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Old 09-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Left BlackBerry for Android, and came back. Again.

Iím a serial switcher. There. I said it. Iím always looking for the latest/greatest device that will make me more productive. No apologies for that. I have no silly loyalties to any platform or company and I donít think anybody should. You should use the device that best suits your own individual needs, and nobody knows what those needs are better than you. Everybody has different focuses. For some itís entertainment while others are all about multimedia. For me itís communications and PIM functions.
When I discovered BlackBerrys the 7230 was the new hotness. Yeah, I go back a ways. My Treo 650 let me down in the middle of a major project so my search for a reliable alternative with mobile email took on an air of urgency. I quickly realized that all the available Palm apps meant nothing if you couldnít rely on the device to function at all. BlackBerry had exactly what I needed already built-in. No aftermarket apps but suddenly that looked like a good thing. Serious communications, unrivaled reliability. BlackBerrys were not trying to be too many things at once. Instead it was a purpose-driven communications device designed for professionals. Genius!!
Over the years Iíve been seduced away from BlackBerrys by various features offered by other platforms. And the same thing happened every time: I found myself trying to turn this new device into a BlackBerry. Iíve tried Nokia phones in both the N-series and E-series, SonyEricssons, a couple of Windows Mobile phones, and I even gave Palm another chance when the Pre and WebOS arrived. After trying unsuccessfully to turn these various sowís ears into silk purses I did the only smart thing. I went back to BlackBerrys.
My latest flirtation with an alternate platform was Android on the Samsung Epic 4G. After experiencing all the neato wowee features of Android and the Epic I appreciate my BlackBerry even more. As cool as these features are and as sweet as about a bazillion apps may be, few of them made me more productive.



Epic Positives:

4Ē Super AMOLED Screen. Wow! Spectacular display. It looks like a small plasma tv in your hand. Even compared to the EVO the Epic display is killer. Bright, crisp, and vibrant. As Iíve gotten older my BlackBerry screen has gone from being perfectly fine as far as size to just ok. That big beautiful screen on the Epic is very alluring.
Widgets. These are cool and fun, but few of them make the user more productive. The best of them seem to be weather widgets and the Google Search box. Often they are for more closely monitoring your phone or your twitter account. They may not be geared towards productivity but theyíre a big part of the Android user experience.
Live Wallpapers. Very slick. The Epicís 1 GHz Hummingbird processor enables this kind of functionality without the system taking too big a performance hit. Basic animated backgrounds, but when tied in to the Android system they can update to reflect the time of day. Bright at mid day, they darken as the day goes on, finally reflecting the same scene but at night. Combined with a live weather widget you can get some very cool effects.
GMail Integration. Set up a GMail account and youíre instantly backed up. Enter a contact in GMail on a pc and itís instantly on your Epic. Same with the calendar. Very tight integration.
Apps, Apps, and More Apps. Rivaled only by Appleís developer community, Android is like Palm was back in the day. You could find ANYthing for Palm, and today itís that way with Android. Free apps, paid apps, itís all there. And the marketplace app in Android is full of reviews, screenshots, and descriptions.




Epic Negatives:

Battery Life. Although the Epic 4G comes with a 1500 mAh battery, itís powering a 4Ē screen and a 1GHz processor. The AMOLED screen is more efficient than other screens of that size but itís still power-hungry. Saying the Epic is better than some other Android phone (which it is) may be true but it still doesnít make it good with respect to battery life. Just better than the EVO, or Droid, and theyíre abysmal.
Overall Size. Itís big. Too big, IMHO. Maybe thatís the price for having that gorgeous 4Ē screen and a slide-out keyboard. The phone is just a bit oversized to be convenient. Definitely not a pocketable phone. Perhaps the shape has something to do with this. Although I havenít used one besides at a quick inn-store demo, the EVO feels better and more usable in my hand. Even with itís bigger footprint, the shape and thinness of the EVO just seems better ergonomically. I really like the size of the Droid/Droid2. Iím beginning to think that the 3.7Ē screen is about the ideal compromise between a large screen and an ergonomic design. Itís a trade-off and totally subjective, like all my observations.
Email Handling. Iím comparing the Epic to a BlackBerry and thatís really not a fair contest. BlackBerrys are designed with email functions as one of their prime directives. But with email as my primary concern in a phone itís a comparison I have to make. What works best for me? Screw fair comparisons, this is all about me. The Epic really was not bad, it just wasnít up to BlackBerry standards. I put one exchange account and three POP3 accounts on my Epic. All the accounts except the exchange account were on a polling schedule. Mine was set for every Ĺ hour which seemed like the best compromise between timely email and battery life. These same accounts on my BlackBerry Bold are pushed instantly to me. That instant push email gets addictive. And with email communications as my focus this becomes a major benefit of the BlackBerry over Android.

