this is the problem with peoples opinions of android. Android is not for the poor, comparison's between apples flagship phone and cheap handsets that run android is the reason most people have a poor and misinformed opinion of what android is really like.
      The fact is that Android is superior to iOS. personal preference, handset choice etc etc is all irrelevant. Android is just further ahead than Apple RIGHT NOW. This may change in the future, who knows, 10 years ago nokia was king

        ok some clarification
        its not FOR the poor
        its used by alot of people who cannot afford 800$ phones
        They tend to buy cheap smartphones, which happens to be android, because your never gunna get a $100 iphone and IOS is never gunna appear on a non apple device

        so just easier to generically refer to android

        and all of this is not to say the rich dont use android. mutually exclusive

        Last edited 07/08/13 1:34 pm

          Uhh... the HTC One (that I currently use) was $746 at Australian retail when it launched... and my girlfriend paid $699 for her GS4...

            umm you do realise that you constitute like 25% of the android market
            the only reason android is overtaking apple is because china is producing a shit ton of branded and unbranded budget smartphones running android
            branded: Xiaomi, ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo to name a few
            then you go on aliexpress and search for smartphone or android phone or apple iphone clone and you will see the hundreds of sub $100 and $200 smartphones (half of which are still running gingerbread)

            The majority of chinese people cannot afford a $700 htc one. So they opt for cheaper or older htc models.

            And trust me when i say that the tens of millions of people using non flagship phones outweigh the few that can afford $700 ones.

            The city of shanghai has more people than the entire population of australia, so even if every australian had a flagship, there would still probably be more low end phones out there

            you are not the majority, thats why i was referring to android as being used by people who are not middle to upper class.

      Where you say "Android for the ... poor", I would actually say "Android for the poor or rich". I totally agree that Android is great if you're on a budget, iOS is an improvement if you've got a little more cash, but I think if you've got a lot more cash it switches back to Android, simply because then you can get phones with mega awesome cameras, gfx cards, blah di blah if you've got cash to blow.

      I'm ignoring WP for this argument though, mostly because I ignore WP in most aspects of my life. Might be awesome, I'm just not interested.

      One of my lectures at uni was one of IBM's senior mainframe security experts. He used an iPhone. Why? "It just works." Being smart and enjoying a product that does what you want it to do are not mutually exclusive.

        I never quite got that statement. When I had an iPod Nano, an iPhone (3G), and an iPad (1st Gen), it "just worked" when you spent the time getting it set up. Putting apps on was easy (for the iPad and the iPhone), but putting media on? It wanted to back up my device, sync anything that hadn't been synced yet, check for updates and a few other things -- all for one song that I wanted on there before running out the door on a roadtrip.

        Compare this to my first Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S: Plug it in via USB, drag and drop the files from my computer, on to the device, unplug and go.

        That's why I scratch my head when my friends tell me iPhones "just work"..

    Good article. Sums up pretty much what is happening currently in the smartphone arena. However there are greater implications here. Android is beginning to be embedded in much more than smartphones. That is the ultimate endgame. To become ubiquitous in every device we use, from cars to fridges to locks to home automation systems. The main three are fighting and have been fighting for this for a long time. Interesting times ahead.

    Wow... could you be anymore condescending?!? I agree with the point you're trying to make but there is certainly a better way to put it. Specifically:

    "Best Phone OS: IOS for dummies and lazy people, Android for the intelligent and poor"
    ... maybe should read...

    "Best Phone OS: IOS for non-technical people wanting a familiar look and feel, Android for the budget conscious or more technically minded."

    Basically, get off your high horse mate.

      But even your version is incorrect. The iPhone isn't specifically for non-technical people.

      I am more than capable of rooting Android and installing custom roms etc but I just don't really feel the need to. I am not a heavy user, and the feature set of the iPhone perfectly suits my needs.

      There is also an exclusive iOS app directly related to the work that I do.

        And "Android for intelligent and poor" or even "Budget concious" isn't exactly right either. There are options along that route for sure, just as there are expensive options. Every android device I've ever bought was more expensive than the IOS equivalent.

    You take a cross platform app and look at them side by side. 10/10 times the iphone app will be more responsive and less laggy. 9/10 times the iphone app looks better. The other 1/10 they look the same.

    Not to mention android being full of malware and having an ugly and inconsistent UI to boot.

      I'm on to my 3rd Android phone and have never had any malware.

      Malware is only a problem if you aren't careful with your sideloading of Apps, same issue you would face on a jailbroken iOS device. (Android gives you this ability without needing to jailbreak).

