So, a few months ago, I wittered endlessly on about needing to replace my phone, laptop and e-reader. I eventually did all those things and am now revelling in a nest of technology. Some of the things I wrote about, but I haven’t said anything about my phone.
After a bit of agonising over whether my first non-Nokia phone in over a decade would be an iPhone or an Android model, I plumped for an HTC Desire, and I am thoroughly enjoying the phone.
Indeed as someone who (eventually) woke up on New Year’s Day, I now totes consider myself vindicated.
Although, having said that, the alarm is one of the many things that have taken some getting used to. The HTC doesn’t appear to turn itself on to ring the alarm, so my old bed time routine of setting the alarm, turning the phone off and plugging it in, for it wake and sound the alarm in the morning has taken some changing.
Now I leave the phone on overnight, albeit plugged in, and I use Locale to realise that it’s night time and turn the sound off, only to turn it back on again just before the alarm is due to sound. This approach is not perfect, as it means I miss late night calls and texts (mostly from Helen Duffett). I could do with an app that lets me tell the phone to silent from now and for the next X hours. Or indeed, I could return to a phone that turns itself on to sound the alarm.
Starting to use the phone was initially a bit of a pain, but got better. In fact, having now used an iPod Touch and an Android phone, I’d characterise the key difference as follows: if you like it to just work, get an iPhone. If you don’t mind – or positively enjoy – tinkering with it a bit to get it just right, then get something Android based. I eventually got the phone’s 7 screens set up something vaguely useful with all the various apps I use. From far left to extreme right they are:
- RTM to do list app (not ideal – could do with filling the screen)
- Full calendar in month view
- Agenda (the next few calendar entries in list form)
- (main home) Clock, small agenda, and 4 key icons: camera, gmail, Opera Mini, Foursquare
- SMS app
- Battery bar, settings button and Mail button for my Council email app
- Few more random icons for a few things I use more often
Getting stuff into the phone in the first place had been a bit of a worry. I always used to use Goosync to keep a cloud-based offsite backup of my Nokia as part of my disaster-recovery plan. This meant that behind the scenes, and almost unused by me, Google had my calendar and contacts backed up. As soon as I told the phone the details of my Google Account it started fetching my stuff out of Google and adding it to my phone without me having to do much about it. So thousands of contacts and hundreds of calendar entries are now sitting somewhere in the phone’s memory and bubble up to the surface as and when required.
As I’m with Orange (and have been since 1999 – which is now just about paying dividends in line rental percentage discounts) the phone was pre-loaded with awful Orange apps that are all about making Orange money. It tries to send you to Orange’s own app store and festering pot of expensive ringtones, but eventually I discovered the actual Android Market and installed some apps of my own choosing.
A shout for some of my favourites:
- Angry Birds. Fun game that everyone is playing.
- Fix My Street – report broken stuff to your local council
- Locale – make the phone do stuff automatically based on where it is, like turn silent at work
- Our Groceries – lovely, free shopping list app than can be shared by more than one smartphone user to have joint shopping lists.
Ye gods, getting GooSync setup has taken me hours, but then, I’m using a 5800, one of Nokia’s first smartishphones.
Which we found out today is still worth cash at various recycling sites, so might be worth asking Orange if I can pay to upgrade to a Desire early, I’m getting jealous of Jennie’s. Well, except the battery life, which is less of a problem for me generally.
Bit surprised that GooSync was painful, I don’t recall it being particularly problematic? Have they sent you a config SMS?
Battery life on the HTC can be extended to days by turning off all the automatic sync – but I prefer auto sync…
Bit surprised that Montezuma or whatever it’s called was offering me nearly £100 for my old N95.
You must get WordFeud (artesea).
The built in Google Maps navigation is pretty good, and if you move to Birmingham (or just search for it) you get 3D maps!
TuneIn radio is really useful. Plays every radio station I want to listen to, so I don’t need 50 different station apps.
Google Sky Map allowed me to “watch” the eclipse this morning without going outside (although it was cloudy anyway).
For Twitter I still use dab.argh in the browser.
VPlayer Beta is the best for viewing my collection of AVI TV shows.
As for nights, using Tasker (bit like Locale, but with huge amounts of control). I’ve got it to turn off Sync between 10pm and 6.59am. This allows me to have the audio on in case I get a text or call from family, but stops all my emails.
You could set Tasker to do something like, “whilst plugged in to the mains, between the hours of 9pm and 9am stop sync” so that you continued to get emails when you are out late, and don’t get woken in the mornings when having a lie in, but I’m happy with my set up.
The other option with Tasker would be to set up a rule saying if “Helen Duffett calls, turn the volume up, play the Imperial March, and once the call has ended, return back to silent”.
Battery on my Nexus lasts until I go to bed, unless I’ve spent the day on the sofa and then the battery needs charging during the day, but that’s because I would have been using it for nearly the whole time.