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Considering Android

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
I'm grudgingly considering an Android phone. I currently have an iPhone 3G and my wife has my original-gen iPhone, and my 2-year contract will be up at the end of November iirc. I'm pretty sure that she'll end up with an iPhone 4 and be pleased as punch with it, but I'm still on the fence.

Why am I considering switching despite my professed love for Apple? I have a few reasons:



1) I'd like to give Verizon a try instead of ATT even though I don't drop a tremendous number of calls--hell, I rarely make calls in the first place.


Motorola Droid X with it's 4.3" screen


The similarly 4.3"-screened HTC EVO 4G with the ginormous Dell Streak and its 5" screen on the right

2) I'm intrigued by the concept of big phones with screens larger than the iPhone's 3.5", high-ppi "Retina Display" or not. In particular, the 4.3" Droid X/EVO 4G and the 5" (! but crappy otherwise) Dell Streak are interesting beasts, especially considering that I'm a guy whose clothing has big pockets.



3) Almost all of my data is already in the Google cloud: Gmail, Google Docs, and, now, as of tonight, my calendar (migrated from me.com) and address book (ditto) via Google Sync.


Built-in Google Maps Navigation on Android

4) The most expensive/only > $5 app that I bought for my iPhone, Navigon MobileNavigator, is buggy and likes to suck up batteries and crash, yet its functionality of turn-by-turn navi would be built-in to an Android unit.


An illustration of the actions that could be set to be triggered by any number of things as varied as plugging in the phone, the phone noticing that you're physically at work, or setting it down on a table on its side or downwards.

5) The rules-based automation capability via apps in Android (e.g. turn your phone to silent just by turning it downwards on its face) is something that I could get into. I could see myself defining rules for home, work, in the car, waiting for the LIRR, and possibly other scenarios.


Android timeline.

6) Hardware continually is advancing on the Android side, and at least at this moment the iPhone 4 and the cream of the Android crop (Droid X and EVO 4G) seem to be neck and neck. By the time my contract is up in November either FroYo should be out officially for the Droid X or the next, faster/better/brighter/more shiny thing will be on the near-term horizon.

The iPhone 4's time to shine is now, but I'm not just tremendously excited about it even though it does bring some nice features to the table (its display, FaceTime video chat, pretty form factor).

Also with regard to hardware, the big downside of the Droid X/EVO 4G, battery life, is addressable with larger, aftermarket battery packs, and, as I mentioned above, I'm a guy whose clothing generally has roomy pockets--no tight jeans for me, thanks.



All this said, I might end up going to the Apple Store, playing with an iPhone 4, and totally falling for it. I'd be ok with that, and the video chat, gyroscope, fancy display, and the ability to work seamlessly with my current apps, music, and mail/calendar accounts setup would be nice. On the other hand, once FroYo is out widely in the wild, supported on the latest hardware, you might just see me using something less elegant but more flexible… hmm.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
Good comparisons.

Here in France the networks are all pretty much the same and iPhones can be bought through any of them, so that doesn't matter. But that aside, I'm in a similar boat as you.

I'll still probably end up with an iPhone 4...
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
My most recent debacle was the last straw for me. My phone stopped booting, so I had to restore it. Only you can't restore to old versions of iOS, so I had to upgrade. I could have worked around it to upgrade to an old version but I decided to give it a try.

I immediately lost all of my cell data, requiring a third party APN (which is still the case - without the third party APN, I have no cell data), there is still no jailbreak for iOS4 on my 3GS, which means I can't use my Google Voice app or my other unapproved apps. The lack of jailbreak isn't directly Apple's fault, but I wouldn't need it if they didn't restrict applications.

The other thing that really interests me is that I get some flexibility on Android - and not just in the OS, which is obvious. I think I posted this on one of your Facebook threads, but it means that if my needs or wants change, I can switch hardware to suit. If I end up needing a physical keyboard, it's there. If I want a giant screen, it's there. If I want a tiny phone, I can have one - and still keep all of my apps.

I'm just tired of the proprietary, "I will decide what you need" attitude. Plus AT&T effing blows.

