Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hello, Android

I've done it - I've turned into one of "those guys" who has a phone that's really a computer in their hand.

My wife bought me an Android phone from Google for Christmas. I was ambivalent about it. It's a terrific toy, but I objected and held out on activating it for two reasons:

  1. The monthly plan for data, text, and phone adds another $30 per month to my bill. It's easy to say that $30 isn't a lot of money, but it accumulates to $360 over a year.

  2. I didn't want to be one of "those guys" who is always looking at their damn phone. I find that people pay more attention to the devices than they do the people they're with at any given moment.

I held out for two months, gladly sticking to my ancient flip phone, until I got my bill for Feb. It included a $260 equipment charge. What was that? I called Verizon to ask. They told me that I had agreed to "terms and conditions" when the phone was purchased. If I didn't activate the phone within a certain period of time I had to pay the equipment charge.

So I sailed over to the local Verizon store to sort it out. They had a few issues that kept me standing at the counter for longer than I thought was necessary. When I started to lose patience I said some magic words that got things moving again: "Maybe I should just forget it and get an iPhone..."

After about 30 minutes of futzing around I was able to take the phone home. I had a little bit of trouble migrating the contacts from my old phone to the new one. The site wasn't as clear as they'd like to believe. (All I could think of was Steve Krug's wonderful book on web design entitled "Don't Make Me Think!")

It seems like a lovely toy. Android accepts Java; iPhone only allows Objective C. Android works on Verizon, the wireless carrier my whole family uses; iPhone only works on AT&T. I'm still figuring out how it all works. It'll be interesting to see if I can synch it up with my work e-mail and calendar. One of the biggest problems I have at work is knowing I have to be in a certain place, but not being able to see my calendar because I'm removed from my desk. The phone might be able to help with that.

It'll also help me feel a bit more high-tech. We'll see how it all works out.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc. Use of this trademark is subject to Google Permissions.

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