Tag Archives: phone

2 Gigs of Data

Interesting data point on whether 2 GB / month of data is enough on cell plans. At our MHVLUG meeting the local wireless wasn’t working, so I instead just turned on the wifi access point on my phone for my laptop and tablet so I could do a little bit of live demo. It was on for 2.5 hours, with a total data usage of 46MB (which is about 15% of what I’ve used total this month).

Yes, bandwidth caps basically kill mobile streaming as a business (mobile pandora, hulu, netflix, are definitely being hurt by this), but for non streaming interactions, 2GB is way more than I’ll use in a month.

Does your phone affect your news coverage?

I’ve noticed an interesting behavior, recently, which is geek gadget validation syndrome.  If you buy something as a geek, your purchase is validated if someone else buys the same thing after you’ve shown in / recommended it to them.  You see it with the cult of iPhone quite often, and with all the android devices out there now, I’ve seen the same thing between owners of different models.  Given that there is no ultimate device, they all have plus and minus, the validation syndrome tends to be ever worse.  It’s sort of like a close political race, or the eternal vi / emacs “war”.

Given that behavior, I’d really like it if tech news writers disclosed what laptop they are working with and what their cell phone is, much like people reporting on financial institutions will often disclose if they are an investor in the company.  I’m not sure it would make the news reporting any better, but it would at least be easier to figure out the sources of bias.

I’ve got an Android in my pocket

On Friday morning, I picked up my shiney new HTC Hero from Best Buy.  It had been nearly 4 years since my last new cell phone, and the tech at Best Buy was really confused about that.  It was the longest between upgrades for anyone he’d ever seen.  But in 2007, when I became eligible for a phone upgrade, the Open Handset Alliance was formed, with Sprint as a founding member, and I made a decision that I wasn’t going to buy another phone until it had Android on it.

Android is a Linux based operating system that can be used for smart phones (though many folks are looking to put it into all manner of small form factor devices).  Beyond the base operating system it also provides a Java SDK for creating applications, which is one of the cleanest development models I’ve seen to date.

In the past 2 days I’ve been putting my phone through it’s paces, and have to say I’m just down right psyched about this phone.  I was always a touchscreen keyboard skeptic, but the wideform + predictive correction in this phone pretty much washed away that skepticism.  The Sense UI (which is this 7 virtual desktops thing) is just awesome.  Each is configurable with widgets and icons seperately, and you get to have as many saved configurations of those as you like.  My brain is already thinking about widgets I could build to pull in some of the information I want into this UI.  The NFL widget that Sprint wrote and added showed this off quite nicely, as it gives you a heads up on your favorite team, including live play by play updates during the game.

The phone strongly integrates with google services (go figure!).  You feed it your google account info during setup, then your calendar is live synced, as is your contact list, email’s connected, and off you go.  You can break any of these links if you want, but having it all just work is great.  There is also strong integrate with facebook, myspace (which I don’t use), and twitter.  Enter you account details into the phone for facebook and the first thing it does is cross reference your contact list with your facebook friends and say “I think these folks are the same, want me to link them?”.  From there on out you get people pictures from facebook for those contacts, as well as their birthdays in your contact list.

While the app store is still a little light at this point compared to the Apple one, I suspect getting Sprint online this month, and Verizon next, is going to change that.  Application development is one of the reasons I was most excited about the phone.  While the iPhone looks cool, the combination of Objective C, having to own a Macbook Pro, and the random whims of Apple application approval, was just a no win situation for me.  With Android there is an eclipse environment + simulator that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  The code is Java… or python, javascript, jruby, lua, etc via the Android Scripting Environment.  A checkbox in the phone preferences lets you download and install applications from anywhere.  Typically people are using QR Codes to encode their app installation urls, and there is an app on the phone that just scans those to install.

The phone just feels great.  With all the android phones that are about to come out, I was hesitating earlier this week about whether I should wait until the end of the month for the Samsung Moment with the hard keyboard.  I’m glad I didn’t.  This phone just feels awesome, and I can’t wait to start hacking on mobile apps later this week.