[personal profile] binidj
... in my defence, life has been, well, somewhat disjointed of late. Nothing hugely dramatic, just minor health stuff, minor domestic stuff and the occasional threat of nervous breakdown. We hope to resume normal service as soon as possible etc. etc.

Anyway, this is absolutely not intended to be an(other) emo post ... therefore please keep sympathy replies to yourselves, they are not what I need right now, nor do I need hugs, fluffy animals or anything to "make me feel better". And yes, this applies to you.

So what I actually want is some advice. My poor old Palm E2 has seen better days and I'm starting to get an inferiority complex every time I get my mobile phone out, so I'm looking for, yes you guessed it, a smartphone. Now this is where you come in, listed below are what I see as my current choices with attendant dilemmas attached to them. I'd appreciate any advice you can offer regarding these dilemmas. With a bit of luck, between us, I will soon be sporting a smartphone that will be the envy of all of Christendom.
  • Android
    Currently my favourite, Google's open source OS ticks a number of boxes and promises both longevity and an expanding range of apps. Also these phones seem to be the only ones with slots for memory cards. Downsides are that I'm struggling to find any unlimited data contracts for these phones, also many of the phone manufacturers are unknown to me and I fear the unknown.

  • Palm Pré
    I recently heard that Palm were in quite a bit of trouble and likely to go bankrupt in the very near future. Although the Pré looks like it's a fantastic phone, I don't want to get saddled with something that will receive no support in the future. Also I'm a little concerned that the range of apps might be a little limited. I want a balance of fun and practical apps and I can't see me wanting very many but I shall be quite miffed if the ones I want aren't there.

  • Apple iPhone 3GS
    I've seen iPhones and they are, indeed, pretty; also they have more apps available than I've had hot dinners. However I am very worried about the proprietary nature of the machine; most particularly, if I want to play music, I don't want to go via iTunes ... this seems symptomatic of the Apple mindset, "if you want it, you can have it, but on our terms" ... frankly I want no part of this.

To be honest, despite it being my least favoured option, I can see me ending up with the iPhone ... this makes me a sad panda.

In other news, come to Odyssey it will be amazing. Of course it will be even more amazing if certain members of the story team get off their well-upholstered arses and start writing ... but as I said above, that's a work in progress.

Date: 2010-02-14 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
While I love my iPhone, and will happily sing its praises, I am very much of the Church of Jobs. For me, the ease of sync-ing my phone with my Mac at home was the big eye-opener - having had so many problems with Palms and phones in the past suddenly deciding that they didn't want to talk to my computer for no reason whatsoever, this was a big deal. I have no idea how easy it syncs with PCs.

With regard to the Android, you might find that you can get unlimited data as an add-on to an account. O2 offer the 'Unlimited web' bolt on for a lot of their deals, and I'd guess that other providers do something similar.


Date: 2010-02-14 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skelneth.livejournal.com
T-Mobile also does unlimited data for an extra £5 a month. I have an Android Pulse from them as I like the iphone interface but couldn't justify the expense having already got an itouch and hardly using my phone
The pulse has a plastic screen over the iphone's glass one and as such isn't as touch responive as i would like it to be. As I'm not even a medium usage mobile phone user its not too much of a problem, but i can see it annoying people who are using it for data and texting on a regular basis.

I must admit I do now seem to be using my phone more and I like the google apps i have so far found.

Date: 2010-02-14 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
The iPhone syncs fine with a PC - there is a slightly annoying habit for the microsoft camera/scanner function to appear before iTunes wakes up, but if you just ignore it, you just sync as normal.

While you have to download updates to the software and apps through iTunes, you can quite easily buy music from elsewhere. Yes, it downloads into iTunes, but you don't have to buy from iTunes.

May main gripe about the iPhone, which like [livejournal.com profile] jfs I love, is the lack of multitasking.

I would imagine with any of the other phones, when you need to upgrade the OS, it will be so large that it will have to come down the web rather than across 3G, so you will be toed into someone's proprietory software, be it Apple, Microsoft of Google.

I understand that the Nokia N97 is pretty good from those what have one, and that nice Mr [livejournal.com profile] pax_draconis has a fancy smartphone of some kith, kin or kine, which may be of use to you.

Date: 2010-02-14 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
I've not actually found the lack of multitasking to be an issue, because it does multitask enough.

Mail is push, so that downloads in the background. Music / podcasts can be played while other things are going on. Safari keeps track of webpages open as you switch between applications. Copy and Paste works across apps.

I've not hit a situation where I've felt the need to have two apps open as opposed to just reopening the ones that I need. Mileage obviously varies.

Date: 2010-02-14 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] invisible-al.livejournal.com
Likewise I've not run into a situation so far where I've missed multitasking, switching between stuff is pretty smooth. And only downloading one thing at a time makes sense on a mobile connection.

