4 Ways Android Makes Me A More Innovative Game Designer

During an on-site meeting this morning, a client looked at my Galaxy S5 and asked me why I’m an Android guy.

Now, up until last year I was an iPhone fan and (aside from a brief flirtation with a Galaxy S2 a few years ago) I’d been a devoted user ever since the launch of the original iPhone.

Even when I switched to a Galaxy S4 in the summer of 2013, it was primarily just to learn about the Android ecosystem first-hand. As a freemium game consultant, it seemed foolhardy to confine myself to one OS.

Moreover, companies like Kiwi (a client of ours) were building businesses entirely around an Android-first approach, making it imperative that our consultancy understand the platform.

So what did I give my client as the most important reason I’m an Android guy and won’t be going back?

Android is the platform that gets innovation first.

What that means for me (and my company) is that I’ve already owned two generations of smartwatches and will likely be on my third by the time Apple Watch is released in 2015. I have an excellent understanding of what games might work and which won’t on a smartwatch’s form factor.

It means that I’ve owned and played with phablets, testing their potential as gaming devices. I’ve been to Asia and seen diminutive Thai women strolling about while nonchalantly holding a 6″ screen to their ear. That’s the future.

It means that AC+A, my mobile game design consultancy, is about to do a Gear VR project and I already have experience with the Galaxy Note 3, having written an extensive review of it for a Canadian carrier. So when I switch to the Note 4 (which Gear VR uses as its display) as my primary phone for the next few months, I can build upon my previous experience with the device.

It means that I’ve already bought and tested NFC stickers to automate various tasks on my phone simply by tapping the tags themselves. Apple devices have steadfastly refused to support NFC until recently. If I’d waited until Apple gave me a platform to experiment with, I’d be a good two years or more behind my competition.

Coincidentally, using NFC stickers as part of a business-oriented training game came up in today’s meeting. Luckily, I was able to jump in and talk about the practical pros and cons of NFC, having tested it numerous times myself, thanks to Android.

While I still recommend developing for iOS first, Android later, for our skills and services remain relevant to clients I absolutely prefer Android as my primary personal platform. And after Apple’s recent launch event, where years-old Android technology was rolled out as “innovative,” that’s never been more true.