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Android in a Apple Environment

by Kerry Dawson

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If you work in a full Apple environment it seems logical that you would have an iPhone. However, it’s not necessary. If you like the way a certain Android phone runs or maybe its price you can easily fit an Android into your Apple environment using cross platform software and networking.

Your Apple Environment

When I refer to your environment as an Apple environment, this might include one or a mix of Apple products that makes up your work environment. At its narrowest you might have a Mac (e.g. Macbook, iMac etc) or at its broadest you might have:

  • an iMac
  • an iPad
  • a Macbook of some kind
  • an AppleTV

and all sync’g. At its simplest, adding an iPhone is the easiest but it might not be the most cost effective or where it comes to a Smartphone you might just prefer the way a certain Android looks and works.

There is no need to limit your phone to an iPhone. It’s possible to have an Android work perfectly well in a Mac environment equally due to networking and cross platform software. All your software doesn’t have to be cross platform but your key software does. If for some reason a piece of software doesn’t work on Android you can see if there is a product that works as well and can be an alternate.

Networking Solutions

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There are two very good networking solutions that will allow your calendars and contacts to sync. My suggestion here is to either use Microsoft’s Exchange or Fruux an open version of the caldav, carddav standards. Fruux is a fast and secure platform that links the major applications in the Mac environment.

To get Exchange I would suggest getting Office 365 which will give you Outlook and this runs fully cross platform. However, let’s say you prefer a couple of the calendaring apps on Android and the same goes with contacts. Exchange will allow you to sync these to your Mac calendars and contacts with full two way sync.

There are other ways of doing this but these are the two most effective. Finally, much software comes with its own built in sync architecture running in both environments. Journey and Day One are good examples of this though Journey currently runs the better of the two.

Software and Cross Platform

There are many software applications designed to run cross platform and you might already be using them. As an example, you can use from a task management perspective:

  • Todoist
  • 2do
  • TickTick
  • Chaos Control

and many more. However, Omnifocus is not cross platform. There is a product called GTDFocus which works with Omnifocus but not identically to the iPhone version. It does work but you might not like the way it works.

If you are a Things 3 user it does not work cross platform so you would need a work around. Ticktick is the most viable and similar to Things 3 but I would say it is far more powerful.

Evernote is fully cross platform but something like DEVONthink isn’t. If you want something that works like DEVONthink then Nimbus Notes would probably meet your needs and is fully cross platform and is easier to understand than DEVONthink. There are a number of other Note apps that are cross platform so it is likely something will satisfy this requirement.

As for a diary, you can use Journey, Day One, Journally or Diaryly. These are all good but my preference here at the moment is Journey due to its functionality while Day One is good but has a touch of a problem. They are currently rebuilding the product to resolve a problem they have.

There is basically cross platform apps in all the areas you work in. Again, the iPhone broadens what’s available but if you really don’t want to use an iPhone there is a way to use an Android quite effectively.

Integration of the two Environments Continues

As we move forward, more software is being made available equally for both environments. New applications to provide services are often released equally for both environments. It is some of the legacy based software that there might be a lag.

Some developers think they can’t make money if they are using Android. This is not an effective way of thinking about this. Android like the iPhone is just the gateway to the platform and it is the data on the platform that people want to get at. As things continue to develop, those that run team software but that exclude Android are excluding themselves from being able to participate in certain activities. It is more the loss of opportunity than the capability Android brings. If people are brought together in a team and the way things are mandated these days it is likely not everyone will have say an iPhone. That means cross platform software needs to be used.

Apple’s Walled Garden Not Impenetrable

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It would be nice if the “walled garden” were to fall. In the long run this would not hurt Apple. They provide top of the line products and those products will sell on their merits. However, if I buy a video or a song (Apple music is now available elsewhere) I should be able to play it on whatever I want.

Even further, let’s say I have an Apple watch but at some point in time choose an Android. The watch is now junk. Not so though with say a Fossil Carlyle a very highly rated watch. It runs on both Android and IOS. This is the way it should be. What this does is hurt Apple watch sales as you could eventually have a piece of junk so it might be wise not to buy it in the first place or if you really want that Android, sell the watch and buy a watch that works in both environments. The Apple watch might loose some functionality running under Android but the tradeoff is fine as opposed to junking the whole thing.

Fortunately, the wall is slowly collapsing. With some of the approaches outlined here there is no reason, unless you want to, to think you’re stuck with everything Apple. For many reasons, the iPhone makes the most sense. However, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Therefore, don’t think you’re trapped. Using the techniques outlined in this article, you can free yourself.

Going with Office 365 for connectivity also brings a lot of fine functionality to your playing field. Microsoft primarily supports Android now and with that comes many benefits. All of Microsoft’s software is available in Office 365. Exchange is a very robust networking protocol. Let’s also say you have a business and want an email ID for the business. You can get this directly from Microsoft using Exchange. This is not half shabby.

Closed systems are exactly that – closed systems. Open systems allow you to plug in the best from differing environments and bring strengths to the table you don’t have in a closed environment. Not everyone can do everything well. Apple does an excellent job with its equipment but there are things Microsoft does well and so does Fossil etc. It is nice to be able to meld these capabilities for a more robust system. Open systems aren’t for everybody but for many they are the answer to system’s solutions that are required for the day.

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