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.

Android

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. :)

iPhone

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.

Other?

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.