I went two weeks with a dumb phone (a phone that isn’t a smart phone). I went from the Sprint HTC Evo 4G to a Samsung Rant, which in its own rights was a great phone when it came out. However, “3 years in cell phone years is like 60 people years.” As noted by my good friend Dan Savlon.
It wore on me quickly. I initially fought the urge to want a smart phone again, I wanted to force myself to use this one and be content. It didn’t last long. Two weeks later I jumped into the Sprint HTC Evo 3D running Google Android. I learned some things along the way that truly justify a smart phone, and prove that I’m not just a spoiled brat.
Know your where. I don’t get lost often, but I was exploring a new area with my old phone. The Sprint Navigation on the phone is horrendous. Once I know where I want to go it’ll walk me through (usually 100-200 feet behind though, which is great driving around the city), but just exploring (trying to find a different route to the Cheesecake Factory) it tanked. The small screen makes it difficult to see what’s around me. Also, the Google Maps app for the phone doesn’t know where I am; it’ll do directions but doesn’t pull in my GPS coordinates. Also, I was at a customer and couldn’t simply find stuff around me, I opened Google Maps, then I had to navigate the map to my location then search near me, then once I found something I wanted, Google Maps couldn’t get me there, I had to jump back into Sprint Navigation to get there. Ug…
On the Evo 3D, I get a large screen, and the Google Maps app rocks. Shows exactly where I am, I can search around me for anything I need, and it will then navigate me there flawlessly. That alone makes a smart phone worth it in my book. In addition to getting to where I want, additional apps like Foursquare allow me to have a little fun and share with my friends (I was ousted as major in TWO locations during my 2 week stint).
Get information, fast. I recently ran into car problems and needed a tow, all I had was my Rant. I searched for a tow company using the internet on the phone, which took its sweet time, but found a number for a local place. For some reason, I couldn’t just call it, I had to memorize the number then enter it in and call it. Very frustrating, took a few times to get it right, and each time I had to research for the number since it didn’t keep the window open. Another down side was that my contacts didn’t sync, I had to manually enter the contacts I cared about into the phone. Also there isn’t a calendar.
Back in Droid land, the above isn’t a thought. I can search for info, not just through the web but I can use other apps like Facebook, Yelp (to get some reviews along the way), or target specific apps for specific information like movie times (Fandango). My contacts and calendar sync with Google services and my work email. Oh so lovely.
Get more done. In my above example about Get information, fast, I couldn’t minimize the browser to make a call, it closed every time on the Rant. Same went for the navigation. When I used Sprint Navigation, and then needed to jump out to text someone (not while driving of course) I had to initiate the navigation route all over again. And that’s all the phone could do, there wasn’t much in way of apps on the thing.
This should go without saying, but the Android OS loves multitasking, probably more so than Apple’s iOS. I can run multiple applications simultaneously without issue: I can search the web, find an address, pull it up on Google Maps, check movie times near my destination, text my friend and call my wife without ever having to reopen anything. It’s fantastic.
Fun! Outside of the above, a smart phone can really be a toy. With Angry Birds, Netflix, Google+, Shazam, Skype, and more, it’s a device that can lower stress and give my brain a break once in a while. The Rant didn’t have one full game on it.
I’m a HUGE fan of Microsoft, and almost anything Microsoft does (except for Windows Media Player, still lacking). Ask my friends, I can get a little carried away with it. I’ve always been a fan of Windows Mobile. It is a work horse of an OS for a phone and always ran great for me. I’ve always had more issues with hardware than software, so I can’t blame Microsoft. And that leads me to this post.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a trade show and talking with a customer on my HTC Touch with Windows Mobile 6. I love this phone, been my best phone by far. I was getting into my car and my phone slid out of my hand and into a puddle. Picked it up and kept talking with the customer. After I got off with the customer, I popped the cover off and the battery to let it dry out. A little bit later I reassembled my phone and found that the power button was missing. Looking in the hole where the button of power wasn’t, I saw it floating in there. After a few shakes it came out along with what appears to be the little metal piece that should be attached to the circuit board. Needless to say I was sad, I fought off the tears since I was amongst co-workers. Being at a trade show lacking a phone my boss told me to go out and get a new one. Fortunately there was a Sprint store minutes away.
I walked in and simply showed him the phone and begged for another Windows Mobile phone. He said they had none in stock so I went with the best Android phone he had. I walked out shortly thereafter with the HTC Hero. Angered by Sprint and Microsoft for not having more phones available, I left the store in bitter disappointment. My goal was to keep my HTC Touch until Windows Mobile 7 came out. I was hoping that in typical Microsoft fashion (3rd time’s the charm) that Windows Mobile 7 would be the bees knees.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure stuff out, grunting at things it couldn’t do, or at least didn’t seem intuitive. This went on for a long time. A few days later, I dove into the Market Place and boy was I pleased. I downloaded a slew of apps from games to sound boards to mapping and social networking. So much fun! My biggest requirements were met: Exchange Email, Calendar, Contacts; GPS; Web Browsing. So I entertained my fun side and I will admit that I am a fan of this phone! Not only because of the gazillion apps available, but it really is a nice phone all around.
My favorite features
- Screen is large, clear, crisp, bright and has brilliant colors
- 5 mega pixel camera is sweet (had 1.3 before)
- Battery lasts all day even with web browsing, gaming, GPS and calls
- Social networking hooks are easy to use
- Multi-tasking appears simple and keeps running fast
- Don’t have to worry about memory management or where to save stuff, everything goes where it should
Owning an Android has sparked an interest in me to develop an app for it. I have some cool ideas, both business and personal, that I think would be fun to make and I might make a buck or two. I’ll let you know when I roll something out.
Has getting a new phone given me a new lease on life? Meh, I’m not that superficial. Has it opened a new world to explore and experience through a fun and easy to use window called Android? I think so!