Category Archives: Telecommunications

Paranoid Android

Two years ago I finally convinced my wife that we should trade in our lame feature phones for a couple of nice, capable smartphones. I had been making the case for months that we should have our calendars digital and synced with each other. This came to a head when we double-booked a weekend back in the summer of 2010 in which we were supposed to be a.) on vacation in Cape May, N.J., for an extended weekend, and b.) attending our close friends’ 25th wedding anniversary party. The result? We drove to the shore, and we attended the party. Attending the party required us to give up an entire day of our vacation; missing the party was not an option. I had the vacation on my calendar, she had the party on her calendar. I rested my case.

So began the quest for finding the best smartphone available. I had whittled the options down to the iPhone 4 and the Droid Incredible. We were Verizon Wireless customers at the time, and the iPhone was still an AT&T exclusive. I was hoping that the Incredible would do the job so we could stay on Verizon’s network, but watching my wife interact with the UI was painful. My wife is a very smart person, but she found the Incredible’s UI navigation to be, well, not so incredible. When she picked up the iPhone, however, she quickly was able to find her way around. It was a done deal. We were getting iPhones. In fact, she loved the device so much that she recommended it to our friends, and many of them now have iPhones. Quite a stark contrast from her protest just a few months prior!

That was two years ago. Now, our two-year contract is up, and we’ve found AT&T’s signal to be atrocious in many of the areas we travel. It’s particularly bad at our home, so I installed a 3G Microcell device that basically turned our iPhones into VoIP phones. (AT&T charged me $150 for the device, when in fact they should have paid me! But that’s a story for another day.) It’s really great, when it works. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and that causes me a lot of grief. We are unquestionably switching back to Verizon.

I could have gotten an Android device on AT&T’s network for myself, but I hesitated, because:

At this point, though, I’m ready to ditch Apple. If my wife decides to get a new iPhone (and she can now that the iPhone is no longer exclusive to AT&T), she knows the UI inside and out, and doesn’t need my help. And that’s exactly why I don’t want a new iPhone. Sure, they still make an incredible piece of hardware, but iOS is getting pretty tired. People obviously are eating it up, but I keep wanting more from my phone and Apple just isn’t doing it for me these days. Meanwhile, Android has made huge strides in the last two years, and that’s what I like to see — progress! Android still has challenges with OS fragmentation and carrier rollout of updates, but Apple withholds many new iOS features from older devices. For example, when iOS 5 came out, my iPhone 4 didn’t get Siri. Sure, many people will tell you that Siri sucks, but I never got the chance to judge for myself. Fragmentation, anyone? Oh, and don’t get me started on those stupid new connectors that require a $30 adapter to use older cables, or the big maps failure.

What I want more than anything is a Nexus phone on Verizon’s network — if for nothing else, to minimize OS fragmentation and reduce carrier influence over the device. But, based on the rumors I’ve been reading online, the upcoming Nexus phone might not make it onto Verizon’s network and/or not have MicroSD support. If any of this materializes, I will likely end up with the Droid Razr HD (unless someone can talk me out of it). It’s also tempting to grab the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on the cheap, but there is no guarantee that it will continue to be a candidate for future Android releases.

I have another week or two to mull over the options. Hopefully some fresh details will emerge about the upcoming Nexus phone. After the new phones are purchased, I will post a review.