This is the Droid I'm Looking For

So about three weeks ago I broke down and bought a smartphone.  I’ve been working in technology for the last ten years but have never been on the bleeding edge.  Mostly because the bleeding edge is expensive and I’m cheap.  So it goes without saying that it took a lot of mental pep talks to bite the bullet and buy a phone.

My friend works at AT&T and recently she bought the Samsung Infuse. She really liked it and she let me test-drive hers. I looked at the reviews on Cnet and I found it for $100 less on Amazon so that sealed the deal.

So on a Friday afternoon, my phone arrived and I started playing. I downloaded apps and set up my email accounts. I had dinner with some friends that night and I had to force myself to not continually play with my phone. I tried out the turn-by-turn directions on the way home that night.

So now two weeks later, I can make some observations:

  • I like that my Gmail calendar and Facebook events are dumped into the same calendar.

  • I like that my Gmail and Facebook contacts are added to my phone list.

  • I don’t like that my Gmail  and Facebook contacts are added to my phone list. I’ve got a lot of FB friends and random email contacts that I’m never going to call. I don’t want to go through 300+ names just to find my mom. Update - I found out I can just list those contacts with phone numbers.  It shrinks the list but I’d still like more granular control. Guess I should trim my FB friend list.

  • I don’t like having my work email on my phone because I feel like I have to respond, even when I’m off the clock.

  • Predictive text does not work so well when you have a full keyboard. I have it “turned off” but apparently there are still some words that android thinks I should use instead. It’s good, but it can’t read my mind. Yet.

  • The speech to text is really cool. I have to talk slowly and enunciate but it does a good job and saves me time when texting or writing memos.

I have downloaded quite a few apps but there are just a handful I use regularly.

  • Facebook, the widget that came installed on my phone didn’t work that well. But the app from the marketplace does the trick.

  • Aldiko, this is an ebook reader that handles both pdf and epub. I have already read Little Brother and For the Win, both by Cory Doctorow. It’s nice having books on my phone that I can read in downtime.

  • Podkicker, this app let’s me download podcasts without having to sync to my computer. There aren’t many apps that let you do that. The only drawback is it’s still in beta and freaks out from time to time.

  • Foursquare & Gowalla, these are location services. I’ve set up our clinics on both services. Plus I got a free appetizer at Chili’s the other day after checking in.

TI-99/4A Memory Expansion UnitYes there are a bunch of wiz bang features on my phone but I started thinking more about the technology behind it.  Growing up we had a TI-994A computer. It had a memory expansion unit with at most 128k. That’s probably a few seconds of an Mp3. As you can see from the photo, it’s the size of a microwave.

My phone has an  8GB external SD card. This thing is the size of my fingernail and holds my entire music collection.

The other thing that stood out is the power and portability. I built my desktop computer back in 2003. It’s a P4 and was top of the line in it’s day.  But it is huge. My phone on the other hand is probably more powerful than my old desktop and will fit in my pocket. That and it makes phone calls.

So all and all, I’m enjoying my phone. I can get turn by turn directions and I can use the GPS to track my runs. I can take really nice photos and post to Facebook if I feel so inclined. I can even write this article and post it to my blog using the Wordpress app.