Today is the one month anniversary of my purchase of the HTC Hero Android phone.
HTC Hero Phone Attribution: AlvinPing at en.wikipedia
So what do I think?
I’ll make this easy for you: I like it a bunch and love the possibilities of the platform. ( I am running Android 1.5 so this is from that perspective.)
Here is what I like:
It is a Pretty Decent Phone – Yep it is at its heart a good phone and it works as well as it can on the Sprint Network. I am still mystified that I cannot get a non roaming phone signal inside one of our branch libraries. Thought I could and probably will solve that problem using Google Voice;
No Little *&^%$#@ Keyboard – I hate little crappy physical keyboards on phones. (I am looking at you Droid!) Little keyboards are things of the devil and this phone has a pretty decent virtual keyboard. It is not quite at the level of the IPod Touch keyboard but it does have way better word predictability;
Yep, There are Apps for That – No, it is not at the place that the IPhone OS is today but it is coming along nicely. Oh, (Biiiig selling point here) I am not limited to buying/installing/backing up apps just from the Apple Store. I can put whatever app I want from any source on my phone. Just by unchecking one box. Do YOU have an app for that? (Yes, AppleNauts, I know you could jailbreak the IPhone and add all sorts of cool stuff, but the thing is you don’t have to with android; )
It is Easier to Move Stuff Around – Don’t discount this little thing. I have a ton of apps and it is much easier to organize them on my Hero. No more funky dragging and hoping it will fit. No more deleting the icon and program accidentally and having to hunt it down in the App Store. Of course choosing to just delete an application yourself is a chore and is discussed below.
Getting New Apps can be easy as Pi or QR – If you have the Barcode Scanner (or any of a number of excellent code reading apps) you can point your phone, have it recognize the code and go right to the application on the Android Market. Sweet.
Micro SD card for my stuff — My old phone (the Samsung M300) was not designed for media/photos/tunes. This phone is designed to easily deal with those file. And I love it!
HTC Sense Tweaks to Android — They do some cool things to Andriod to make it look and work much better. This is great for the end-user, but it will (and has) delayed upgrades to the latest versions of Andriod. And unfortunately there are some programs that need to use the newer version of Andriod to shine. Such as UrbanSpoon.
What I would like it to do better:
Better organization of the Andriod Market – Google, I now have certain expectations of service. I expect my application shopping area to remember what I have downloaded, so I can recover what I had on my phone in case it bricks up. Which my Hero did after two days. I expect my market to just simply be better organized. As in separate searches for paid and free programs. Oh heck, just make yourself like the IPod/IPhone app store and be done with it.
Better Application Management — First, I need more room for said apps. Having a SD card without the option to store my programs there is not cool. Second, the internal storage that holds my programs needs a shot of HGH. It does not like a bunch of programs on the phone and will give you the “you are running low on space on your phone” warning. Third, give me easy access to program management tools. The IPod/IPhone lets you delete the application from your phone by selecting it properly. No menu drilling. No waiting for icons to appear to find your application which takes a while if you have a lot of applications. Fourth and finally, could I please, please, please be able to delete the Sprint Bloatware on my phone. This stuff takes up valuable space on the phone. And as I just mentioned there is limited space for applications on the phone.
Better Google Stuff. Sounds odd. Google’s operating system, and no native application for GReader? Really? Seriously? And no support for Google Groups? Again, Really? And a third-party app for Google Docs? You have got to be kidding me! Seems you (Looking right at the Googleplex) could have spent a little more time on these features for YOUR operating system rather than roll out stuff like Buzz in such a ham handed way.
A Really Good Browser – Once again, this is a Google OS, home of Chrome. The Android native browser is less than adequate. It is read by web pages as a Safariesque broswer, (which makes sense) but it is ….off. I await either Chrome making its way to Android 1.x or Firefox to get its Andriod browser off the ground. I wait with bated breath.
A Decent RSS Reader — I am still searching for that in Andriod. Any suggestions?
A Good FriendFeed Client — For some reason, FriendFeed and the native Browser do not get along. I have tried MotherFeed and have found it wanting. Any suggestions for a good FriendFeed client?
Final thoughts after a month:
I think Android is my phone OS of choice for the foreseeable future and my phone should serve me well for the next year or two. I do find myself leaving my iPod Touch home and not missing many of the Apple apps, since I have most of that functionality from my cell phone. However, the iPod’s saving grace is that it is a fantastic music delivery device which will insure its survival in my personal technology toolkit.