Stepping Away from the Apple Tree
Today marked the one-week anniversary or more appropriately, theft, of my iPod touch (4th generation, 32 GB). Love that thing. I once called it the "center of my digital life." A statement which I still stand by as it contained the entire Beatles collection, hundreds of photos, etc. In a way, I formed an emotional bond over an intimate object, which I received as a culmination present only eight-months previous.
(A daft thing, if you really think about it.) In a way it taught me a lesson: People are jerks and have no sense of morals in today's society, a sad fact especially when one of the people you go to high school with took it. (Side tangent: It really reflects the sad state of society, when stealing starts between the ages at 14 through 18.)
I've tried looking for it: physical and by using Find My iPhone. But, I learned that Find My iPhone is useless on Wi-Fi only devices.
Consider that to be a eulogy for my iPod touch.
My primary purpose for my iPod touch was news and photography, not games as many people believe. I cannot live without constantly knowing what is happening in the world and find it surprising that other people can live with this. I heavily used Pulse News and TweetBot. The thievery caused me to adapt on how I got news throughout the day. I mainly went to the school library during nutrition and lunch breaks. But, this week was finals week and I had long 2 hour periods where we could do anything we wanted.
With a Little Help from my Friends, subtle Beatles reference, they allowed me to borrow their phones. In a way it served as a period of experimentation with other phone operating systems, hence the title of this post.
My experience with Android came mostly from using an LG Optimus V (a rebranded Optimus S from Virgin Mobile). It is a prepaid smarthphone that runs stock 2.2 Froyo. Spec wise there is nothing to brag about: 3.2 inch 320×480 screen at 180 PPI, 3.2 megapixel camera, 600 MHz Qualcomm processor. I downloaded Twitter and Pulse News and found the experience to be drastically different from that on iOS as expected. Both apps performed well, but without the smoothness, snappiness, and speed found on my iPod touch. For example, scrolling in Twitter was horrible and slow and opening articles in Pulse lagged. The screen size was to small to effectively type, but the addition of Swipe was extremely helpful. I dabbled in speech-to-text, but it wasn't able to understand my accent. And as for pixel density, something that I hold near and dear to my heart, it was hell. Everything was so blocky, a sentiment that one Paul Miller holds. But, then again I expected that considering the specs and nonetheless was glad that I was able to use it.
I luckily also got to use a second Android device, the T-Mobile G2X made by LG. Spec wise this phone was much improved and ran Gingerbread: Nvidia Tegra processor, 4-inch 480×800 screen. I enjoyed using this phone as it was snappy, responsive, and actually looked good. It goes to say that having good specs really improves the user experience.
Overall, using Android wasn't as bad as a thought it would be, speaking from the perspective of an Apple fanboy. I felt it missed that snappiness, I expected. My experience was backed up by an article on how Android does hardware acceleration, which was published just last week. My problem is it doesn't feel natural. I was baffled on how to access the task switcher.
I also got to use a Palm Pixi Plus on AT&T. Laugh and argue as you may, webOS is much better than Android and on par with iOS. It's almost a relic and rather sluggish, but the user experience felt so natural. Cards and swiping them away feels like a natural experience and so far the best way to handle multitasking. Not wanting to get sentimental, but somebody honestly needs to make a great webOS phone.
Though, I didn't use Windows Phone. I am extremely interested in trying it out. Windows Phone from the videos and articles I've seen looks cool. Most importantly, it a different and unique experience. Something that operating systems should thrive to do, looking at your Samsung TouchWiz. The concept of Metro and specially the Tiles interface intrigues me. The HTC Radar 4G on T-Mobile is a tempting device. Todays, announcement of the Nokia Lumia 710 tempts me. I do not see why most people look down on this device, nor why they don't find it interesting, looking at you Josh (Vergecast 005). I like the overall design and look of both devices. Simliar speced, processor and camera wise, decreases the differences between the two devices.
These past days I've been looking at the Windows Phone Marketplace and it disappoints me. If I were to switch over, Pulse News and Twitter are there, I'd probably use the built-in Twitter integration, though. I found the official Guardian apps to be great looking, functional, and have high reviews. I noticed a CNN, BBC News, Economist app, but I was surprised when I saw it wasn't officially from CNN, BBC, or The Economist. For me that raises an issue of concern. I'm sure the developers of those respective apps are fine, trustworthy people, but I would prefer the official app from the publication. But, in all those apps would be sufficient for me and hopefully the Marketplace will expand beyond the current 40,000 apps, looking at you Tiny Tower, a game which I am hopelessly addicted to.
Wrapping this post up, I miss my iPod touch, hope karma gets the person who stole it, Android is surprisingly ok, miss webOS deeply, and tempted to try Windrows Phone Mango on either an HTC Radar 4G or the Nokia Lumia 710. But, then again this option seems the most far fetched, as phones require a contract, and my parents would never agree to that...
(Side note: I decided to post this on the Verge forums because I love the community. Would be appreciated if you checked out the original post on my Tumblr for the page views.)