03 December 2011

Dumb Move With Smartphone?

The Garmin was not my only recent, big purchase.  I know, $200 is considered big by us frugal people.  After years of using a plain old cell phone, I finally made the jump to a, drum roll please, smartphone.  No, it was not an iPhone, but just some Android thingie that the salesperson offered.  Much as I would love to have an iPhone, the cost is still beyond my budget.  If it is just myself, I could bite the bullet but I have a family plan.  The kids have the same phone model so the adults might as well have the same crappy phones.  No one is jealous that someone else has a better phone.  At least that was the plan.  To be exact, I have a Samsung Galaxy S with 8 GB of storage.  The OS is Frozen Yogurt, I believe.  I read a bit about AndroidOS and the different versions have food names, like Ice Cream Sandwich and Donut.  Weird choice of code name.  I had to make a cartoon for ATPM.com poking fun at the names.

I never own an iPhone but I had an iPod touch and still have a first-gen iPad.  iOS is not perfect but then the experience with Android is even more imperfect.  When I got the Galaxy it already had many apps so I do not what apps are standard.  I listen to music and such a lot so Music Player is my most used apps.  I send files from the Mac to the Galaxy via Bluetooth then manually create playlists.  I have not tried hard enough to find an app that would sync playlists, files, etc so it is a pain to manage music.  Per Leo Laporte on TWIT, Winamp for Android may be just what I need.

A smartphone is not much use if you do not have a data plan.  I think a typical plan with an iPhone is $30 a month.  My plan is $10 a month, but for only, you better sit down in case this makes you laugh too hard, a whopping 200 MB.  I only do email and Facebook so, hard to believe, but 200 MB is really more than enough.  At this moment, I have about seven more days to go before the new month rolls in and I only used 27% of that 200 MB.  I did blow that 200 MB once when I tested the tethering feature on the Galaxy and my son watched some YouTube video.  Dumb mistake!  Still, it is nice that the feature is built-in and can be used as long as your data plan can handle it.  Not like how with Apple you have to play the game of cat-and-mouse with jail-breaking.

I can live with the measly data plan, but I wish the apps would behave more like iOS apps.  They just don't work right.  First time I launched the Facebook app, the one that has the UI more like the latest iPad app, it asks me to "Download Browser.  Download my new app: fast and save power Browser!", I clicked "Download", it downloaded something and installed it.  Next time again, it offered the same choices of "Download" and "Ignore Forever".  I clicked "Ignore Forever" and guess what the next time I launched the app?  "Forever" already came and went so it asked me to download again!  One time, after being sick of telling the app to ignore forever, I clicked Download and it tried to download from the MarketPlace but lo and behold there was nothing to download.  Likewise, trying to post to the Plurk social network is a pain.  There's a Plurk app but it somehow needs Maxthon app, which turns out to be an alternative web browser!?  Wait, there's more!  Each time you want to use the Plurk app, it will just tell you to download the Plurk app.  No, to use Plurk, you would launch Maxthon.  It is a lousy experience, like how I often envision those people who buy the cheapest netbook running Windoze only to put up with Windoze errors and problems.  Maybe my next smartphone will be an iPhone after all.  Help me reach that dream by clicking on them Google Ads liberally sprinkled around the blog!

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