Contract ends Sept. 1 and I'll be phone shopping. The Samsung Galaxy S series (on Verizon, the Fascinate) looks really sweet.

edit: though I will say, if what you want is a candybar phone w/ 3.5" screen, the physical form factor of the iPhone 4 can't be beat anywhere. Wish HTC or someone would hire Apple's industrial designer. Just not their antenna engineer.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
I'm more interested in the (Motorola) Droid X than the Samsung products, as the Droid series seems to have better community support and Moto is quicker at getting firmware updates out than Samsung from what I read. I'm waiting until 100% official FroYo is supported btw.

With regard to "locked down phones", make sure to read the fine print: looks like rooting Android phones has issues, just as jailbreaking iOS phones does. Ex: bootloader on Droid X potentially bricking phones running non-signed code...
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC


Fixing this particular issue is only putting a band-aid over the fundamental problem with Apple's choice of how they run their devices.

Also, rooting isn't equivalent to jailbreaking. You have to jailbreak in order to run a multitude of apps that should be available to end users. They're not dangerous or problematic. Many don't interact with the underlying OS at all. Heck, even the ones that do would be more stable if the developers got a larger audience to work with.

On Android phones, pretty much anything with a driver can be driven by non-root applications. You only need root for mucking around with the operating system and a select few applications.

I've heard the same with Moto vs. Samsung, but it appears that Samsung is trying to drive a stake into the ground and claim some territory with their Galaxy-series phones. I'm guessing you'll see better and faster support from them on these phones. Time will tell.
 
Droid x kicks butt. I had the iphone 1,2,3 and the storm. Motorola droid, an htc, and a few others my wife has the new mytouch and i just got the X and love it....... im typing this from it. I like it better than the i phone the turn by turn gps rocks plenty of apps themes update is coming... it took the original aced the flaws, put it on steroids and made it better....
 

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
8,653
579
Karori, Poneke Te Ika-a-Maui
Android would be cool but I'm a bit worried by the amount of spyware that comes bundled into the apps.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/3972405/Your-smartphone-is-watching-you

Lookout found that nearly a quarter of the iPhone apps and almost half the Android apps contained software code that contained those capabilities.

The code had been written by the third parties and inserted into the applications by the developers, usually for a specific purpose, such as allowing the applications to run ads. But the code winds up forcing the application to collect more data on users than even the developers may realise, Lookout executives said.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
Android would be cool but I'm a bit worried by the amount of spyware that comes bundled into the apps.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/3972405/Your-smartphone-is-watching-you
I have a little trouble with articles like that... a lot of apps are designed to fit in the category of what they are calling spyware. If I install an app that syncs photos with my contacts, for instance, it appears that they're calling that spyware because it has access to my contacts. Sure, it probably has more access to my contacts than it needs to, but saying that "half the android apps have spyware" or "a quarter of the iPhone apps have spyware" is completely misleading.

Android will be more affected because Apple simply doesn't allow that level of interaction in the operating system for better or worse.
 
AAHHH downloaded topographical maps today that load to the SD card so I can use GPS out of service range... Also some cool make the wife happy on trip apps "PRICELESS".

A littel big but thats justified and wel worth it... Im upgrading to a bigger Mem. card so I can load movies and games and really maximise it....
 
I've got the DroidX and it is my 1st android phone. I switched over from a Blackberry Curve. Like you, my email/calender/pictures are with google and it integrated seamlessly with the DroidX. Verizon will be pushing out v2.2 Froyo in August and will make the phone even better. I love the size and clarity of the screen. Touch gestures are similar to the iphone and register's accurately. Texting in landscape mode is fast and easy. The biggest disadvantage is the battery life. The stock battery lasts maybe 12hrs with my current level of use. I'll be upgrading to the higher capacity battery when it comes out.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
So no higher capacity battery is out yet? I saw one for the EVO 4G. I'll also believe the FroYo update only when it's officially out. Until then it's all rumors.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
I have a coworker with a new Droid X (and another one with an Evo but I'm not interested in Sprint).

