Of smartphones, sealing wax, and kings

I was at the Verizon store the other day just browsing. I’ve been thinking of changing my phone. I currently have an iPhone 4S, which I do enjoy and with which I have hardly any issues with. I have to hand it to Apple in that regard. Having everything proprietary is a good business model if your goal is reliability.

My first smartphone was an Android phone, a Samsung Galaxy S. when I first got it, I was amazed. Everything was fast and responsive. But as the months went by, little things started to happen. The phone would freeze up or it wouldn’t make phone calls and I’d have to not only shut it down, but pull the battery as well.

I took it in and the tech explained that some apps can cause that but they couldn’t pinpoint which ones. So the best fix was to reset back to the factory settings and start from scratch. Download an app, make sure it works by running it through its paces, then download the next one. He made it sound like this was a time-intensive task, not something that would take a few minutes, but probably days as you ensured each app functioned well within the OS. However, even if all those apps did work flawlessly when I first downloaded them, anyone of them could go wonky when the OS is updated. And if the phone started acting up, I’d have to start all over from a clean slate again.

Sorry, but that seems like a really shitty way of running things and I have better things to do then constantly flush my Android phone.

So I went to the dark side and picked up an iPhone. I, a confirmed Apple h8er. And I’ve had it for a year and a half with virtually no problems. As I said, since only Apple makes the hardware and the iOS and only Apple approves and stringently tests which apps get to be out in the market, this makes for a very stable system. Which I really do like.

But now we come to what I really don’t like. The teeny tiny screen. It’s something like 3×2 inches and because of that I find my eyes starting to blur after continuous use. Burning, itching eyes I do not find pleasant. So I’d like a larger screen and as far as I’m concerned Apple dropped the ball when they updated the iPhone 5. The phone is the same width and maybe a little taller. Not sure what the new screen size is, but I’ve played with it and there really isn’t much of a difference when you’re suffering eye strain issues. Yes, I’m going to see my eye doctor this Saturday, but I’d really like a bigger screen and not Coke bottle thick prescription lenses. Besides, that doesn’t really solve my fat thumbs on their tiny virtual keyboard issue. now does it? As someone who hates typos, I want a larger keyboard, too. And I won’t get that with an iPhone 5 that is the same width as my phone. The problem isn’t the horizontal distance between keys but the vertical distance between the rows. And that hasn’t changed.

So I’m looking at a new phone. Androids, supposedly, have improved a lot in nearly 2 years and some sources say their OS surpasses iOS in various ways. Plus, they have these phablets or whatever they’re calling these new devices that are a cross in size between a large smartphone and a small tablet.

In an age when Mankind has tried furiously to miniaturize everything (I had heard in Europe, cellphones had reached postage stamp size before the smartphone craze hit), phablets seem a step in the other direction.

So I’m looking at a few of the phablets, like the Samsung Note and the industry’s current competitive response with a wave of larger smartphones. They all seem to do the job: provide an easier to see screen and a larger virtual keyboard.

But then I played with a Windows 8 phone. I’ve been leery of Windows phones because, well, its Windows. They are the antithesis of Apple. Whereas everything Apple works well together and you can always expect predictable high performance between hardware and software, with Windows nothing is predictable and nothing is perfectly compatible. I have spent literally years of my life troubleshooting Windows related problems. Why won’t this print? Why can’t I see the network? Where’s my email? And so on and so forth.

In this day and age we shouldn’t have to put up with such unreliable shit. And yet we do. Complaining all the while.

So does it make sense for me to even consider a Windows phone? No. Especially when Windows 8, which is on my oldest son’s recent laptop acquisition completely baffled me to tears as I tried to set it up for him. I finally gave up and just told him he had to figure it out.

So why a Windows phone? I don’t know, but the little bit I played with it they seemed very responsive and the layout seemed clean. Plus, Nokia has a Windows phone and I’ve always heard good things about Nokia but Verizon hasn’t carried them in ages. Granted they aren’t phablets but they’re still comfortably larger than my itsy bitsy teeny weeny iPhone screen.

So I’ll be researching those phones as well as Android. I’ve already run across Windows reviews by h8ers, who just rip on the phones without any real justification.

One small issue is its voice recognition capability is primitive when compared to SIRI and what Android offer. Fine. I rarely use Siri anyway. It’s more of a novelty for me. I can live without it.

And then there are the strange reviewers who complain about a lack of apps — then mention Spotify and Instagram as examples. Wait, do people still use Instagram? Really? And I tried Spotify, but couldn’t figure out why I needed it.

As long as it has Evernote I’ll be happy.

So feel free to let me know what smartphone you use, if you’re happy with it, and why. I’m curious and I’ll add it to my pros and cons.

Plus, I’m easily influenced by peer pressure.

Not.

-30-

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