      If you're using Google Stock versions of any device, the UI is consistent, and looks much like what iOS is trying to match now. If you're using the Google apps, they perform better on Android than iOS... so all in all, Google fans are better off on a Google Stock Android device.

        I have to agree. I'm still loving my Galaxy S2 but as soon as the warranty runs out, I'll be flashing it with the most stock-like custom rom (because Touchwiz + provider bloatwares are just a pain to deal with). Once my phone goes kaput, I'll probably hope to get my hands on one of those Google-stocked HTC or Samsung device.

      Only on the latest iPhone. Try taking a 3GS with the latest iOS and run the same app.

      Android has to deal with multiple devices of varying specification made by multiple manufacturers. Apple only has to deal with the few variations of iPhones and iPads.

        The fact that the 3GS can actually use the latest version of iOS while only a few years old Android phones can't be updated anymore is another issue to consider. Even some of the new devices use older versions of the OS, that sounds ridiculous to me tbh.

          This is extremely silly. The version of IOS for the any older model iphone is not the same as that released for the latest model- it is tweaked and changed with many features removed because they will not work on the older hardware. It's also frequently buggy and the older phones will always run worse and apps will always run slower. It's actually not a good idea to keep upgrading older iphones.

            No, it is a good idea. You get security patches and keep up with app compatibility.

              If your device runs so badly that you begin to hate it (this has happened to all my friends with iphones), it's a small sacrifice to use the older version of an app and not to do anything you'd need those security patches for.

              Last edited 07/08/13 3:39 pm

          It will run like a dog though. And you can't do the same with the iPhone 3G.

          If my phone was that old I would be putting a custom ROM on it. Manufacturers putting old version firmwares needs to be shot. Really. Either they're trying to sell old stock to consumers or are just too lazy to upgrade their OSes. I would give those a markdown and avoid buying anything from them again.

          This is why my next Android phone will come direct from Google.

      This is the sort of opinion held by someone not really familiar with what they're talking about.
      It's like people who say that all Americans are fat, stupid, ultra right-wing Christians who believe in creationism and own a whole mass of guns. ...or those that believe the same about us Aussies.
      Silly stereotypes by silly people.

        And you know what you're talking about do ya? I have used an iphone and a 2013 model android side by side and the android phone didn't hold a candle to the iphone. It was way laggier and even the scrolling in the web browser felt less natural. The page doesn't even follow your finger in real time.

          Details please, what Android phone, and which version of Android? Or are we playing poker?

            2013 Xperia Z, supposedly top end, didn't seem like it though.

          Or perhaps you're making the basic error of assuming that every Android phone is the same.

          I have a 2013-model Android phone (Xperia Z) running stock Android 4.2.2, and it is snappy and responsive. My partner has a Galaxy S4, and so far it appears very responsive as well.
          My Galaxy Nexus was also very fast, and indeed I just flashed it with Android 4.3 and it certainly seems to be performing well.
          My Motorola Defy was pretty fast on Android 2.2; it is pretty sluggish now running an unofficial 4.2.2 ROM, but as a 2011-model phone I'm not particularly surprised.
          My Huawei Ideos X3 was sluggish from the moment I purchased it (outright for $69).
          My partner's HTC Incredible S was not great at time of purchase, was worse after the official ICS update, and is better - but still sluggish - on an unofficial 4.1.2.

          Chrome does have some odd lag issues at times which are a bit frustrating: however, there are dozens of other browsers out there, many of which are very quick indeed (Dolphin is good, Ninesky browser is the fastest mobile browser I have ever seen).

          Of course, with a Galaxy S4 you get Touchwiz, unless you get a 'Google Edition'. The HTC One, you get Sense 5, unless you get the 'Google Edition'.

          So, in brief: if you want to compare an iPhone to an Android phone, you have to compare a specific iPhone model to a specific Android phone model. For extra credibility, you can also compare it on a specific feature beyond just the provided web browser, rather than 'it was way laggier'.
          Recent iPhones are nice and quick. The Xperia Z and the Galaxy Nexus are also nice and quick. Other 2013-model Android phones I couldn't say, and who knows how the Moto X, the Galaxy Note 3, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, LG Optimus G2, and HTC One Mini will perform.
          But that's ok. They couldn't be as snappy as your iPhone, right?

