Experimenting with Android and virtual reality

After listening to the announcements at the recently held Google I/O, which you can read a summarized version of here, I decided to buy an Android phone. I bought the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and have been using it for the last week.

I have been an iPhone user for about 8 years now. And although I’m not permanently moving away from the iPhone, I’ve decided that I need to also use an Android phone. I’ll be experimenting with using both over the next few months before deciding whether to continue using both or to stick with just one. There are two reasons why I’ve also started using an Android phone.

The first and most important reason is that I want to be able to use the Google assistant. I believe that artificial intelligence has the potential to massively improve our lives (although it does carry risks) and that Google is best positioned to deliver it to the masses. Given the company’s background and expertise in crunching massive sets of data to produce machine learning which is used to deliver a better user experience, Google is better positioned than Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft to deliver a medium-agnostic (whether smartphone, messaging app, home device, or other) artificial intelligence assistant. Even if smartphones remain the dominant medium in the future and Apple limits the Google assistant’s distribution on iPhones (or the distribution of its full capabilities), iPhone users may eventually switch over to Android phones to access the Google assistant. This assumes that the Google assistant is good enough to warrant the switch, which I believe it will be.

The second reason is that I want to keep up with developments in virtual reality and its use cases. I had tried and enjoyed the limited range of experiences available on Google Cardboard a few months ago, and wanted to upgrade to a more capable virtual reality headset. That headset is the Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus), which works with Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, and Note devices, but doesn’t work with an iPhone. Although not as capable as the Oculus Rift which I have yet to try, the Samsung Gear VR is easier to use because it isn’t tethered to a computer.

I’ve enjoyed the first Android experiences that I’ve had with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and its VR headset, and look forward to experimenting further.

Also published on Medium.