Last month I switched cellular carriers, dropping T-Mobile and switching to Sprint. I had a very weird echo problem with my Blackberry Bold, and my business partner had the same issue with her cell phone. Coverage in my service area, the St Croix valley area, had deteriorated as well. I will not do business with ATT and Verizon is just too danged expensive for my blood. I am told the coverage is generally better in our area on Verizon, but I had been a Sprint customer before, and was happy with the coverage I had, so back I went.
When I switched, I also made the decision to leave Blackberry behind and move to Android. iPhone was out of consideration because it is only available on ATT or Verizon. I am also just not a fan of the closed development Apple marketplace. I just do not want Steve and his minions deciding what I may or may not do with my own property. I gave some brief consideration to the new Microsoft Windows Phone 7. I’ve seen it in action and it is a very compelling phone OS, but my feeling was that Microsoft is just behind the curve developmentally.
Two years ago when I switched to T-Mobile, I bought a Blackberry, but my son went with the Android G1. I instantly developed a serious case of phone envy. My top of the line Blackberry just seemed so limited in comparison to the G1. Web surfing was painfully slow and less than completely useful. The screen was so small. Email worked well enough, and syncing with my Outlook calendar and contact list was fine, but it just seemed lacking in so many other ways.
I purchased the Samsung Epic. It has a great slide-out QWERTY keyboard, plus it supports on screen typing for those moments when a quick response works. The phone appears to be pretty durable; I unfortunately have dropped this phone three times on pavement, but it survived my mishaps without incident. I am going to buy a protective cover. Drawbacks have turned out to be that the battery drains too quickly, so I am keeping a charger close at hand at all times. It is pretty large, and a bit on the heavy side as well. But the large size makes for a screen that is very useful on the web. Downloading applications and page loads are snappy on both the 3G and 4G networks.
I already had a Google account, so synchronizing my Outlook calendar with my Google Calendar and then my phone was a snap. Plus I have the added advantage that I no longer need to connect my phone to my laptop to synchronize appointments. A change anywhere updates the other two automatically in the cloud.
Initially I was a bit torqued-out that my contacts would not synchronize, but a little research brought me to the downloadable application gSyncit, which set me back twenty bucks, but has proven to be worth it. A word of warning – if you are already using Google Calendar Sync, just use gSyncit to synchronize your contacts only, or you run the risk of getting duplicate appointments.
What I love about the Android is that I can embed a mapping link into my appointment notes, and click on the link prior to driving to my meeting, and get my directions quickly through Google Maps. I also am on Latitude, another free Google location service, along with key members of my staff, and we can use Latitude to see where each of us is during the day. It makes connecting on the fly a breeze.
In fact, this phone is for all purposes a small portable computer that makes phone calls. And has a 10 megapixel camera with a flash. And a front facing lens to support face to face video calls. My initial impression is that it is AWESOME. I have only been playing with my new toy for a month, so I am sure I will find more useful features, like tethering and turning up the 5 person hotspot. And probably loading up some music. By the way the provided ear buds are terrific and much more comfortable than the crappy ear buds that came with my iPod Nano. Stay tuned for more reports.Share