A while back I caught the Android bug. Had to have it. Got myself a Samsung Epic, found some things to like, but others not to like. Mostly it was about the hardware, not the OS. So I got an Evo to replace it. The entire time I was switching back and forth to my BlackBerry Bold, but the Android periods were getting longer and longer. I was beginning to think I had turned permanently.
In the end I'm back to my BlackBerry 9650 though, with a couple lessons under my belt. The greatest realization I came to was this: I don't particularly like Android. What I did like was the HTC Evo from a hardware perspective.
The Evo is large but thin. The 4.3" screen is fabulous for things like Google Maps, pictures, movies, etc. Great camera too. And web browsing, always the Achilles Heel of BlackBerry, is an entirely new experience on the Evo, thanks mostly to the large screen. Event he on-screen keyboard, something I've always loathed, was easy to use and quite pleasant really on that large screen.
But it's funny how we often have to re-learn the same lessons, several times even. My #1 priority remains email. Yet again I found I was trying to turn the Evo into a BlackBerry as far as messaging goes. I did this same thing with a bunch of Nokias way back when, tried it with some basic dumb phones like the Moto RAZR2 (yeah, that was a FAIL all right!), and then I tried it with my Android phones. I went so far as to actually buy an aftermarket email program simply to have a unified inbox. Nothing, not even the paid solution, came close to the BlackBerry email experience. All the free email solutions had one fatal flaw or another. Often is was the inability to set up accounts with certain email providers. Hotmail seems to give a lot of them fits. Others wouldn't remember my appearance settings. One kept defaulting back to the "light" theme, and it's hideous. The developer, quick to respond, says "they're working on it". Great. He seems to put out an update every six months or so.
Another alluring feature of the Evo was the ability to "root" it and be able to use free tethering. Just wheeze data right from Sprint. Sounds great, but there's just one problem: I have major moral qualms about stealing services. I'd love to be able to tether my iPad and use the 4G service, but I'm not going to pay another $30/month for it, especially when I don't know how often I'd use it. I know one thing though - I'm damn sure not going to steal it.
Another strong selling point for BlackBerry is BBM. That's just the best darn im program out there. Better class of users too.
It seems like the folks I have as BBM contacts are just a bit more focused than the crew that slings around text messages. I know I'm talking in MAJOR generalities now, but this is my subjective experience. It's especially true with my wife! She's an iPhone user and text message junkie. Everything she sends me is either a repeat of somebody else's text message or something mundane like her issues with the manicurist at the nail salon she frequents, local gossip, etc. Oh. My. God. I've told her to save that stuff until we're sitting down for dinner. Then I can listen to all that fluff. But if I get one more sms from her that begins, " I just HAD to tell you this...." I'm going to go postal. I'm sure that if she had a BlackBerry and BBM she'd do the exact same thing to me. But the point is that she doesn't. My BBM contacts don't seem to think that way. Maybe it's because they're more business users, or maybe the BlackBerry appeals to a more purpose-driven user base. Whatever. It's just refreshing.
Lastly, I think I just plain outgrew the silly drama of the various Android forums. They seem to be a bunch of kids either scamming the system or whining about not being able to scam the system. I found myself longing for the community of professionals that use BlackBerrys and spend their time simply trying to improve other users' experience with the platform. Maybe it's a generational thing with me and I'm just turning into an old codger. Whatever the reason, I couldn't bear going to those forums for answers or simply to help.
So once again, I re-activated my Bold and put the Evo on a shelf. The registration message and individual account activation confirms came streaming in, and it was like a cool breeze on a hot day. Open source, my ass! Just give me what works best for me. I really wanted
to like Android, but a user should have to try
to like something. In the immortal words of Maurey Ballstein, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, BABY!!"