My Android experiment is over, back to the iPhone

3 months in and I am done in by hardware failure — I dropped the LG G2, not very much of a drop, and got a nice transverse screen crack that completely disabled touch detection. The device is basically useless. Faced with a need to upgrade, I reverted back to iOS-land and got an iphone 5s.

my net impressions on my return:

  • Again, if an Android phone is your first smartphone, you will be happy. Nice big screen, good battery life, lots of apps.
  • The iphone screen seems positively puny now and I really wish the iphone was a little bigger. and the battery is correspondingly smaller, pretty sure I will struggle with battery life again. I would be a fan of a bigger iphone.
  • however I have dropped iphones a kajillion times, and they have come away with a lot of corner dings but nothing worse. one drop of my lg and it is trash. 🙁
  • the wideopen nature of android is appealing and I really liked getting widgetized content right on the screen. however the android community is not using this wideopen nature to best effect — the oems and carriers jam all kinds of redundant garbage on the phone, and the launchers and customizing apps can leave your phone a mess, as can app installs.
  • the iphone homescreen and shell seems old and static by comparison.
  • software fit and finish on the iphone is just SO much better. better touch detection. higher typing accuracy. nicer looking dialogs. fewer clicks to do almost everything.
  • and of course the iphone retail experience at an apple store is 10000x better than buying android at retail. I was in and out of apple store in 5 minutes despite a huge crowd. I did go to the att store first to look at possibly an android replacement and despite a much smaller crowd, had to wait 20 minutes. the att staff (or customers) insist on walking through activation there, and of course the att reps also insist on explaining the fractal set of voice/data plans that att offers. the rep tried to convince me that my best option was to add a second line to my account for $30 more a month, so for just a minimum $720 2 year total commitment they would give me some device for free! That sounds great! Give me the undercoating too!

basically my advice is — if you can afford an iphone, you will probably be happier in the long run. tho the android experience is still a good experience.

Is there really no way in Android to tell the os that a .md file is a text file?

I have a bunch of markdown files on dropbox. (and also some restructured text files). i just want to edit these with my text editor on android. but apparently there is no way to tell android that a .md file is just text? Android doesn’t maintain a mime/file type registry and a user can’t just add a mapping? without screwing around with app manifests?

Someone please point me in the right direction if there is a way to do this.

Rooting my Android phone and putting on a clean rom — but which rom?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikelove/Crap there are too many choices. XDA dev has somewhat popular options for the ATT G2

  • Cleanrom is the most popular and scrapes off all the AT&T goo while leaving LG goo. This seems like a reasonable approach
  • AEON is second most popular but man the pages feel sketchy.
  • Basic rom is the third choice and seems to wipe off AT&T and LG cruft.

Then there is some Korean derivative and a stock AT&T rom that has been rooted.

This is probably all going to turn into a chocolate mess. Don’t be surprised if you call me or text me and never hear back.

UPDATE: Ok I am working first on rooting the phone. This is so obvious:

  • Go to Settings, General, About Phone, Software Information, and whale away on “Build Number” until developer mode unlocks. Crappiest easter egg ever.
  • Back to Settings…General…Developer Options and turn on USB Debugging.
  • On your PC, download the LG drivers from the LG support web site.
  • Hook up the phone to the pc
  • download the ioroot package pointed to by the xda forums

OK so I guess I am rooted now. Yay. Geek merit badge partially redeemed.

AT&T/Google/LG, please get your act together

I am diving into my new Android phone and there is a lot to like about it. I am not prepared to say it is huge winner on the battery life front, but I have hope there. But man the device really demonstrates the problems with the OEM model for product delivery.

  • There is a ton of crapware from LG and ATT on the phone. that you have to shove off into a corner. ATT has like 12 apps alone, including their own app reco engine which is super sluggish. and either ATT or LG put something on here called “browser” and made it the default internet browser.
  • Either LG or ATT decided to remove the Google search box from the homepage. and replace it with a weather widget. Awesome, thanks guys.
  • There are like 9 places to put app shortcuts. It might be on your home screen. Or the notification bar that drops from the top that has some apps, and you can put more there. There are some app buttons jammed onto the lock screen that you can configure. ATT slams some sort of browser bar into some apps (I think this is ATT). there is some overlay of apps that comes up when you drag from the bottom of the display — is this android or lg or att or ? This is giving the Microsoft tile/menu/ribbon/charm morass a run for the money.
  • Obviously google apps has to be in one of these places right? No. It is not anywhere on the phone. There is something called Polaris Office that ATT or LG jammed on that I don’t want.
  • oh that is right, google renamed it google drive, so that must be on the phone! Uh, no. It is not. It is in the app store tho, and I can download it, and it seems to work fine. Why the f^&k isn’t it on the phone in the first place??
  • @bradsilverberg mentioned that his new android phone doesn’t have visual voicemail and that verizon wants $3 a month to turn it on. I looked around my phone to figure out where voicemail is. Hmm, no voicemail button, nothing in the dialer about voicemail. So I call myself from another line and leave a voicemail. Notification arrives saying I have voicemail and that I have to dial some number to get it, and I do so and I am back in 1985 interacting with voicemail menus. Wow, is this really the experience??? So a quick web search and I find an “AT&T Visual Voicemail for Android” app that is free, from AT&T. I install it and it works fine. WHY THE F%^K IS THIS NOT INSTALLED BY DEFAULT???? Especially when AT&T slams on 10 other apps by default including their own browser, their own messaging app, their own mapping, etc…

I mean the parts are all there for a great out-of-box experience but as @bsilverberg said to me, someone needs to ride herd on this thing and clean all this crap up. It is just stupid to ship the phone this way.

Switched from iPhone to Android this week

lg-g2I’ve been an iPhone user since the first release, and have upgraded my hardware faithfully at every opportunity. I did take a little detour to Windows Phone land for a short while.

But I flipped this week to an LG G2 android device. I’ve been running the developer previews of iOS7 for months so there was no real new excitement from Apple for me this week on the software front. And the new iPhone hardware is fine but nothing stunning about it. And most importantly, neither the hardware nor the software addresses my number one smartphone problem: battery life. I have struggled with my iPhone 5, needing to keep charging setups at home, in all cars, at work, and cables and car chargers with me at all times. I use the internet a lot and I would get at most a half day of use on a charge. And then iOS7 just make it horrible with the background tasks — Facebook and Maps in particular would just kill my battery, and this never got a lot better during the iOS7 betas. I had to constantly monitor what tasks were running and manually kill them. Smarter battery management is sorely lacking on these devices — there is no reason that Facebook should be nattering away in the background burning battery when the phone is in my pocket. Maybe the app developer thinks their app is so awesome that it should do this, but the OS should be smarter about managing the tradeoff between network usage and battery life.

So I am switching. I am looking for the full smartphone experience with better battery life. Several Android phones promise this, and I decided to try the LG based on other’s recommendations. I’m only in day 2 so I can’t be sure if it has solved the problem, but it does seem at first impression to survive longer on a charge. And it certainly has every app I need. The level of polish is so much better than the Android devices I toyed with 2 years ago. Way too many buttons and options but I am learning my way around all that. The input keyboard is way better than iOS thanks to Swype and also better autocorrect preview.