Date: 2010-02-14 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
By and large I think I agree with you. As I say, it's only a minor gripe, but when I am using an app and the phone rings, it would be nice to simply answer the call and then carry on rather than restart, similarly closing everything down to reply to a text can be annoying, though not a critical issue.

Date: 2010-02-14 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skelneth.livejournal.com
He and Nic have HD2's

Date: 2010-02-14 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] invisible-al.livejournal.com
I don't have any complaints about my iPhone 3GS, it just works and has enough usability twiddles to make most things easy to do. You're also not locked into using iTunes to buy tracks, amazon make it very easy with their downloader and anything else it's just a few clicks. Also I'm pretty sure [livejournal.com profile] westernind uses an alternative to iTunes, so hopefully she'll pop up.

Android wise I'm hearing good things about the HTC Hero off a few geek lists I'm on, that appears to be the current darling with 'people who don't fancy an iPhone'. Worth looking into, anyone we know have one?

Date: 2010-02-14 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
She does, but not for an iPhone - it's possible to use other software to get music onto an iPod (which is basically just a hard drive when it comes down to it) but you can't do the same with the iPhone without Jailbreaking (and therefore potentially Bricking) it.

Date: 2010-02-15 07:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swiftblade.livejournal.com
That wasn't the issue though was it? The way I read the issue was not having to buy your music on iTunes as I understood it? I could be wrong though.

You don't need to buy music on iTunes, I have have tons of MP3s from other sources and they are all on my iPhone and work fine.

The iPhone has some issues, the propriety nature being the worst (how dare you delete stuff off MY phone?) but for overall ease of use and access to apps I've seen nothing better.

By the way, I'm not an apple fan boy, quite the opposite in fact. Also, I have a tendency to want to buck the trend, but I've been very happy with my iPhone and Sharon liked stealing it so much she got herself one too :)

Date: 2010-02-14 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pax-draconis.livejournal.com
Whilst not listed in your options, I am going to wave the flag for the HTC Touch HD 2. If you can endure the (well hidden) Windoze Mobile system, it's the king of smartphones thus far.

Happy to demonstrate when I see you next, soon, for Odyssey business.

Date: 2010-02-14 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] binidj.livejournal.com
Nope, Windows is right out. I know it's an odd knee-jerk reaction but I simply don't trust any Micro$oft technology.

Date: 2010-02-14 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] probablyscotty.livejournal.com
I ain't a big fan of Apple, but I have grown to love Itunes. It is capable of keeping its own copy of your music, and the Genius function is brilliant. You don't have to use Itunes store to buy or download music.

Currently I'm over 4000 tracks on my Itunes, and the ability to select one and have Genius either suggest other music I might like, or to look at my library and select, from that 1 track, a playlist of 100 similar ones is brilliant.

Date: 2010-02-14 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
And you can have Genius on your phone too - it's one of my favourite ways of reminding myself of what music I have squirreled away in the 40Gb of hard drive it's taking up ...

Date: 2010-02-14 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] probablyscotty.livejournal.com
Ah. Functionality I'll never use. ;-) These days my phone is an emergency lifeline and a paperweight.

Couldn't be without my Ipod though.

Date: 2010-02-14 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kathbad.livejournal.com
I do not know enough about the others, and am myself headed for an iPhone imminently.

It is very lovely to hear from you, I have been considering a call or email to check how life is treating you. Is there a good time to chat?

Date: 2010-02-14 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] binidj.livejournal.com
Tuesday or Thursday morning is about the only time this week that I am certain I'll be free to chat.

Date: 2010-02-14 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samharber.livejournal.com
Android is a case of you get what you pay for. iPhone and Pre are both examples of software written to a certain spec to work with a given platform. Android suffers from being what can be shoehorned into a given piece of plastic. My T-Mobile pulse is an excellent example. It's the cheapest Android phone and it shows. The ROM is too small to ever be upgraded, the screen is unresponsive, and every now and then it will have a hissy fit and need a reboot. If you go for the top end though, you get the beautiful glass screen, all the ROM you'll ever need, and a stable platform.
I'd stump for the Nexus if I wasn't such a skintflint.

Date: 2010-02-14 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hybridartifacts.livejournal.com
Since I don't have any great knowledge about smartphones (I still use a creaky old mega-cheap mobile that can hardly do anything other than ring make/receive calls) here's a giant fluffy cuddly teddy-bear for you!!!
No- seriously, it's good to see you post. Crap stuff aside (join the club btw, lots of minor crap been happening round my neck of the woods as well) how are you doing? What are you playing/doing in Odyssey? Do we get to see photos of you in a toga looking regal?
For my sins I am off to the World Horror Convention in Brighton in March http://www.whc2010.org which I gather sold out shortly after I got my membership. Storm Constantine of Immanion Press and dark fiction fame persuaded me to go network there. Last time I went to a big convention in the UK was also in Brighton (the World Sci-Fi Con, back in the 80s).

