I tend to hang on to my gadgets for a while. I'm not someone who jumps to the latest and greatest. But sometimes, we have to face facts that it's time to move on.
It's time to say goodbye to my T-Mobile MyTouch Slide (by HTC):
It's been a great phone since I got it back in August 2010 (what's that in phone years?). It's never let me down. The battery life has been good. It makes phone calls. And I actually like the slider keyboard. Yes, I realize that keyboards are really uncool, but I came to this phone from a Blackberry.
On the down side, it's stuck on Android 2.2. The camera really sucked (like sucked so bad I would use it only in emergencies). The memory was constrained: I constantly had to clear Twitter data to free up space. And I had to keep deleting Google Play Services because every time it would update, it would use all the on-board storage. I also had the fear that it was just going to quit working. I replaced the screen at one point, didn't seal it up quite right, and now there's all sort of dust under the glass making it almost impossible to read in sunlight.
So, Goodbye HTC phone. You've served me well.
What a difference 3-1/2 years makes:
This is the HTC One (M8), and it seems rather gigantic next to the MyTouch. It's got about twice as much screen real estate. And it seems really huge to me -- at least for now. I'm sure I'll get used to it.
The big advantages: it's running Android 4.4 (so, it should last me for a while). The camera doesn't suck. I still need to do some tests with the camera, but it looks pretty good so far. And even though I really love my LX3 (which took these pictures as well as the flower picture that I've got as my wallpaper), I don't carry it with me as much as I should. The primary rule of cameras: the best camera is the one you have with you.
Amazingly, it weighs about the same as the old phone. It's bigger, but thinner. And it doesn't feel awkward to carry in a pocket.
And even though it does seem big, I need to remember that I do have some pretty gigantic hands:
It almost looks like an IPhone 5 in a normal person's hands, huh?
So. Hello HTC phone. I'm looking forward to lots of time together.
Why Not Microsoft?
A big question you might ask is why didn't I pick a Windows Phone? After all, I make my living programming in the Microsoft environment.
This was a tough decision. I know a lot of people who have Windows Phones and are very happy with them. And I like the idea of running the same apps on all devices (phone, tablet, desktop, XBox). There were a couple of things that went into my decision.
First, there are a lot of things I like about Google. For my email, I have my own servers set up, but I forward it all to a GMail account. I use Google Calendar to track my appointments and trips. And I also use Google Voice for my business line.
These apps all worked well on my old phone. And the web apps work really well on my desktop. I realize that other providers (Microsoft and Apple) have these services as well. But I know the pros and cons of the one that I'm with now.
Next, I haven't gotten along well with my Surface 2 device. I haven't found good apps that work well with GMail and Google Calendar. And the touch version of Internet Explorer is terrible at interacting with the Google websites. Most importantly, I need to have a good Google Voice interface in the mobile world. The rumors are the Google Voice is going to be replaced with Hangouts functionality, but we're still waiting to see how that plays out. Either way, there doesn't seem to be much available for this on the Windows Phone platform.
Finally, I've heard a lot of good things about Google Now. I've already seen bits and pieces of this. When I have a flight confirmation in GMail, Google provides the current flight status, and offers to add it to my Calendar. As long as I have my data in the Google ecosystem, I might as well take advantage of it. (Yeah, I know, Siri and Cortana are promoting similar features.)
And I'm also looking to take advantage of G+ and Hangouts. I haven't really done much with these so far, and I'm looking for creative ways to use them to keep in touch with folks (and maybe offer some live presentations on-line).
So, Goodbye HTC, and Hello HTC. If anything interesting happens, I'll be sure to let you know. But I'm expecting that the new phone to slide into my life with no major disruptions. The best technology is technology that stays out of the way. Fingers crossed.