Monday, March 5, 2012

If It Isn't Broke, Don't Fix It

Android has been made popular due to its increasing flexability and open sourceness. With the ever expanding list of APIs and device functionality, Android fits in the ecosystem very well. The possibilities of making your own uber customized builds to do whatever you want it to do is great. But like any product, it's not perfect.

If Android was perfect, there would be no reason for further upgrades. This holds true with Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows and just about everything under the sun. Android is far from perfect. People will constantly submit feature requests because the system doesn't do exactly what they want. Developers see feature requests as bugs. While bugs exist, new versions will continue to be released.

Over the last couple of days, I've had a conversation with someone on Twitter regarding Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone. About every year or so, Google licenses out the "Nexus" name to a hardware OEM to use for their flagship phone. In most cases, this flagship phone is also loaded with the latest/next major release of the Android operating system. This is a fantastic thing for those who must have the latest new toy. Yes, I'm calling that $700 phone in your pocket a toy. Me, being dead set in my ways, chose to argue that I don't need the latest toy in the smartphone realm.

I have a few good reasons why I don't see any interest in this device. I pay close attention to the mobile device websites and watch what credible people on Twitter say about the device, and it is getting mixed results. Big thing is battery life. OK, with some fine tuned tweaks to a rom, this can probably be solved pretty easily. Another thing that gets me is the price of the device. Sure, a good portion of the price can be subsidized if I wanted to switch carriers and get locked into a 2 year contract with them, or find one on CraigsList or eBay. No thanks.

I, personally, don't see what all the hub bub is about for having the latest thing on the market. That is just a sign to me that you either have too much money in your pocket, or a very worn out credit card. I have an HTC Sensation 4G (running Virtuous Inquisition 3.0.0, Android 4.0.3), HTC HD2 (hacked to run NexusHD2-ICS-CyanogenMod 9, Android 4.0.3), HTC G1 (the granddaddy of Android, running CyanogenMod 6.1, Android 2.2.3) and a fairly new Toshiba Thrive 10.1" 16GB tablet (running DalePL's rooted Honeycomb 0003, Android 3.2.1), which I am using now to write this blog post.

By all means, all of these devices all fall in the out dated timeline.

I just recently got the Toshiba Thrive tablet from a great deal on Woot. This is my first venture into the tablet arena. I'm quite happy with it and the abilities it has. Some ROM developers on the ThriveForums hacked some things up to make it do even more than what Toshiba originally marketed it to do. I'm finding that I'm using the tablet more than my laptop for most things. As a matter of fact, I've sorta turned my tablet into a laptop when I am at home.

The HTC Sensation 4G is my daily driver phone. I've put together some very nice things in an already customized rom and made it just feel right. The battery is lasting all day finally, even with moderate internet use for Twitter and some other stuff. This was HTC's first dual core processor phone. Rightfully, it wasn't made fully in compliance to be a power saver. There's ways around that though. I have no complaints about it.

I hacked my HTC HD2 the day I bought it. It originally ran Windows Mobile 6.5. I can't think of anybody who actually enjoyed using that system. A group of talented developers on the XDA Forums set out to make this device run Android. They went with this thought because the hardware in the HD2 is very similar to the HTC/Google Nexus One. First it was made possible by booting Android from the SD card. You would load the phone up into Windows Mobile, run a little app that would shut the phone down to a minimal level and restart using the Android rom on the SD card. This worked very well at first, until a developer named Cotulla found a way to hack the bootloader on the device and allow Android, MeeGo, Ubuntu and even Windows Phone 7 to be installed directly to the internal memory in the phone. Development still continues to make this phone run and do things it was not designed to do. I use this phone to play some games on.

My first adventure into the Android universe came when I got my HTC/T-Mobile G1. This is the device that introduced Android to the world. Many companies and individual people were skeptical about Android due to it being open source. They thought it would fizzle out like many tried and failed attempts to releasing open source Linux phones in the past. The G1 was slow and had very little internal memory to download apps. If it wasn't for Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) and his modded roms, we very well could be using some other system today, other than Android.

In conclusion, I just want to say that I am very satisfied with the devices I have. There is no point in running out to get the next best thing just because it is available. With a little bit of research, working with the community and lots of patience, the devices I have now serve the purposes I require of them. Just because a company is dangling a carrot out to entice you to spend your hard earned money on the latest toy, doesn't mean you have to jump on it.


Thank you for reading. I would be happy to see what you think about this in the comments below.


Brian Wisti said...

This is sort of reassuring to me. I'm curious about Android, but there's a new hotness every time I look. Naturally, the folks who are obsessed with mobile shiny insist that this new hotness is the only valid option if I want to get Android. Then I look again a week later and there's some *other* hotness that's now the only valid option.

Good to be reminded that you can keep getting good mileage out of relatively old hardware. Old on the hotness scale, at least.

John Pyper said...

Hi Brian. Thanks for the comment.

I have a friend who has been bouncing back and forth between Android and iPhone. While in his recent search to move from the iPhone back to Android, he says he went for the current best Android phone Verizon had to offer, that being the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Since he is making the move from iPhone back into the real world, I don't mind the seeking of the best phone available at the time.

What bothers me is the fact that whenever there's news of a "new shiny" as you referred to it as, a good portion of people look at their current phones and treat them as old and useless.

A similar situation can be used like when Steve Jobs (RIP) was still alive, he'd show off a new iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, whatever and say it's 0.00000001mm thinner, it's shinier and "magical," the iClan started drooling and they had to have it.

I just don't understand some of these mindless people these days. It really pains me to think what the near future will hold for them.

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