Initially I was appalled at how big the two devices were... but I'm less put off by it after using one for a little while. Still not sure I want a device quite that big, though.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
The ultimate test will be me playing with the devices in a store and seeing how they stack up to my usage, but from what I've seen I'm not sure that the level of Android UI polish is up to snuff. Things in particular that I noticed from the video in no particular order:

- Android social network client looked half-assed. Even the touch.facebook.com interface is much better than a list of updates with lots of wasted clear space on a black background.
- Android interface elements look very large in relation to screen size for no particular reason. Large text here and there, large status bar at the top, wasted space all over the place in the UI except for in widgets, which have no UI and instead are just blocks, literally rectangles, of content.
- Live resizing of Android widgets is pretty cool, and having the ability to turn GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth on/off from a home screen is nice. Having a battery sufficiently large enough such that one can leave them on always and still have a good amount of usage is better yet, tho.
- What the hell is this media browser thing on the Droid X? Navigating through directory structures on network shares reminds me of X Windows file open modal dialogs, and that's not a good thing. So not polished, and then the video author had to hit the back button a dozen times to get out of the thing.
- Why is inertial scrolling apparently not implemented system-wide in Android? Although there doesn't seem to be lag, which is nice, it doesn't have the same (exaggerated?) inertial scrolling effect that iOS clearly offers. I like that effect when flipping through this or that with one's finger
- Android email client definitely uses screen real estate well in that the whole screen is message titles. However, it seems to do jack squat with all this real estate, instead giving a large font rendering of the subject, taking up a whole line with the sender, and having no preview of the message. Stupid. I trust this can be changed here or there but why is it like this out of the box?
- Droid X low light video is unusable, and the good-light video was noticeably lower in resolution. Not a huge deal to me since I don't think I'd be using this feature all that often at all. Still cameras seemed more or less equivalent.
- Android landscape keyboard only offers one line of huge-ass text visible, with the spelling suggestions and a giant keyboard taking up all the rest of the space. This reminds me very much of the Maemo keyboard on my old Nokia N710 or whatever it was. That keyboard sucked. I want to see more of the page and less of the keyboard, thanks. I use my iPhone in portrait mostly for this very reason.
- App collections/"folders" in iOS 4 look like ass.
- I want widgets on the iPhone, at least for the lock screen. I'd like weather and upcoming calendar events.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
I want widgets on the iPhone, at least for the lock screen. I'd like weather and upcoming calendar events.
I found what I wanted: downloaded lockinfo from Cydia, grabbed the weather module from within lockinfo, turned off the native lock screen clock, and reordered the modules/picked how many days of calendar events to display. Booyah.

 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
You'll have to post up if you continue to like that module.

I found it to be slow and buggy. It would occasionally cause my phone to not wake up, and sometimes it would wake up but freeze the phone. I tried a restore/re-jailbreak/reinstall, but it did not help.

Also, since the module doesn't actually run in the background, it only updates weather when you wake the phone up. That made the module essentially useless since I could have unlocked the phone and launched a weather app in the time it took me to wake the phone up and stare at it, waiting for an update. The screen would often time out before it updated.
 
Been playing with hte video and pics editing and importing and Im pretty amazed at what its putting out for a phone... Videos look fidgity when recording on screen but its smooth panning when played back so dont let whats happening on hte screen while recording fool you... And Im not much on these but Id like to tether to my laptop and I know theres a way to go around and do it via non monthly $... Any help is appreciated I also downloaded the topographical maps so I can pick and create my map and use GPS while DHn single track in N Idaho and upload the maps for others...

Love this phone so far best one to date... Cant wait for the update (dont know what it does but its one more thing for this thing :D)
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,764
0
Vestal, NY
I realize I'm a little late to the party, but I'm here and I've got my Droid X with me. If you've got any questions, let me know. My only real complaint is the turn-by-turn nav... the routes it picks NEVER make sense. Do they get me there? Sure, but my garmin is MUCH better.

And I got used to the size in about 10 minutes. Typing is better/easier than my iPod Touch, swipe ROCKS!, and the bigger screen is noticeably better for multimedia and web browsing.

Battery life isn't great, but with a task manager app it can be reasonable.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
My only real complaint is the turn-by-turn nav... the routes it picks NEVER make sense. Do they get me there? Sure, but my garmin is MUCH better.
Have you ever checked the route against Google Maps online? I am assuming it picks the same route?

I've noticed that different mapping programs are better for different locales. Google Maps seems to work well in this area.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
Droid X on order.

I schmoozed the Verizon guy quite a bit, too, ended up with some nice discounts on service & accessories, no activation fees, and a discount on the phones.

Very excited :monkeydance:
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
Let me know how it works out for you… I'm still on the fence. I need to play with both devices in person for a while to see how they feel.

