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June 11th, 2011


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02:15 am - Android Phone Musings
I sold my iPod Touch yesterday. I loved it when I got it, and it's still (by a bit) the best music player I've ever had, but it also meant carrying two devices in my pocket and (more importantly) having read more than a dozen ebooks on a 3.5" screen. Web-browsing was a breeze on it, but as with ebook reading, my phrase for it increasingly became "squintware". So, after giving my parents a lot of help with their computer in January, they said they'd buy me some sort of tablet. I decided on a small one, a Dell Streak. I heard it was initially fairly dodgy, but they upgraded it to Android 2.2 in December, and so that's what I bought. The camera is noticeably less good than that one on my previous 2 Nokia Phones, and the music player isn't quite as pretty, but other than that, it's a dream (and the music player is just as easy to use as the one on my iPod Touch). Also, the 5" 480 x 800 screen is wonderful, both for reading books and for web browsing. Texting on the keyboard is a dream, and while it's not something that I remotely enjoy, the screen is even large enough for me to be able to read RPG PDFs, which is useful for reference, but not for extended reading. OTOH, reading RPG PDFs on my iPod Touch was essentially impossible.

I also really like Android, in most ways it's functionally identical to iOS on my iPod Touch, but with some very nice features. Voice search honestly makes me feel like I'm living in the future (and is surprisingly accurate), and while ultimately a very silly idea, texting by voice (I speak, and the phone creates a text) is exceptionally fast and convenient. It's also shockingly accurate, the first time I tried to text Alice about "Eldritch Skies", I got "Elder Skis", but it actually got it right on the second try. It also works perfectly well as a phone (which is admittedly the function I use it for the least).

Also, while I don't have a data plan and can't use it for high speed data on T-Mobile, when my prepaid minutes run out in August, I'll switch to AT&T, which is less good, but offers the same prepaid phone & text rate, as well as monthly prepaid data -10 MB for $5/month and 500 MB for $25, since data rolls over as long as you have a data plan, I'll spend $25 one month, and then $5/month until I start running low. With useful features like voice searches, significant improvements in Google Maps (including recently introduced real-time bus location in cities that include Portland and barcode reading to get reviews of products seems too useful to miss. So, what should amount to a $10/month (on average) data plan sounds too good to pass up.

Also, I wanted to watch some video, and with my iPod Touch, I always had to convert it to the appropriate format. The formats the Dell Streak will play are also limited, but I looked and found a very nice free app (from China) that plays .avi files perfectly – there are definite advantages to an open OS.

In any case, I'm also getting a larger tablet for my birthday, since it's clearly the thing to have for reading both comics which is clearly the new big thing, as well as being an ideal medium for reading RPG PDFs. My question then is what to get. I want something with a large enough screen, but not too heavy. One obvious answer is an wifi only Ipad 2, but I like the look and weight of the wifi only Samsung 8.9" tablet , which is smaller and lighter, but with a screen that is definitely large enough for comics and RPG PDFs, and what I've heard about Android 3.1 sounds really good. However, I'd be interested in hearing other opinions.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:June 11th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
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Are there not better music playing apps than the stock one?

It does sound good. I'm not in the market for a tablet at the moment, but I am very attached to be my ebook reader.

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