I’ll take the one on the right. Today I activated my shiny new iPhone 4S. It was like returning home. It was a late October visit to Natural Tunnel State Park in Virginia when I managed to drop my iPhone 4 into a canyon while trying to video a train.
For reasons already blogged, I opted to wait til December to get a 4S, mainly so I could get the unlocked version that just came out. For one, I am not having to start a whole not contract obligation, and I am free to take the phone to another country and use a regional provider via a swap of a sim card.
My choice was for the time in between, to get an Android smart phone. Knowing it was for a short stint, aI did not get a fancy shmancy Droid. I wen cheap with the LG Thrive.
I’d like to avoid getting wrapped up in the iPhone vs Android face offs, there are not shortage of overt fan people on either side (and I admit unbiased preference for the Apple system). But would never claim one is superior, there are points on each side, and really, like the camera app (iPhone, heh) the best one is the one in your hand (and the one that can access the data network).
Plus I saw this as an opportunity to experience what the experience was like with a different mobile OS. I wrote up some of the impressions early, this is a post game recap
The positive things I can say is the Google integration is easy and complete; it’s built in. I can also see that the landscape of apps is vast for Android; I was able to get apps for the major services I used on my iPhone, and on a functional task space, I could do everything on the Android I could on the iPhone (flickr, tripit, yelp, evernote, skype, words with friends, twitter, youtube). The ability to embed widgets on the main screen was potentially useful.
The Marketplace has a lot to offer- I did not pay for one aoo, and was able to find ones to do what I needed. The ones I remember being useful include:
- VirtualRecorder – portable sound recorder. I tried a number of free recorders but stuck with this one. I struggled to get the recording levels right, even with the limiter turne on, many of the recordings came out way too hot. It stores them in the obscure .pcm format; for a while I used another app that culd convert them to mp3, but eventually found on the developer site the right details to be able to import .pcm files into Audacity.
- Note Everything I used for jotting notes; it just did the job, and was able to export by sending to mail or as a google doc.
- GStringsFree a free app for tuning my guitar.
- Stream Media Player does a lot; I mainly got it to be able o listen to the ds106 radio stream. I had it set up for a while as a desktop widget
I ran into a limit of this cheap phone in that it only has 200 Mb of internal space for apps, which I quickly filled. But I then found App 2 SD as a gem that allowed me to move many of the apps to the SD card and also allowed me to periodically flush the app cache.
Maybe the top feature was being able to hook the phone to my MacBookPro with a USB cable and being able to directly copy files from the phone. And having access to the files made it something I could demo uploading to the StoryBox. I have to say I am bothered still by the absolute refusal of Apple to let someone who wants to get access to content files. Sure, it makes sense to make that part not in the face of a casual user, but somewhere on the iThings are real audio, video files and it seems wrong to keep them walled in.
I struggled much with grokking the interface. I would forget there were features tucked away in the menu button. I messed up the typing a lot (yeah, I heard of swype). The autocorrect would not work op full word boundaries. I also ran into several times where the phone would revert to default or some other odd settings; the camera would go back to VGA resolution. A few time for no reason, the keyboard language would be set to French or Spanish, making for some not fun autocorrection cussing.
In the end, I found myself battling the interface, yelling at it, punching the keys in frustration. And yes, the iPhone is not free of annoying habits and quirks. But to me, it feels like home. And that experience is not to be understated. Maybe it’s me, maybe its the design, but I never felt at home with the other phone. Maybe I did not give it a fair shake or maybe I experienced the low end of the spectrum.
I would not proclaim the iPhone ot be universally better onnall fronts to all people, but it works for me.
So I am home now.
And it feels good.