          You have a crappy phone, simple as that. The Xperia line are well known for not living up to their hype. ;)

      Totally, iOS is such a superior phone OS that I'll share your post to . Wait, where's the Share button on this super-sophisticated iOS device? You know, the one that allows an app to transfer content to another app without service-specific integration code?
      (Yes, your point was about responsiveness and appearance. The counter-point is that iOS is a bit shy on actual features)

        And what would be some of these data sharing features? Not trolling - just can't think of any. Eg: I've never once used my phone and thought "damn it why won't Evernote share with google maps!"

    Two things that are the only "show stoppers" for me to think about moving from iPhone to Android:

    1.) Tweetbot
    2.) My music integration with my phone (iTunes)

    Everything else I could cut loose and make the move.

      Music - try spotify and never have to think about POS iTunes again.

    Lots of nerve touching going on here.

    ...i've been using my Note 8 LTE more & more recently as a main "laptop" as whatever I check day to day can be done on it with ease. And I invested in a S4 Zoom to take better photos ( as holding up a tablet to take 5MP is just silly ). Both are a treat! Hooray for Android/Samsung. Lol at Nokia. and Sigh at Apple.

    Comment section turned into fan boy warfare? Who would have thought?...ok ill keep it going cause these things can be interesting...Android FTW!

    It is funny to see that the author did not mentioned the brand new kernel in Vista. Sorry, it is hidden behind a "frosted glass"

      Exactly. There were a bunch of things introduced in Vista which are now taken for granted. They were just ignored to promote a half-arsed theory.

    Quite liked the article, it's amusing that in the sense you have put it, it's true.
    Run out of technical idea's = start improving ui looks (sometimes when it's not actually needed and ends up creating issues like requiring more power to run smoothly)

    I believe if Apple could make a phone entirely out of glass, they would. Considering this, having a glassier OS makes some sense.

    As for which OS to use, just use whatever works for you. It's a marketplace, enjoy it.

    Despite the uselessly heated debate raging above, I just wanted to chime in to say I enjoyed reading the above article and found the perspective of the author interesting.

    I would consider this switch but what is the best replacement for iCloud's photostream?

    Don't fool yourself. The only reason you switched is because you are bored.


    I'm actually about to go BACK to iOS (from Windows Phone 8) when the 5S comes out. Mainly BECAUSE they've made some decent changes.

    Are those changes stuff most people already had on Android (and Windows Phone)? Yes. Does that mean they're not welcome when combined with Apple's hardware and ecosystem? Hell no.

    I'm a bit of a "design guy" if you will, and Android's lack of an aesthetic theme was a massive turn off for me. It's also a major reason I went Windows Phone. It's still the hottest looking OS to date. But at least Apple has finally ditched skeumorphic shit and are at least trying to get the looks more uniform.

    For me personally, they've done JUST enough to get me back. I'm looking forward to it.

    I kinda agree with the article. I think the 3GS was the best iPhone.

    lol Useless innovations like "Frosted glass" that just consume resources....
    you mean like Androids animated backgrounds? or like how you have a standard multipage app screen or then you can open them all up again in a list.

    Speaking of switching brands... does anyone know if the bluetooth issues for in-car bluetooth has been fixed with the S4? It's plagued the S2 and S3 models.. I'm happy with Galaxy in general.. but one thing I really hate is that I can use it to connect to my in-car handsfree..

      I use S4 in Mazda6 2012, no problems at all.

    No one has mentioned Windows Phone in this whole discussion, to begin I will say, I am happy to admit I am most likely biased toward Windows. However in saying that I has used Android on my S3 for work and while some things are better most are not, particularly the home screen design and apps seem abit clumsy so I'm surprised the author moved to Google. Perhaps he should have considered Windows as well.

    You're going to Andriod, and I'm coming back to iOS... I gave Android (actually Samsung) a solid go and tricked my SGS3 LTE up so it did everything I wanted. I had to root it and install heaps of custom apps to trick it up to do things like, not drain the battery all day just because WIFI was on, or allow voice dialing from the Lock screen! Android manufacturers really need to pick up the game a bit... I was so disappointed with what should be an absolutely awesome mobile OS and phone...

    Then ... it died with Sudden Death Syndrome and is now unrecoverable (yes... will not flash any sort of firmware including stock). Now, i long for the new iPhone... it just works how I need it to, like the ability to use bluetooth voice dialing in the car without having to disable my lock screen.... so simple, yet no Android phone will do it for me! (If there is, please kindly point it out to me).

      And yet, the ability to bluetooth a photo from iOS is still lacking, something I was doing with my old WinCE devices, and have been able to do with EVERY device I've owned since ...

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