New Android Phone User - Initial Impressions
A couple of weeks ago I finally took the plunge. I decided I needed to ditch my old conventional cell phone and finally jump on the smart phone band wagon. So I did some research, skimmed some reviews online, checked out what the newest and hottest smart phones were and took a trip to the nearest electronics mega store.
There I played with phones. Both Andoid based and the Iphone4. Before I went though I was already leaning towards Android based phones. Finally I decided on the HTC Desire HD running Android 2.2 Froyo. I activated it with my carrier and then stumbled home playing with my new toy the whole way back.
At first I was like...
I felt so excited! On the train ride back to my place I messed around with built in apps already on my new Desire. Everything worked seamlessly. It was intuitive. I was immediately discovery how all the features of the phone worked. By the time I made it home I had already figured out how to move apps around and remove them from the home screen, by simply pressing and holding on the touch screen until the phone responded with a vibe that told me the app icon was now free to be moved. So fantastic!
Everything worked like that right out of the box. From facebook to youtube, everything the average user would ever need was already in place and waiting. A simple login was all that was required. I was scrolling through facebook, flipping to youtube, testing the internet with the built in browser, all of it was fluid and easy.
And then After a couple weeks of Use I was all....
I'm still happy with it. However, there are a few things that bother me now. One thing I don't like is that I have to wade through an endless stream of junk apps in the Android Market Place which supposedly is not the case on itunes due to Apple's often overly strict censorship. If I'm looking for an app to fill a certain purpose but don't actually know of a specific one, it can be especially hard to locate what I'm looking for.
Android's rating system for apps is a big help, but the search function is somewhat lackluster. It's ironic that Android was built by Google, and yet the search function on the android market place seems somewhat rudimentary.
Usually I end up using convetional google search in the browser to find discussions and information about Android Applications. After I find what I'm looking for, I head back to the Android Market and search for the name of the app I want. But sometimes I haven't been able to find an app even if I search for it using it's exact name! How is this possible!? Fortunately many sites that cater to Android app reviews usually have a barcode that can by the phone and allows you to instantly download the app onto your phone.
Despite google's somewhat wild west approach to running their market, I have been able to find some extremely awesome and most importantly free apps. One example is the dolphin browser, which is a versatile and light weight internet browser. It's customizable by adding plugins and different themes also available on the app market. One review called it "The firefox of Android phones." It's fast too. Much faster than the stock browser my phone came with.
Another more specialized app that is so important for me here in Japan is an app called Simeji. It's basically a specialized touch keyboard conversion that makes Japanese and English input a lot more simple. It's awesome and so easy to use now. I couldn't live life here without it.
I don't really have any other complaints. Except every now and then I find something that I wished worked a little bit better. One example is that the apps continue to run in the background and there is no easy way to completely kill apps. There is an app I've seen in the market place that is designed to fill this gap in Android 2.2's design.
My Android phone Concluision
In all, the Android experience is pretty damn good. It's easy enough that I think most people can handle it and still get a lot of use out of android powered phone without having to mess with it much. For those who consider themselves technophiles, I would highly recommend selecting an android phone. From my experience, the Android system is highly customizable and open. It's just asking for constant tweaking and messing with.
It's been announced too that a new version of Android will be coming out soon. Known as "Gingerbread," Android 2.3 is set to supposedly aggressively deal with my biggest gripe - apps sucking battery life.