Android is here!

After much pondering, I shelved my venerable Nokia N95 – the deal breaker was the fact I could not get it to work with the new wireless headset from Jawbone, despite flashing the firmware to the latest version. I guess the finns decided it was not worth the effort to support the latest bluetooth stack on such an old piece of equipment.

Alas, it will not die, as it’s being passed on to other family members to clock more years of good service.

I replaced the old workhorse with a not state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S2 (no, not S3) which basically does everything the S3 offers in a much more manageable form factor; another sign of old age is the fact I lived through the full cycle of portable phones from big to small to big again.

This weekend was therefore devoted to exploration – I bought my unit from some lad who’s moving up to the S3, and he was decent enough to upgrade from Gingerbread to ICS, saving me the chore, so here is the inevitable “first impressions” post.

  • it is SO nice to have a file system again! have not mastered it all, esp.  the external SD card (inherited the puny 2GB SDHC from the Nokia, immediately purchased a 16GB one – of course)
  • the Jawbone performs flawlessly, even though I miss the archaic explicit commands of automatic connection which obviously this newOS takes fro granted.
  • the form factor is truly sleek once you dispose with the ugly bumper that came with the unit courtesy of its previous owner; sorry folks never buy used gear from me, it will be scratchy, buffed, dented…
  • I hate clutter and the screen does look cluttered – not much to do, except throw away stuff you don’t use
  • still baffled by the USB storage thingy which is visible even when the unit is NOT connected to my Mac – maybe needs a little more explorating
  • have immediately ditched the Samsung Store for Google Play (koreans still don’t understand software) but I hate it, too. Too similar to the obtuse iTunes UI, only noisier
  • Navigation app pretty cool – will be interesting to compare it to the rumored new Apple one when iOS 6 comes out
  • Sound is a bit thin, if loud, but I hate the fact they show one of my pics when playing a song whose cover art is not available – what’s wrong with a blank screen?

Haven’t yet used the camera – not my favorite feature in any phone anyway, but I must admit I was surprised by a use case I had not anticipated, which is Internet radio with wireless headset; I worked all afternoon in the garden under truly sweltering heat to the sound of Grateful Dead Radio (“by DeadHeads, for everyone”) and the headset was so light I forgot I had it on. So muuuch better than wired headsets – OK, not stereo, but I was not looking for high fidelity, but rather some music to keep me company while trimming the driveway and cutting down a dead branch.

Despite several hours of play both batteries were still about 40% charged, remarkable when you consider that the phone had bluetooth + wifi going.

Could I do this with the iPad? theoretically I think so, but it would be just unpractical to take the iPad from one work location to another, smudge it with muddy hands and so on; it was just so much easier with the phone, I tuned on the station I wanted, slipped it in my pocket and forgot about it.

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