I drank the Android Kool-Aid

by mike on June 7, 2010

in Gadgets

I was bopping around on the internet and stumbled across this Android website.  It got me to thinking about my Android phone and how much of it I now take for granted.

I am the proud owner of an HTC T-Mobile G1 Google Phone — the very first model.  Before I got married, getting this or an iPhone would’ve been easy.  A no-brainer.  But these days I’m a bit more careful with how I spend my paycheck and I carefully weighed many factors which were:

  • integrates with (yea verily, requires) a Google gmail account.  Check!
  • only available with T-Mobile.  Hmmm.  Sick of paying astronomical Verizon cell-phone bill.  Check!
  • slide-out keyboard so I don’t have to pray my “big-boned” fingers hit the right on-screen “key.”  Check!
  • touch-sensitive screen — this wasn’t a requirement, but it ended up being mostly nice.  Check!
  • This $500 phone was available for a relative steal on Amazon and Wirefly for about $99.  Check!  (Holy cow, it’s now $9 and free with a new T-Mobile account!  <cry>)
  • Wirefly also had a special “donate and recycle your phone, we send you cash” deal, which brought the overall outlay down even further.

At that time, I had already been using Gmail for a few years and loved it.  Yes, I drank the Google Kool-Aid, and now I was sipping the Android Kool-Aid.  Yum!  Going from a “regular” cellphone to a smartphone was life-altering.  Now, on my daily morning walks I could be reading email, catching up on my RSS feeds, listening to music, taking pictures of the scenery, etc. etc. etc.  By the time I’d get back home, I’d be all caught up on email and could move on to other things.

And it gets better.  The phone as GPS built in — which at first was useful only as a positioning device but then with an upgrade to the Maps application becamse a fully-functional TomTom-like device.  COOL!   I had been resisting the urge to buy a GPS because… well… my commute is only 13 miles, takes 25 minutes and if I get lost or need GPS somewhere on that ride, then I have much bigger problems to deal with.  And here it was, a FREEBIE GPS!    Thank you Google!  Of course, this means integration with Google Maps, directions etc.  I can get Google Maps to plot out my directions, then email myself the link.  Then when I need them, I simply open the email from my G1, click on the link and presto — I’m a GPS navigating fool.  Yeah!  It has even helped me navigate in cities while walking around (why the heck do parking garages have to have exits on EVERY side of the block?  sheesh!)

Then there are the apps… There are a number of fine RSS readers, a Craigslist app that will execute searches as an agent on your behalf, a Facebook app, an awesome Kaoler Clock app, one for Mint, Google Voice, and so on.  Those are just the ones I use on a daily basis, there are plenty of others.  Oh and if you haven’t checked out Google Voice yet, you really should.  It is essentially Google’s Voice over IP service, which means you can make as many free calls across Google Voice service using 3G or WiFi, without using up  your cellphone’s minutes.  AND of course Google attempts to transcribe your voicemails, sends you an email notification with the voicemail embedded with the transcription.  Plenty to talk about in another post.

However my most favorite, prized feature is access to Google anytime, anywhere I am, either through 3G or WiFi networks.  No matter where I am, I can check or update my calendar, or my shared family calendar, or search for a tidbit of information that might otherwise never get searched for.

And now… I can even write WordPress posts from it.

The only downsides are that only one year later, my phone is an antique, and is too slow to run the latest version of Android.  I have no doubt that the new Android phones are even better and faster and of course now I can’t wait for my current phone to stop working just so I can justify an upgrade.

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