Minor Stuff. There are little things that I believe will get ironed out in a future update of the Android platform. One thing is sorting contacts. The Epic only sorts your contacts by first name. No option to sort by last name or company. Can you believe that? Another is lack of a alphanumeric password. You unlock the device with a swipe pattern on the locked screen. You draw a shape on a field of dots and thatís your password. Try convincing your IT department that a swipe pattern is the same thing as a password. And with only 4 points on the dot field, most donít see it as secure. My IT department didnít and I had to work outside the system to get my exchange email account on my Epic. Thatís never a good thing to try and is often grounds for immediate dismissal. Maybe pure touchscreens are simply not for me. I like the trackpad on my BlackBarry. I can also appreciate the nav pad on the Moto Droid. While the Epic has a keyboard, itís designed really just for typing, not navigating around the main screens.

Last edited by rambo47 : 09-26-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-26-2010, 03:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks Rambo made for a very good read
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Old 09-26-2010, 04:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome back to the "black" side. I too have been messin' with other OS'. Tried the iPhone for awhile. Thinking of trying Android, but you and several others have about convinced me not to do it. I like the 9800. Does what I need it to do.

Now when some manufacturer comes out with a handheld with the power if an Intel i5 and 18 hour battery life, so I can replace my laptop and Mac, I might give that a go.
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Old 09-26-2010, 05:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome back. I suppose the 9800 would the latest/greatest. Unless you want to wait for the new clamshell lol
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome back. I suppose the 9800 would the latest/greatest. Unless you want to wait for the new clamshell lol
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I love Sprint, but their BlackBerry selection is lagging both AT&T and Verizon. I'm very skeptical about the clamshell BlackBerry but I will of course take a look. Ideally, Sprint would get a Storm 3 or a CDMA version of the Torch.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I read someplace the 9130 was going to Sprint. Or maybe it was the 9330? I can't keep up with all the changes.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yea, we can only hope it takes on better then their last flip phone.

Supposedly AT&T has exclusive on the Torch like VZW does on the Storm.

I'm actually happy with my 9650, OS 6 really makes it feel like a new device!
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I love my 9650. I haven't had the stones to try OS 6 yet because my current OS is running so smoothly and trouble-free.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Good review! I'm hoping that my Legend will arrive soon...
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't know what version of Android the Epic 4G runs, but on 2.2 you can have alphanumeric passwords as well as the pattern.

Settings > Security > Setup Screen Lock. Here you can set None, Pattern, PIN (numbers only), or Password (alphanumeric).
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The Epic is on Android 2.1, impatiently awaiting 2.2 "Froyo". I know your EVO has 2.2 already, but these Galaxy S phones are still too new.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah, there are some nice updates with 2.2. Such as the new security feature, full Flash support as well as the ability to store apps on the media card.

It's a matter of preference, as you've stated. It took me a while to get used to the touch screen and typing on the Evo, and I wanted to run back to the BB, but I held it out and I am happy with my choice. However, I do still carry a BB around for work, so I think that helps as well.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
I love my 9650. I haven't had the stones to try OS 6 yet because my current OS is running so smoothly and trouble-free.
Yea I'd hold off for another leak or two. This leak is good got it has a few quirks in there.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
Left BlackBerry for Android, and came back. Again.

Iím a serial switcher. There. I said it. Iím always looking for the latest/greatest device that will make me more productive. No apologies for that. I have no silly loyalties to any platform or company and I donít think anybody should. You should use the device that best suits your own individual needs, and nobody knows what those needs are better than you. Everybody has different focuses. For some itís entertainment while others are all about multimedia. For me itís communications and PIM functions.
When I discovered BlackBerrys the 7230 was the new hotness. Yeah, I go back a ways. My Treo 650 let me down in the middle of a major project so my search for a reliable alternative with mobile email took on an air of urgency. I quickly realized that all the available Palm apps meant nothing if you couldnít rely on the device to function at all. BlackBerry had exactly what I needed already built-in. No aftermarket apps but suddenly that looked like a good thing. Serious communications, unrivaled reliability. BlackBerrys were not trying to be too many things at once. Instead it was a purpose-driven communications device designed for professionals. Genius!!
Over the years Iíve been seduced away from BlackBerrys by various features offered by other platforms. And the same thing happened every time: I found myself trying to turn this new device into a BlackBerry. Iíve tried Nokia phones in both the N-series and E-series, SonyEricssons, a couple of Windows Mobile phones, and I even gave Palm another chance when the Pre and WebOS arrived. After trying unsuccessfully to turn these various sowís ears into silk purses I did the only smart thing. I went back to BlackBerrys.
My latest flirtation with an alternate platform was Android on the Samsung Epic 4G. After experiencing all the neato wowee features of Android and the Epic I appreciate my BlackBerry even more. As cool as these features are and as sweet as about a bazillion apps may be, few of them made me more productive.



