Friday, October 15, 2010

Things That Bug Me About My Android

Let me be very clear, I love my phone. It's a Motorola Milestone running Android 2.1. It's not the newest, fanciest, fastest phone out, but it has a beautiful, hi-res touch screen and a slide out keyboard. The keyboard was very important, as I find a touchscreen finicky to type with. It's also very customizable, and a lot of fun.

A few months ago I bought an iPod Touch to use as an e-reader, and I'm glad I did. I was very close to buying a dedicated e-reader like the Kobo, but I decided to forgo the large, readable e-ink screen and went for shirt-pocket portability as well as versatility.

Of course, having an iPod Touch made me think about getting a smart phone, but my experience with the Touch, as well as other issues I won't get into right now, made me decide against an iPhone. Eventually I decided upon the phone I have.

I did my research before buying, but there were still a couple of surprises. The biggest one was that applications had to be installed to the phone's internal memory; they couldn't be installed to the SD card. This limits the number of apps you can have installed at the same time. Not a huge deal for me as I really don't use most of the apps I have installed and there are always some I can delete without regret, but it's something I would have liked to know ahead of time.

This has been fixed in Android 2.2, but I either have to wait until I get the update to 2.2, or I have to root my phone and install it myself.

That actually brings me to another issue that I knew about before buying my phone, but it bears mentioning. Most Android phones don't allow the user to update the OS unless the carrier allows it. This has led to phones being several updates behind, with no hope of running the newest software. It's quite contrary to the "open" philosophy touted by Android, but that's for another post.

Most phones can be rooted, allowing you to install "unauthorized" software including OS updates, but that's not something most people are willing to try.

I also wish the battery life was longer. It has to get plugged in every day, which isn't a big deal, but when I've been doing a lot of websurfing or gaming it's a close call whether it's going to make it to the end of the day. I've learned to turn off wi-fi when I'm not using it, and sometimes put it into "airplane mode."

And one other thing. Cut and paste. The iPhone got a lot of flak for coming late to the game with cut and paste, but at least Apple got it right. When I select text on my phone it is impossible to see what is actually being selected because my big finger is in the way. I am always selecting too much text, not enough text, or the wrong text. There may be an easier way to do this, but it isn't immediately obvious.

I'll do another post sometime about what I love about it, which is a lot. I might even bash the iPhone a bit. We'll see.

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