Paranoid Android

For the last year I have been limping along with a Blackberry Storm. At the time, it was the best that Verizon had to offer in smartphones. But even with several OS updates it had serious problems:

* After the last OS update the phone was covered in Java errors.
* Only a small number of apps could be launched at a time and they stayed resident in memory until the phone crashed, about once every 18 hours.
* The camera did not work. Period.
* Gmail was POP3, not IMAP, so my mail account and phone did not stay in sync.
* It only downloaded apps to resident memory meaning only a very small number of apps could be downloaded and updating/patching an app meant more memory and a whole phone reboot.
* A very small number of apps actually worked and simple apps like Weatherbug crashed the phone.
* It was exceptionally difficult to use a dialpad during calls so doing simple things like navigating a phone tree was nearly impossible.

But it made calls, ran Google Maps, got twitter, and got my email, so in general it was okay although I had taken to call it “my fucking Blackberry.” Complete with very plasticky phone casing that did not survive bumps or drops well, it was not holding up. It was an exceptionally beta product.

Eric decided for Valentine’s Day to get me a new phone. It came down to Motorola Droid or the Palm Pre because on the East Coast it is either Verizon or Pain*. I ended up rejecting the Palm Pre for several reasons:

* I am not convinced Palm, as a company, will be around tomorrow, let alone in 2 years when it is time to get a new phone.
* The Palm Pre has even less app support than the Blackberry Storm.
* I have a Palm Tungsten and it drives me crazy to the point where I have abandoned it except for Quicken.
* My mom has a Droid.

The last one was a surprisingly important reason to get a Droid. We went over to the Verizon store which has turned into DROIDTOPIA and the sales guy wanted to ensure that it was “the right phone for me.” He was confused when I told him I wanted a phone that could get my email, get sports scores (March Madness yo) and make calls and how hard it is to get all three but I had read on the Internets that the Droid did this. The Palm Pre and the Blackberry Storm2 were relegated to sad little back corners of the store covered in cobwebs and forgotten, unloved. Thus I got a Droid.

Funny thing is, I love this stupid little device. I have a great and expansive love for Motorola hardware because it feels big and heavy and powerful and it never, ever breaks. Our Motorola-made phones live long after their expected lifetime — Eric has my RAZR3 and it’s still perfectly fine. But that’s not really it. The droid:

* Gets my mail via IMAP so my account stays in sync;
* Gets sports scores;
* Makes phone calls.

It’s the holy grail device! It does the three things I ask of it! It does a bunch of other things to, like ssh out to a shell and give me a full color xterm in itty bitty but very usable type. Get on WiFi at home. Present an awesome version of Google Maps with automatic traffic overlays**. Sure I had it launch some of the bling apps like Flickster because why not. I’m using:

– Seesmic
– Gmail
– Google Maps
– Google Star Maps***
– Connectbot
– Weatherbug
– Yelp
– Evernote
– Facebook

Of course, for me, the big win was when I hooked it via USB cable to my Ubuntu 9.10 HP Mini netbook, dragged a movie over to it and it played flawlessly. From Ubuntu! Once it has dropbox it will be awesome.

Sure I’m sad that I cannot have an iPhone but this seems like the next best thing. Maybe now I will be a little less annoyed at my array of gadgets.

I feel sort of bad. I spent my entire life criticizing Microsoft-heads for their unquestioning Microsoft-worship of All Things Microsoft and here I am pumping money into Google. Maybe I am still futily wanting a monorail out of it.

* Of course if the iPhone was on Verizon it’s no choice at all.
** The Storm gave me this, too, but it would often crash the Storm.
*** If you do backyard astronomy this app seriously rules.