Epic Positives:

4Ē Super AMOLED Screen. Wow! Spectacular display. It looks like a small plasma tv in your hand. Even compared to the EVO the Epic display is killer. Bright, crisp, and vibrant. As Iíve gotten older my BlackBerry screen has gone from being perfectly fine as far as size to just ok. That big beautiful screen on the Epic is very alluring.
Widgets. These are cool and fun, but few of them make the user more productive. The best of them seem to be weather widgets and the Google Search box. Often they are for more closely monitoring your phone or your twitter account. They may not be geared towards productivity but theyíre a big part of the Android user experience.
Live Wallpapers. Very slick. The Epicís 1 GHz Hummingbird processor enables this kind of functionality without the system taking too big a performance hit. Basic animated backgrounds, but when tied in to the Android system they can update to reflect the time of day. Bright at mid day, they darken as the day goes on, finally reflecting the same scene but at night. Combined with a live weather widget you can get some very cool effects.
GMail Integration. Set up a GMail account and youíre instantly backed up. Enter a contact in GMail on a pc and itís instantly on your Epic. Same with the calendar. Very tight integration.
Apps, Apps, and More Apps. Rivaled only by Appleís developer community, Android is like Palm was back in the day. You could find ANYthing for Palm, and today itís that way with Android. Free apps, paid apps, itís all there. And the marketplace app in Android is full of reviews, screenshots, and descriptions.




Epic Negatives:

Battery Life. Although the Epic 4G comes with a 1500 mAh battery, itís powering a 4Ē screen and a 1GHz processor. The AMOLED screen is more efficient than other screens of that size but itís still power-hungry. Saying the Epic is better than some other Android phone (which it is) may be true but it still doesnít make it good with respect to battery life. Just better than the EVO, or Droid, and theyíre abysmal.
Overall Size. Itís big. Too big, IMHO. Maybe thatís the price for having that gorgeous 4Ē screen and a slide-out keyboard. The phone is just a bit oversized to be convenient. Definitely not a pocketable phone. Perhaps the shape has something to do with this. Although I havenít used one besides at a quick inn-store demo, the EVO feels better and more usable in my hand. Even with itís bigger footprint, the shape and thinness of the EVO just seems better ergonomically. I really like the size of the Droid/Droid2. Iím beginning to think that the 3.7Ē screen is about the ideal compromise between a large screen and an ergonomic design. Itís a trade-off and totally subjective, like all my observations.
Email Handling. Iím comparing the Epic to a BlackBerry and thatís really not a fair contest. BlackBerrys are designed with email functions as one of their prime directives. But with email as my primary concern in a phone itís a comparison I have to make. What works best for me? Screw fair comparisons, this is all about me. The Epic really was not bad, it just wasnít up to BlackBerry standards. I put one exchange account and three POP3 accounts on my Epic. All the accounts except the exchange account were on a polling schedule. Mine was set for every Ĺ hour which seemed like the best compromise between timely email and battery life. These same accounts on my BlackBerry Bold are pushed instantly to me. That instant push email gets addictive. And with email communications as my focus this becomes a major benefit of the BlackBerry over Android.

Minor Stuff. There are little things that I believe will get ironed out in a future update of the Android platform. One thing is sorting contacts. The Epic only sorts your contacts by first name. No option to sort by last name or company. Can you believe that? Another is lack of a alphanumeric password. You unlock the device with a swipe pattern on the locked screen. You draw a shape on a field of dots and thatís your password. Try convincing your IT department that a swipe pattern is the same thing as a password. And with only 4 points on the dot field, most donít see it as secure. My IT department didnít and I had to work outside the system to get my exchange email account on my Epic. Thatís never a good thing to try and is often grounds for immediate dismissal. Maybe pure touchscreens are simply not for me. I like the trackpad on my BlackBarry. I can also appreciate the nav pad on the Moto Droid. While the Epic has a keyboard, itís designed really just for typing, not navigating around the main screens.
I found just the opposite. Non BES email on the BB is horrible. Everyone says the BB is an great email device, and on BES, that's true. But if you are limited to BIS, then the BB is dead last IMHO. No true IMAP, no Exchange support. How is that so great. I set up my Exchange account and my Gmail on my Android device and they get mail instantaneousness. Full wireless contact and calendar sync with both Google and Exchange as well.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I have one exchange account on BIS and my email hits my BlackBerry as fast as it hits my desktop computer at work. I think it's on a provider-by-provider basis as to how well BIS email works.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
I have one exchange account on BIS and my email hits my BlackBerry as fast as it hits my desktop computer at work. I think it's on a provider-by-provider basis as to how well BIS email works.
The big problem with BIS and Exchange is no folder, contact or calendar support. Without that, it's kind of useless to me.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Went to Android myself and going to challenge a few things:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
[ 4Ē Super AMOLED Screen. Wow! Spectacular display. It looks like a small plasma tv in your hand. Even compared to the EVO the Epic display is killer. Bright, crisp, and vibrant. As Iíve gotten older my BlackBerry screen has gone from being perfectly fine as far as size to just ok. That big beautiful screen on the Epic is very alluring.
I had the Desire and the screen, although smaller, was also quite brilliant. Until I went outside. Then, even here in overcast England, it was basically unusable. Even a week in, I smile to myself when I walkl down the street and look at my 9700 screen and it looks just as good as if I were in a dark room.