In the meantime I'm going to downgrade my iPhone 3G to iOS 3.1.3 since iOS 4 is so slow :D
 
Let me know how it works out for you… I'm still on the fence. I need to play with both devices in person for a while to see how they feel.

In the meantime I'm going to downgrade my iPhone 3G to iOS 3.1.3 since iOS 4 is so slow :D
Had the Iphones since releasee and after droid X I will not be going back.... The DX kicks massive @$$, screen, ease of use, on screen keyboard, apps available, True GPS not cell assisted only, Its the only phone I get more excited day to day with new aps and uses.
Downloada some traditional ringtones and that bout made it perfect...:thumb:
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
True GPS not cell assisted only
As opposed to...? Every smartphone on the market has an AGPS chip in it now, so it gets "true" GPS as well as cell assisted.

Let me know how it works out for you… I'm still on the fence. I need to play with both devices in person for a while to see how they feel.
The one thing I will say is, try to separate out real usability frustrations from issues of it just operating differently from the iPhone. The first time I played with one I walked away with a little bit of a negative feeling. Then a guy at work got one and let me play for a while and I started seeing that the majority of what I "didn't like" actually was just fine, it just wasn't how the iPhone operated.

Most everything is menu driven if something isn't on the screen. Not horrible, Windows Mobile menus. Well designed touchscreen menus, but still, that's not how the iPhone works. There are advantages and disadvantages to that - the disadvantage being, buttons don't always pop up right in front of you. They're often in the menu. But the advantage is that you don't have the maddening, multi-layered hunt for settings or options. After some use, I personally don't mind the menus.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,764
0
Vestal, NY
Have you ever checked the route against Google Maps online? I am assuming it picks the same route?

I've noticed that different mapping programs are better for different locales. Google Maps seems to work well in this area.
No, I haven't. I don't have internet at home, and that's something I rarely think about at work. Today is busy, but now that you got me thinking about it...

EDIT
I just checked a couple of routes, and yes... it does seem to pick up the same routes google maps uses.
 
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binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
Excellent. I'm okay with that: my iPhone uses Google routes and I often use Google routes at home. They aren't always perfect but they're generally good for this area.

Thanks for checking :thumb:
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
55,848
4,788
media blackout
droid 2 is official. online pre-orders now, available in store thursday.

also a limited edition R2-D2 Droid 2 will be available online only.


big red has upped their ante and is allowing anyone that is up for renewal by the end of the year to upgrade to android smartphones now.


HOWEVER - a leak of a supposed Droid Pro worldphone has come out. All that's known about it is that it will have a 4" screen and a 1.3ghz processor, and should be available in November.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,764
0
Vestal, NY
big red has upped their ante and is allowing anyone that is up for renewal by the end of the year to upgrade to android smartphones now.
This has been on the table for a few months now, but (unless things have changed), what's billed as "anyone" is actually "by invitation only". I tried to get in on it and was denied.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
55,848
4,788
media blackout
This has been on the table for a few months now, but (unless things have changed), what's billed as "anyone" is actually "by invitation only". I tried to get in on it and was denied.
Nerd must have of the year. :rolleyes:

I just want my Froyo. :rant:
http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/10/motorola-droid-2-and-r2-d2-edition-finally-official-android/

In addition, current Verizon Wireless customers who have contracts ending by December 31, 2010, can upgrade to any smartphone, including DROID 2, without penalty.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,614
1,923
HOWEVER - a leak of a supposed Droid Pro worldphone has come out. All that's known about it is that it will have a 4" screen and a 1.3ghz processor, and should be available in November.
That's another thing that actually bugs me a bit about the Android world: constant product releases. Choice breeds innovation yadda yadda but it's nice, on the other hand, to know that the iPhone won't be superceded until the next greatest thing the following July. This also ties into support for a stable platform vs. shooting for a moving target, etc.
 
droid 2 is official. online pre-orders now, available in store thursday.

also a limited edition R2-D2 Droid 2 will be available online only.


big red has upped their ante and is allowing anyone that is up for renewal by the end of the year to upgrade to android smartphones now.


HOWEVER - a leak of a supposed Droid Pro worldphone has come out. All that's known about it is that it will have a 4" screen and a 1.3ghz processor, and should be available in November.
Ehhh they need to keep the sliding keyboard off these things... Hated that on the original moto droid...
1.3 MMMM global phone MMMM Global radio MMMMM new and shiny MMMMM.

