Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Impressions of a New Phone

I've never really seen the point of having a smartphone. I'm on the Internet all day long anyhow, so why would I possibly need a device that puts me back on it when I'm away from my desktop and laptop? Even so, it made sense to finally upgrade because of the discounts I was eligible for through Verizon, who were desperate to get that old equipment off their network. In fact, my monthly cost is now $2 cheaper, and will be $20 cheaper once the phone itself is paid off.

My previous experience with smartphones consisted of sending texts from Rebecca's iPhone on her behalf in the car and then complaining that my fingers were too meaty for the on-screen keyboard and horrible auto-corrections. I chose the Samsung Galaxy S5 because it was Consumer Reports' top pick in 2014, far cheaper than an iPhone, and boasts a pretty rugged exterior for someone like me who drops everything all of the time. I also figured that having an Android device leaves open the possibility that I can make $0.00 per month as an app developer someday in the future, without being locked into the Apple ecosystem.

Activating the phone was painless, and I immediately set to work uninstalling all of Verizon's bloatware apps. I have previous experience in this arena, having bought HP computers for years. One I had slimmed the device down, I set up a custom ringtone from my vast quantity of MP3s (Minor Changes by the Hi-Los) and called it a day.

I'm not a fan of mobile UIs, which unnecessarily restrict the things you can do while providing poor iconography on the things you can do. I also dislike how many different permissions various apps require, although I understand that the next Android update will allow you to selectively turn certain permissions off -- why does Facebook ever need to send a text message? I also started an Instagram account so I can see all of Rebecca's pictures, but am worried that I'll accidentally trigger an unexpected Like or Share as I swipe and grope my way through the UI.

Of the past six days, my new phone has sat on the desk at home pretending to be a landline for four days. I doubt I'll become a phone addict, but will update you all if I ever decide to fully embrace the 21st century and actually keep the phone on my person. You will know it's happened when I become the only person in the world "checking in" on that new hip app, Foursquare.

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