Tag Archives: PDA

A new phone: Terrible timing?

So my AT&T con­tract is up this month and I’m con­sid­er­ing all my options for my next PDA. My Black­Ber­ry has been slow­ly dying on me, and I’ve not been hap­py with it.


It’s prob­a­bly no sur­prise that I’m a big fan of Android—it is pro­duced by Google — so ide­al­ly I’d get an Android device next.

How­ev­er, I’m not ter­ri­bly inclined to switch to T‑Mobile; their net­work is small­er and not as robust in all loca­tions. And the G1 leaves a lot to be desired, so I’d rather wait for the next iter­a­tion. But how long will that be? Hard to say, though they may have a new, awe­some device soon, so it may be worth wait­ing.

I had also men­tioned that AT&T would like­ly be pro­duc­ing Android devices, but that dynam­ic seems to have changed some­what: I sup­pose because of their ties with Apple and the iPhone, they’re not keen to pro­duce any com­pet­ing devices cur­rent­ly. And I can under­stand that, though it’s unfor­tu­nate.

It does seem like I’d be join­ing an active com­mu­ni­ty though. :)


An iPhone would be a sol­id choice, and I cer­tain­ly think the devices deserves (most of) the acclaim it’s been get­ting, but I’m not switch­ing from one pro­pri­etary mobile device to anoth­er. Even if it is Apple. I’m also not impressed with the inabil­i­ty to run back­ground appli­ca­tions, and while jail­break­ing the phone would open up a lot of extra func­tion­al­i­ty, I’m not inclined to do that. I don’t want to sup­port Apple by buy­ing their device if I don’t actu­al­ly sup­port how they design their soft­ware.


So my two choic­es feel like this: Get an iPhone (and pos­si­bly jail­break it) or switch to T‑Mobile if/when they release a sec­ond (slick­er-than-G1) device.

Are there oth­er choic­es? Which do you think I should do?

Android has arrived

Android Makes its Debut in T‑Mobile G1

The device won’t have an impres­sive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will cer­tain­ly be able to run a lot of inter­est­ing appli­ca­tions.

Android’s first iter­a­tion, released last week, is cer­tain­ly less of a water­shed than Apple’s iPhone debut, but then again Google has been very open about their project. While Apple has built a rep­u­ta­tion on care­ful­ly con­struct­ed excite­ment about the unveil­ing of their new projects, Google was very upfront about Android and the Open Hand­set Alliance—to the point of attract­ing doubts of the pro­jec­t’s fruition.

You can read the reviews of T‑Mobile’s/HTC’s G1 else­where; after a week there are plen­ty of good ones (and I haven’t held one myself). But here are a few of my ini­tial impres­sions of Google’s Android project itself.

I saw the Android coming five years ago... and approved.
I saw the Android com­ing five years ago… and approved.

I men­tioned that Android’s default syn­chro­niza­tion with Google appli­ca­tions is pret­ty slick, and def­i­nite­ly a way to get out of the gate quick­ly. How­ev­er, I’m not sure if that’s only for the G1 or if Android will include that in every iter­a­tion. (I only real­ly won­der because it’s not avail­able in the emu­la­tor yet.)

It will be inter­est­ing to see how the Appli­ca­tions fare; Apple has proved that there is a busi­ness here, and they have a jump start on their App Store. While Apple has attract­ed a lot of devel­op­ers, they have their own prob­lems keep­ing their trust at the moment, and cer­tain­ly for myself I’m more moti­vat­ed to write for a mul­ti-process, open-source oper­at­ing sys­tem where my appli­ca­tion will def­i­nite­ly be avail­able for users. I’m encour­aged that there have already been some inter­est­ing appli­ca­tions rolling out.

Speak­ing of devel­op­ment, it is very promis­ing to see that the Android team has released an emu­la­tor for all major oper­at­ing sys­tems. Apple’s devel­op­er pro­gram seems robust, but I don’t plan on switch­ing to OS X any­time soon. (Then again, I’d rather avoid Java, but that’s not a deal­break­er for me.)

The Android is cer­tain­ly the biggest com­peti­tor to the iPhone thus far, but it’s cer­tain­ly not just try­ing to imi­tate the super­fi­cial qual­i­ties (like, say, the LG Dare); it seems to have slight­ly dif­fer­ent moti­va­tions that have shaped the project thus far. Either way, com­pe­ti­tion is a good thing.

It seems like­ly that AT&T will be pro­duc­ing Android phones but even if so, the ques­tion is when. I’m immi­nent­ly look­ing for a new phone, so the soon­er the bet­ter; I have no plans to switch to T‑Mobile and I would real­ly appre­ci­ate the abil­i­ty to give each one of these plat­forms an even chance. :)

BIS customers now getting instant IMAP e‑mail

BIS cus­tomers now get­ting instant IMAP e‑mail | Black­Ber­ry Cool

It’s great to see the upgrade, espe­cial­ly for BIS users who have had less-than-stel­lar deliv­ery times, but you have to won­der why it took so long for IMAP IDLE to be sup­port­ed.

Absolute­ly. This is the kind of fine print that they don’t warn you about when you get a Black­Ber­ry device. “We sup­port your IMAP and POP email, but only by rout­ing all traf­fic through our servers and delay­ing email. Oh, and you can’t just authen­ti­cate; you need, um, ser­vice books.”

That last detail was par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing to explain to my mom today, who was about to ask for a refund on her data plan from AT&T because she had­n’t been get­ting email for two weeks.

Actu­al­ly Mom, even though your user­name and pass­word are set up to check and to syn­chro­nize your email, there’s this extra lay­er of authen­ti­ca­tion called ser­vice books. They basi­cal­ly man­age the syn­chro­niza­tion between your device and the Black­Ber­ry servers, so your mail has prob­a­bly been “sit­ting on their serv­er” ready to deliv­er, but your device has­n’t been able to get into it.

Oh, yeah, and the ser­vice books? They will stop work­ing. Yes, even when your pass­word is cor­rect.

I sup­pose this whole instant IMAP serv­er upgrade is to make them more com­pet­i­tive in the ever-lucra­tive con­sumer mar­ket, but this is the kind of zero-day fea­ture that any real PDA should sup­port.

Count­ing down the days until I can switch to some­thing else… some­thing that sup­ports real inter­net would be good too. ;) Maybe by the time I’m ready ($$) to switch devices, there will even be a device (Android?) that will give me pause before imme­di­ate­ly jump­ing for an iPhone. But I’m not count­ing on it.