Date: 2010-02-14 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] binidj.livejournal.com
I am the aforementioned lazy member of the Story Team, so I'm helping to write the thing. There is a slight possibility that I may be photographed in lorica segmentata if I escape from the office.

Hope you have fun at the convention!

Date: 2010-02-14 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hybridartifacts.livejournal.com
That sounds like the best role of all.

I hope I do as well - part of me suspects it could be a bit dreary at times. I'm not really the convention sort - I am short on adulation and make a piss poor 'fan' of anything much and prefer getting my hands dirty creatively to hearing writers talk about it. Art is a bit peripheral at most of these things - present but somehow given reduced significance.

Date: 2010-02-15 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] castorlion.livejournal.com
Hmmm, Odyssey does look remarkably tempting. There's something very enticing about ancient myth and magic.

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Date: 2010-02-15 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simes2112.livejournal.com
Bin -

When I stopped playing EQ my need for a Windows based home computer went away. Last April I bought a MacBook (the cheapest one) and I can even play WoW on it. So it is fair to say that I am well and truly in the Apple camp. For my birthday in December Marie bought me an iPod Touch which love for my music (over 5000 tracks on there) and my photos (almost 20000 on there now) and the apps are useful sometimes, but fun mostly.

All that said I have a work provided mobile phone, a Blackberry Pearl 8100 and it is a very robust phone but the tariff that IBM have us on is gprs only i.e. rubbish for internet use. A good friend of mine gave me a present this time last year of a Blackberry Bold 9000 and I went with O2 on a Simplicity 20 month to month contract with an unlimited Blackberry internet usage deal which costs me £20 a month. My good friend recently sent me the new Bold 9700 and it is great. My primary use of the internet on the Blackberry is email (linked to my googlemail account), facebook, twitter - I browse very little on it, the Bold is not great for that as it has a small screen compared with the iPhone. If you want browsing and need a bigger screen then the new Blackberry Storm 2 might be worth a look.

So by employer allocation and mega generous friendship I sit in the Blackberry camp and the iTouch keeps my wanting for an iPhone away.

Finally, regarding iTunes - I don't know why so many people knock it. It is the best and easiest to use "MP3" file manager that I have come across and I don't just buy my music from Apple. I buy from Amazon, Tesco, Sky and others - and most download managers provided by these other companies recognise that iTunes is becoming pervasive and automatically add their downloads into the iTunes library for you.

One of the biggest benefits I have found of moving into the Apple camp for my computing needs is that the computer just works. I don't get anywhere near the number of 'blue screen' or 'crash' events as I did on my windows PC.

Re: Apple and Blackberry Pie

Date: 2010-02-15 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] binidj.livejournal.com
As far as iTunes is concerned, I don't really download music. What I do tend to do is convert physical CDs to MP3 files and pop them on my Palm. My understanding is that iTunes doesn't play well with this sort of behaviour, though I freely admit that I may be wrong.

Re: Apple and Blackberry Pie

Date: 2010-02-15 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simes2112.livejournal.com
Yes, iTunes in the early days used to be very badly behaved. It used to name the files cryptically and also by default it uses the AAC encoder rather than the MP3 one.

I have got mine set to encode as MP3 and I let iTunes manage the media folder and copy the importing the music files to the iTunes media folder.

Net result is I get a nice neat folder structure - Music > Artist > Album > Tracks (in MP3 format). These could be easily moved into any MP3 player.

Re: Apple and Blackberry Pie

Date: 2010-02-15 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] velvet-the-cat.livejournal.com
I went through a similar decision at the end of last year and ended up dismissing the iPhone due to cost (and not buying into the whole Apple thing at all).

I got it down to the HTC HD2 (which you probably won't want because under the covers it's Windows Mobile) or the Blackberry Bold 9700. I got the latter and it's ace for what I'm using it for: e-mail, phone (uncommonly important requirement these days it seems), web, Twitter and web. I have yet to try it for music mainly as I haven't needed to yet.

The screen is smaller, but it's crystal clear and zooms in nicely.

The battery lasts days with average use rather than hours and its good at connecting to WiFi. Plus it picks up Vodafone 3G signals in ropey areas (i.e. home).

Oh yeah, it's small too! Vogonfone do reasonable unlimited (as much as any provider offers anyway) packages with bits 'n' pieces thrown in.

If you're avoiding WinMob, I believe the HTC Hero is supposed to be a fine alternative and more comparable with the iPhone.

For Palm Pre reviews have you spoken to Roz? I believe she has one.


Date: 2010-02-15 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tony (from livejournal.com)
Love my iPhone, 'it just works'. Don't mind iTunes, only start it when I need to sync, handles the music really well, does what it says on the tin.

But really, love my iPhone. And I'm not a fanboy, I don't own any other apple products.

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