Mines still shiny and new so Ill MMMMM mine for a bit...
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
Choice breeds innovation yadda yadda but it's nice, on the other hand, to know that the iPhone won't be superceded until the next greatest thing the following July.
Why does it matter if it's superseded?

That's only a perceptual issue. I admire the next newest/shiny/interesting toy as much as anyone but I'm not going to buy into a platform deliberately because there are fewer product releases. The iPhone's hardware is still getting obsoleted with newer phone releases, you just don't have the choice to buy into them without switching systems.

The newest phone releases aren't doing anything to the hardware that affects app compatibility or OS compatibility/stability (or, really, anything to do with the OS at all). Just faster hardware or a different feature set or a different sized screen. There's no downside here: only presenting you with an option.

I'd be interested in the Droid Pro if it does indeed have the global radio and a navigation device (i.e. trackpad, optical joystick, etc.). I think the 4" screen is about the perfect screen size - but only the Samsung Galaxy S line is coming with that size screen and they seem to be having GPS problems, not to mention Verizon's version is nowhere to be seen.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
55,848
4,788
media blackout
Ehhh they need to keep the sliding keyboard off these things... Hated that on the original moto droid...
1.3 MMMM global phone MMMM Global radio MMMMM new and shiny MMMMM.

Mines still shiny and new so Ill MMMMM mine for a bit...
admittedly the keyboard on the droid 1 sucked. but i have sausage fingers, and so do many others. for us, virtual keyboards are an achilles.

Not only that, many power users often type without looking at the keyboard. this can be accomplished more easily with a physical keyboard while retaining high accuracy than on a virtual keyboard.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
55,848
4,788
media blackout
That's another thing that actually bugs me a bit about the Android world: constant product releases. Choice breeds innovation yadda yadda but it's nice, on the other hand, to know that the iPhone won't be superceded until the next greatest thing the following July. This also ties into support for a stable platform vs. shooting for a moving target, etc.
there's a difference between waiting until there are enough substantial upgrades to warrant a new piece of hardware vs releasing new hardware for the sake of new hardware, vs deliberately holding out hardware upgrades in order to be the sole manufacturer of your device and inspiring mindless repeat purchases for the frothing masses.

fragmentation is a known potential issue for android and it seems google is attempting to address it. i think (hope) in the future we'll see fewer iterations of hardware for the android platform. but not to the extent of only releasing 1 new piece of hardware annually.

right now they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, android releasing new hardware too frequently, apple not frequently enough.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
fragmentation is a known potential issue for android and it seems google is attempting to address it. i think (hope) in the future we'll see fewer iterations of hardware for the android platform. but not to the extent of only releasing 1 new piece of hardware annually.
I'm sure there will be some minor slowdown but I seriously doubt you'll see too much of a dent in it. This is a platform for all carriers that can run lots of different hardware. Why would there be any kind of control to the hardware releases?

Fragmentation should be addressed by the OS and by setting some standards, not by controlling the hardware releases. Set some screen resolution standards, reduce the number of custom manufacturer skins on top of an OS that is plenty good by itself, and make sure there are standards-compliant ways to address the hardware to reduce chances that apps won't work. Then let the hardware run wild - it's only providing choice as long as there are some reasonable ways to make sure the platform doesn't completely splinter.
 

I.van

Monkey
Apr 15, 2007
188
0
Australia
That's another thing that actually bugs me a bit about the Android world: constant product releases. Choice breeds innovation yadda yadda but it's nice, on the other hand, to know that the iPhone won't be superceded until the next greatest thing the following July. This also ties into support for a stable platform vs. shooting for a moving target, etc.
As Binary has said, there is no downside to the constant innovation by several manufacturers taking place in the 'android world'. when you buy a Phone, you should be happy that your able to buy one with the most up to date technology, rather than be happy that your tech is a year old, but the same price. Apple's rigid and slow timing of product upgrades will only work for them as a business if they are always the most innovative and reliable, I think this has been the case with the 3G and 3GS, but with the 4 they are neither.

A few months ago I couldn't wait for an Iphone 4, so I bought a HTC desire and am very happy with it.
 
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