AND I don't have to constantly wipe greasy fingermarks off it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
Widgets. These are cool and fun, but few of them make the user more productive. The best of them seem to be weather widgets and the Google Search box. Often they are for more closely monitoring your phone or your twitter account. They may not be geared towards productivity but theyíre a big part of the Android user experience.
Widgets....incredibly over-hyped. If I want to know the weather, I'll look outside. Or at a push, I'll have a favourite in my browser straight to the forecast. I certainly don't need battery and data used up with constant weather updates.

Twitter and Facebook widgets? I am a huge fan of Twitter. And found that a widget that showed me, at most, six or seven tweets was totally useless. All it ended up being was a shortcut to the ful app, so I removed it and just kept a shortcut icon. Ditto email and Facebook widgets.

There wasn't a widget that I found useful. Not one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
Live Wallpapers. Very slick. The Epicís 1 GHz Hummingbird processor enables this kind of functionality without the system taking too big a performance hit. Basic animated backgrounds, but when tied in to the Android system they can update to reflect the time of day. Bright at mid day, they darken as the day goes on, finally reflecting the same scene but at night. Combined with a live weather widget you can get some very cool effects.
I simply could not believe that the new version of Android had had development time and money spent putting in animated wallpapers and NOT in sorting out the, basically awful, PIM applications. I thought it was a simply idiotic feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
GMail Integration. Set up a GMail account and youíre instantly backed up. Enter a contact in GMail on a pc and itís instantly on your Epic. Same with the calendar. Very tight integration.
I actually got Gmail working really well. Contacts and calendar syncing was great for me, I ditched the Gmail app and installed a third party email client and accessed Gmail via IMAP and got real push email. Can't complain about that, but then really.....if they get anything right, it ought to be that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo47 View Post
Apps, Apps, and More Apps. Rivaled only by Appleís developer community, Android is like Palm was back in the day. You could find ANYthing for Palm, and today itís that way with Android. Free apps, paid apps, itís all there. And the marketplace app in Android is full of reviews, screenshots, and descriptions.
Problem is, apps are unregulated and unmonitored and I guarantee that within six months, as Android's user base increases, so will the desire by *some* to steal info, make money, etc. Security is going to be a MAJOR issue and the six months it takes for updates to cycle from Google -> Manufacturer -> Network -> User will not help this.

Agree with you on battery life - less than a day. Those huge screens and 1GHz chips just suck power.

Contacts - you have to sort them and use them how Google want you to. Android isn't made for PIM users.

Swipe to unlock - incredibly easy to work out if you simply look at the greasy fingermarks on the screens!
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArgonNJ View Post
The big problem with BIS and Exchange is no folder, contact or calendar support. Without that, it's kind of useless to me.
I am getting Contact and Calendar syncing with Google on my BIS BB right now. I am pretty happy with Google Calendar and Contacts as they now sync with both my BB and my iPad and I can access them via Chrome on my desktop. In fact, Chrome is only used for those and they are the homepage, so my Chrome link is a bit like my Outlook link.

Works for me.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review Rambo... I am BB user since first 5810 and in between have tried most of Nokia's E-serious and S60 platforms and so far I do agree that my BB can keep me organized with my day to day runnners.
I am big fan of Nokia and still carry one E73 because of its WiFi and other cool built in apps (radio, internet radio, podcasting etc) But since RIM has put some serious efforts on the BB APP World, I have pretty much moved all my life over to BB because now I can find really good apps on App World that was hard in the old days..

Over all , I have decided that symbian/Android/ might go away from me for good. but BB is here to stay because of it being a task oriented device.

I know battery on BB is not he best but still it carries me thru the day and I have no place joining the peace corp in Sonoran Desert where I will have to rely on solar powered BBs. -

Mobile device war is definitely in full swing and BB or its coll functionality will survive, even if it get adopted to QNX platform.

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Old 10-30-2010, 05:04 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I definitely love the threaded messaging though.
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