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A Month of Android

Posted 2010-09-02 Tags: None

A while ago I purchased a samsung galaxy vibrant (the first day they were available here in canada actually) and I thought o would give a but of a review of my thoughts on the phone and the OS after having used it for almost a month.

The phone is beautiful. The screen makes iPhone 3 screens look pretty bad and in my opinion, it beats the iPhone 4 in a side by side comparison. The Samsung is slick and gorgeous, responsive and vibrant; from a purely aesthetic standpoint, the phone is downright sexy. The call quality matches that of my previous phone (which was a real phone, not a handheld with a phone added on like many smart phones seem to be). I do not experience reception loss from holding the phone in a particular way. Using this device as a phone is easy and pleasurable.

The place where the device really starts to shine is when you start to dive into Android. There are a ton of apps and many of them are free, or under $1. Some of them suck; I have deleted 15 or 20 apps that I just didn't enjoy using, but there's no real downside to downloading paid apps because you can get a refund. Android market is pretty awesome. There are a ton of apps, some more useful than others; the barcode scanner is pretty cool and a Blizzard authenticator for WoW, I use just about every day. The google maps app works really well as a GPS which is beneficial since someone broke into my wife's car and style ours. There's a good selection of decent educational games for kids and, of course, a pretty decent app for wordpress which I am using right now.

I'm a big fan of how intuitive things are. The other day for example, my four year old daughter managed to record new ringtones and set them for events on the phone ("ooo your phones ringing. Blah blah" is now what I hear when someone calls me). The fact my kid can do that without any help from me is pretty impressive. It is true that she is a little geek in training, but it is still great to see how easy it is for her to manage fairly complex tasks.

Swype is impressive. This lets you glide your hand over the on screen keyboard and "draw" the words that you are writing. It does make for some interesting automatic corrections [Edit: Like version one of this article, for example], but significantly increases my (mostly) understandable wpm count. Look for a video of it on youtube and have a look, if you are unfamiliar with it; swype is certainly worth checking out.

Overall I would give this new phone high marks across the board. I have never seen a phone that I like as much. The iPhone 4 comes close, especially the overall aesthetic, but the responsiveness of this little machine and the slightly larger screen along with Android help it win out as far as I am concerned.

[Edit: I've got Hello World done in an Android App, and it took almost no time to do so. App Development is easy and fun.]