Smart Phone Thoughts

I really have not played with the new Droid X much. A friend at work had one and let me hold it for a few minutes. The thing that struck me the most was how honking big it was compared to my Droid. My first thought of course, was how great it must be to read an e-book on the new Droid. I mean that new screen is damn near Kindle size!  That got me wondering if I would want a Kindle so badly if I had the larger phone model.

I’m not so sure. I’d still be unable to read in sunlight. In the long run, it doesn’t matter for me. I won’t be in the market for a new phone until next year or later. I’m happy with the size of my Droid and I continue to read fiction on it almost daily.

I think the acceptance of hand held computers with phone apps is gaining in the public mindset. For that we have Apple to thank. When the original iPhone came out, many people, including myself could not see a need for it. Of course my view was mostly economic. I just could not afford a fancy toy phone like that. But over time, two things happened that swayed me to the hand computer scene. The first was the introduction of Android and the rapid acceptance of it by phone makers and programmers. I’m a sucker for Open Source projects. The second was the steady and strong sales of my novel on Kindle. The added income on a monthly basis went a long way in convincing me to purchase a more expensive cell phone plan.

The future of computing seems to be mobile, from phones to pads. Desktop computers and operating systems are becoming passe and are quite frankly mature to the point of not allowing much innovation. But the mobile computers are hot beds of innovation and design right now. Just look at how many Android phones are evolving before our eyes. Next year will be the year of the Android pads and that market could take off. Although once again, I just don’t see the need for a pad device. I guess I’m just slow to adapt new things. I hope that’s not because of my age.

Droid Replaced

I finally had the time to stop into Verizon yesterday and have them try to upgrade my Droid to the 2.1 Android OS. At first the guy who looked at it was baffled and then after multiple attempts to upgrade it, decided to just replace it with a new one. So now I have a shiny new phone and a shiny new OS.

It got me thinking about how easy it is to replace electronics these days than to send them back for repairs. Somebody may eventually own that phone again, but it was far quicker to just assign a new one to me. How do I like the new OS?  It’s cool. I have not had a chance to fully explore all the new features but what I have seen is impressive.  Love the live backgrounds and the voice inputs.  Although it seems to understand my voice better than my seven year old’s voice.

Buying a Droid

I was very late to the smart phone party.  Partly because I didn’t think I really needed a computer phone and partly because I just couldn’t afford the data plan.  After all, I barely even used the phone I had.  For years, my cell phone was nothing more than an insurance policy for my long commutes.  When you live in a desert, a phone could save your life if your car stranded you in the middle of summer.

Several things happened in the last few months that lead to me upgrading from a simple cell phone to a Droid. First, my simple phone simply died.  The microphone gave out and so I had to use a wire mic to talk on it.  With Baseball season getting under way and both my sons on teams and me helping to coach one of them, I needed a phone that worked.  Also, my contract with Verizon was up for renewal so there was added incentive to upgrade.

The second thing that happened was that my SF novel started bringing in some decent cash on a monthly basis. Free money from Amazon, meant that I could easily afford the extra thirty dollars a month for a data plan.

The third thing that lead to my deciding to get the Droid and not to switch over to AT&T and go with an iPhone, was the maturing of Google’s Open Source phone Operating System – Android.  I had been following the development of Android and knew that philosophically, I could never buy any computer that was not open again.

Those who know me personally, know that I’m a huge Linux fan.  I have been for years now.  I tossed out Windows at my house a long time ago.  I now own two Linux computers and one Macbook.  When the finances allow for it, the Macbook will become the family computer and I will get an Ubuntu notebook.  Eventually, when the Macbook becomes unusable, it will get replaced by a Linux notebook or whatever is in vogue at the time. My current Linux desktop is already to that point when even Linux distros barely run on it. I may have to put Puppy Linux on it or something to keep it alive any longer.

I went with the Droid, because at the time I was buying, it was the best Android phone on Verizon. I really wanted the Google Nexus One, but we all know that is still not available as of this posting.

Next post I will talk about living with the Droid phone for the past couple of weeks.

Droid in our house

I could no longer wait for the Nexus One on Verizon.  I had baseball practices and games to be at and I needed my cell phone to cancel them or otherwise coordinate my life.  My cheap, free phone from a few years ago had a dead microphone and my wife’s cheap, free phone was starting to lose it’s charge, and the ring tone only said, “Verizon, Wireless.  Verizon, Wireless”, which was kinda creepy. We both needed new fones now, not whenever.

So I took my chances and went with the Motorola Droid and upgraded my wife’s phone to a new LG flip phone.  So far I’ve had to fight off my kids in order to use the new Droid.  Especially the youngest who seems to think it’s his phone.  So I may be able to talk more intelligently about the phone, after I get some time with it at work next week.

As I mentioned in a Tweet, it’s somehow appropriate for a sci-fi writer to own and use a Droid.  So I’m not too miffed at having to settle for it over the Nexus One. So now the Macbook is out-numbered two to one by Linux computers in my house. ;-)