Sunday, November 6, 2011

My first week with Android

I have been using an iPhone since the first day it came out.  Last week I decided to give Android a shot to see what I thought of it.  I ended up buying a Samsung Galaxy S2.

First I found many of the default apps were lacking; but I found good substitutes for all of them.
    • The default email application will not delete emails on an IMAP server.  When you hit delete it will delete them from the message list on the phone, but next time you do a sync they come back.  I replaced the standard email app with K9; a touch ugly but very robust.
    • The default Web Browser is poor to fair.  Every other browser for Android is better including the Firefox Beta, Opera and Dolphin.  I settled in with Dolphin.  Love the Dolphin’s gesture control.
    • The default music app won’t do shuffle (random playing of songs in playlist).  Replaced the default music app with Winamp and Songbird (haven’t decided which one I will stay with).  [When you change the app you will need to go into the settings and tell each app who has the headphone controls (there is not global setting for this).]
    • The default Video Player app will not play MP4s.  Replaced the default player with VPlayer.  VPlayer seems to play all of the videos that I created for the iPhone/iPad.  I also tried RealPlayer but it would not play about half of the MP4s that I made for my iPhone/iPad.
    • Did not like the default SMS program.  Every time I made a message and sent it the keyboard would stay visible; this meant that I could only see the top message or two on the thread.  Probably would not bother anyone else but I changed the Default SMS to Go SMS.
    • Changed out the default Calendar for a better one; Business Calendar.
I was very surprised at the quality of the default applications.  Most of issues I had could be fixed by having options in the settings to enable or disable a feature.  It is almost like some Product Manager somewhere decided to simplify the Default Applications by taking out features I might like or need.

Here are some things I really like in the Android world.
    • I don’t need iTunes.  In an Android you plug your phone into the USB port on a computer and it comes up as a MTP device; like a USB drive.  I made a directory called Music and Videos in my root directory and copied my movies and music to these folders.  And magically they show up in the appropriate apps when the phone is unplugged from the computer.
    • I really like having a real ftp client; I am using AndFTP.  I was at a conference with no WiFi and I needed a file from my home FTP server.  I used AndFTP to download the file over the cellular network and then plugged my phone into my computer’s USB port to get the file.  Very Slick.
    • Widgets on the Desktop are just plain cool.  My favorites are: Google,Bing, WeatherBug, Google News and Gauge Battery Widget.
    • Better integration with Google Web Apps.  I use Google Mail (some), Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Talk and others.  Integration with Android is great.
    • Android can have larger screens…I like that.
    • I like the fact that I can add up to a 32GB micro SDHC Flash card.   I don’t have to upgrade the whole phone to get more storage.
    • Using a microUSB cable instead of a custom cable is a plus.  I already have/need microUSB cables for other devices.  Good microUSB cables are cheap on ebay.
    • Separate buttons for Menu, Home, Back and Search works very well.  Being able to press the back button when your email client takes you to the browser is very convenient.  
    • My favorite is that I am not tied into the whole Apple planet.  The day that Apple decided that no open source software like VLC would be allowed in their store or on their devices, I knew it would be just a matter of time before I escaped.
Here are a few things I dislike about Android.
    • The thing that I dislike the most about Android is placing a call.  On my iPhone I just press and hold the button, wait for beep, and say “call Susan” and it always works.  On the Android phone I must unlock it, press the home twice, wait for it to say “What would you like to do?” and then finally say “Call Susan” and most of the time it dials.
    • Android really seems to have some problems with Audio Control.  What app has the headset controls?  What app can output audio to the speaker?  Who is in charge of the audio?
    • I make many more typing mistakes on the Android keypad than the iPhone keypad; I am clueless on why this happens.  I make more mistakes with the Swift Keyboard than the default Android keyboard.
    • It can be a struggle to get a full day of battery life out of my Galaxy S2; that has never been a problem with my iPhone.
If you like to “fiddle around”, think of your phone as a hobby, or think of it as a computer you will enjoy Android.  If you think your smart phone should “just work”, or would prefer to move into a house that is pre-furnished and pre-decorated, or you think the Borg were the “good guys” you might be an iPhone person.

I need another hobby...I will stay with Android.

My Hobbies:
 Watching TV
 Watching Sports on TV

1 comment:

  1. Hello, sorry for offtopic, but you may remember that MSDN topic Installation of Visual Studio 2010 SP1 fails (NDP40-KB2468871.exe returned exit code 1603)

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