Category: Cell Phone

Galaxy Nexus first impressions

So I’ve been rocking the Galaxy Nexus for about a month now… some thoughts…

  • This is one large screen. Contrary to my initial thoughts, it’s not overkill or just plain ridiculous. I am going to get used to this real quick!
  • Biggest disadvantage with the size is that it feels the balance is off. There have been a couple of times when I will almost dropped it when operating with 1 hand
  • Man this thing is *thin*, I can barely feel it in my pocket. The Pre while relatively unobtrusive, I always knew it was there… the Arrive, well let’s hope Nokia can produce some better form factors
  • The reboot is fast! Love it!
  • I continue to marvel at the multitasking implentation of WebOS, Ice Cream Sandwich is not bad, but still nowhere near as easy, fast or smooth as WebOS cards. HP really fucked this one up. I really hope that Microsoft is able to make a go of Windows Phone – in part because I really like the vision and where Microsoft is taking it, and in part I want to make it clear to HP that you can take an OS with paltry market share and build it into something reasonable with a little commitment!
  • It rotates 90 degrees and 270 degrees but not 180 degrees. There is no landscape view for the launcher. After using my Pre I should be used to this but after using my iPad its seems quite glaring in its absence
  • The volume rocker is too easy to hit, no matter how often I turn it up, it feels like the volume is permanently too low or muted
  • The battery life is utter and complete dog shit. I have been debating if this is a deal breaker for me but since I just passed my 30 days, I guess I am stuck. I will have to look into some of the extended batteries I have recently seen on the market for this phone.

Windows Phone, final thoughts…

Ok, well I’ve had this phone for almost three weeks and am less optimistic about it than when I started.

Physical Keyboard
Let’s hear it for the Pre and vertical integration. It is clear that Microsoft didn’t design Windows Phone assuming that a keyboard would be present all the time. There are many places when typing on the keyboard did nothing useful or nothing at all. The Pre was not like this, the physical keyboard added value everywhere. Also, on certain screens (say, when I hit the search button or entered the Evernote app), there is nothing to do except type in a text box. Why do I have to click on the text box before it will let me actually enter text? There is nothing else to do on these screens. Save me a step and have the focus defaulted.

Another example is universal search from anywhere. I had not realized how completely unweildy my contacts had become, it’s actually a complete mess. But I never noticed it before now because I always “just typed” my contacts names instead of scrolling through a giant list of death to find it (on that note, I really miss the first initial-last name method of searching for names, it really worked really well).

Coming from Pre, I was loathe to give up my physical keyboard because it was so excellently integrated. Here it just feels tacked on, and almost leaves me open to consider going without.

The only way to turn on the Arrive is via the power button, a tiny ass little thing at the top which is not simple to find just by touch. After having a home button and a keyboard and a slider, all of which turned on the screen, this just felt limiting. Actually a physical home button would really have helped with the accidental touches with that.

Windows Phone App Structure
One thing which I find troubling about Windows Phone is that the experience relies greatly on the core apps and their integration into each other and the social media sites. This reduces the value of third party apps to provide functionality because the core apps do so much. While fully functional core apps are great, this setup leaves me concerned for the following reason – It places the onus solely on Microsoft to provide functionality upgrades and feature enhancements. I find it hard to believe that Microsoft can innovate as fast as an army of third party developers and leaves me concerned that the UI will be permanently behind the curve.

The funny thing is, it feels like if they tried pulling some of these shenanigans on Windows, they would get slapped for trying to block out third parties and being anti-competitive.

Google Calendar
Seriously? Win Phone would only sync to my primary Google calendar. I use Google pretty extensively for my cloud data needs and this shortcoming, while seemingly simple (and admittedly, is recoverable with some time and effort), makes it hard to overcome. It the rest of the system was so jaw droppingly awesome, then maybe I would take the time and effort to change my cloud data to conform to Microsoft’s expectation, but we are definitely there yet!

In conclusion…
Overall I was left feeling that Windows Phone is a solid effort, a worthy future contender but still just too rough a cut to consider now – kind of like how WebOS was when it was released. Everything that I have read about Mango, seems it wil address some but not enough of the shortcomings. In any case it won’t come before my 30 days are up and I don’t want to wait.

I am going to revert back to my Pre. I’m tired of having my OS of choice mature as I use it and still feel like using iOS means I am joining the Borg so will probably just wait for the next greatest Android superphone and see how the majority of smartphone users live.

Finally making the leap to a new cell phone

While I love my phone (the original Palm Pre on Sprint), it is feeling very long in the tooth and I am dying for something new. After all this HP madness it is pretty clear that the Pre 3 is never going to see the light of day and so I have to open myself up to trying out something new.

While there are so many options out there for cell phone OSs, there is not a lot that is really jumping out at me… I have minimal experience with any of these but these are my initial impressions…
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Resetting my Treo

The last time I had to hard reset a Palm device some years back, re-synching the device was a bit of a pain. After the initial sync, the core data restored fine but many of my applications had to be reinstalled and all of my personalization settings had to be redone. All in all, it was a ~2 hour process and required many multiple syncs before it was in its pre-crash state again.

But the Palm sync software has come a long way since then. Now, after hard-resetting my Treo, I synched and *everything* was restored to its original state on the first sync – no muss, no fuss. It was a truly painless process.

Some initial thoughts on Cingular

After much waffling I finally switched my cell phone from Verizon to Cingular…

Some thoughts.

The main reason I switched is that Cingular’s coverage on campus is *far* *far* better than Verizon’s… I guess the deal was that AT&T laid all the fiber here so AT&T Wireless was the only company that got to set up cell towers. As a result, especially in the GSB buildings, all non-Cingular cell reception *SUCKS*. That being said, in my first week or so with Cingular I still experienced dead zones and I was missing tons of calls even though my phone showed 3-4 signal bars… but apparently the network was experiencing problems and these types of problems were very widespread. It’s better now.

Off campus is an improvement too… Cingular’s coverage is insanely better than their coverage about 2 years back… in 95% of the cases, I think that Cingular’s coverage is as good as Verizon.

Other improvements from Verizon – my phone now picks up a signal faster, makes data connections faster and after it is turned on, tells me I have voicemail faster that it did on Verizon. However, in all three of these cases, I am more likely to attribute this to a newer, faster phone than the network. Verizon also carries the same phone so I wouldn’t consider this an advantage.

Also, since the school has an account with Cingular, I get to talk to the business account managers when speaking to customer service. Being able to bypass the uneducated sales droids that they get to staff the general consumer lines has been a *dream*!! The only mistake I made was to purchase my phone at the Cingular store. They offer higher rates than their own company’s website, take the demographic information you give them and screw it up, put you on different plans than you asked for, give you wrong information on what specials they offer than lie to you when you ask them about it.

I know better but was seduced by my desire for instant gratification… order off the web and avoid my mistake…

New and improved handsfree headset

New and improved handsfree headset
My buddy Derek is always giving me a hard time about my crappy cell phone headsets. To date I have been unable to find one that I like that is comfortable, easy to put on and take off, doesn’t look super-geeky and sounds good to both parties – if anyone knows of such a beast, PLEASE let me know!

In any case, he thinks he has found the ideal low budget solution for me with this surreptitious snapshot he took while walking back from a Giants game.