Published on June 8th, 2010 | by Kev Adams1
I love my Android phone
The new iPhone is out and looks like an awesome piece of kit but I won’t be getting one. Putting the ethical and political considerations aside (and there are many to be aware of with Apple’s closed technology too) I still think Android is the way to go. For me at least.
I waited sometime for Android to mature before taking the leap and when I saw the reviews for the HTC Desire thought it was time to dive in. And am I impressed!
One of the painful aspects of setting up a new phone can be transferring data but if you already do much of your work and play in the cloud, as I do, Android is built to import contact lists and calendars. I have to confess at this point that I’m something of a Google pimp, I LOVE Google. And in case you hadn’t heard Android is built by Google so it’s a natural fit. The first time I connected to my Gmail account all of my contacts were automatically imported to my phone. Impressive enough as that is I was even more impressed the first time that I connected to my facebook account. The mobile numbers of all of my contacts who had set up Facebook mobile were imported too.
One quick word of warning though – all of you facebook connected people out there try to remember to keep your mobile numbers up to date. Didn’t take me long to spot that one hehe!
Like any modern smart phone, social networking is a big part of it’s reason to exist. Facebook integration is good but why no inbox/messaging from the default app? I can still use the web browser to do that as the mobile site is excellent but I can’t message with the built in facebook application. My other gripe is with Peep the built in twitter application. In the first 48 hours that I used my phone I was appalled at how quickly the battery drained. Then I did a quick search and found out that Peep was blamed by other users so I’ve since installed the official Twitter app, which is a much better solution all round. Unfortunately it’s not possible to uninstall Peep but I’m much happier with the official Twitter app. Battery life is so much better without Peep running. Don’t forget that Android is already multi-tasking so apps will run in the background. I’m presuming that Peep was the best application available at the time my phones Android 2.1 OS was finalised?
Web browsing is a breeze and most sites get converted to suit the mobile format and aspect (it’ll detect shifts from landscape to portrait automatically) very quickly. A quick tap or pinch will zoom in or out and swipes scroll around.
The camera isn’t bad either, it’s 5 megapixels, has a flash and is reasonably quick too. The latter is all important if you have kids. A tap on the screen changes the focus zone and it’s really simple to post your photos to social networks such as facebook, twitter, flickr etc. That’s with the default photo application although there are plenty of alternatives for people who’d like to experiment more with on phone processing, time lapse, effects etc. Personally I like to have a reasonable camera on my phone and have had 5 megpixels and a flash for a few years now. Let’s face it though however many megapixels are available via the image sensor, the optics crammed into a tiny phone device will still be a limiting factor.
Considering the explosive growth of Android and the vast collection of applications already available I’m really happy with my choice. Android market place is the official home for “approved” apps although you can change the settings for your phone and take a chance on third party apps from anywhere you like if you find something that’s not in Android market yet.
Some of the highlights that I’ve found so far include Google Skymaps. Just point it at the sky and see a realtime view of the stars (including constellation names) and planets. Google maps is integrated brilliantly (as you’d expect) including street view. Google calendar works a treat too. Wherever I update my calendars they show on my phone too including alarms and email notifications. Racing game Asphalt runs a treat on the Desire and tilt and touch screen controls are pretty easy to use. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for some of the other games I’ve found where touch screen controls replace console style D-pads. Which is a shame as I’d have loved to use the nintendo and sega emulators that I’ve found. If you have kids DON’T let them see Mole hunt, an incredibly more’ish whack a mole style game. Not if you want to see your phone again.
More great stuff to come from Google too. Apparently the US version of Google Talk takes care of voice mail and provides a transcoded (speech to text) summary of messages too. I’ve not tried it yet but Google Translate, translates speech to text and text to speech. Sounds like the future to me that.