“My phone is better than yours!”

I really miss you!

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I got really burned up at the debate I had over lunch today.  I’ve had a smartphone since before they were called smartphones.  My first was a Palm Treo 650 (a brilliant device, but that’s another story) and it was considered a personal digital assistant that also doubled as a communication device.  At that time I purchased it, people were kickin with flip phones and super slim phones, all just regular phones.

I digress, anyway, I got into a sort of debate about my Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone, my co-workers iPhone 4 smartphone, and another co-workers Android smartphone.  Almost immediately they were both ganging up on me as they saw my phone as the inferior device.  I attempted to explain to them that my phone was experience-centric and not app-centric as their device were.  Where the whole “There’s an app for that” tagline that Apple has sued other companies over….

At no point did I dis their devices.  My focus on the debate was to demonstrate the point that neither of them had ever used a WP7.5 device and weren’t in a position to make a conclusion based on their own personal experiences.  I, on the other hand, have spent several hours each with an iPhone and various Android devices, and consider myself well informed and back my opinions and conclusions with fact.

What it turned into was more of a scene reminiscent of high school where it was “That’s stupid because I said so” and the “geek” was chastised for actually being smart….  It was all too close to home and I quietly removed myself from the situation.  I ended back at my desk, having taken a shorter lunch than normal, and seething inside at the shear immaturity of the entire conversation only moments before.

It really makes me mad when someone forms an opinion on something without taking the time to inform themselves of the facts or how something works.  My experience is larger than just smartphones.  I hear at least once a week “oh I don’t like that because of blah blah blah”….  where blah blah blah is what so-and-so said or they “heard” from some source.  When pressed they often don’t know the “source” they used to form their opinion.  Really?

My personal view on this, and I’ve written about this before.  Take the TIME to decide for YOURSELF what you like and don’t like about a smartphone (keeping it focused on that) before forming your opinions.  Don’t get a smartphone for ONLY one of the below reasons:

  1. You saw it advertised on television
  2. A friend purchased/told/described it to you and you HAD to get one too
  3. You spent 5 minutes with it and the in-store salesmen said “you really want that!”

Most of us have the Internet and access to the on-line reviews, consumer reviews, PCWorld, CNET, PCMag, etc. etc.  Your final decision should be based on everything you’ve read and experienced, not just because you’re friend got one too.

A sea of apps…. I’m drowning!

I’ve literally spent the last 2 hours going through the Windows Phone Marketplace (iTunes for Microsoft phones if you don’t know) and have come to several conclusions:

  1. It’s a terrible waste of time to “browse” looking for something interesting.
  2. There are thousands of apps to review (and this is the smallest store, iTunes is hundreds of thousands).
  3. Some developers have real large balls charging for an app that has a free equivalent from another developer.
  4. The thought process that goes into developing an app needs to be revisited.  A flashlight app, really?

I feel cheated out of the two hours I spent looking for an app that I didn’t know I needed.  You’re saying right now…

“How many apps did he download and install?”

Short answer is one.  Long answer is I downloaded an app that looked interesting, got reviewed well by fellow downloaders, and it was free to try.  I figured what do I have to lose, right?  So I did it, downloaded it.  I got so excited to click on it and see what it was all about and guess what happened?  My phone crashed.  Literally, screen went black.  Was this what my two hours culminated into?  It certainly was a moment where the word “F**********%%%%%%%%%%%%%%kkkkkkkkk!” was more than relevant and dare I say, required.

I’ve had the phone for 8 months now, and up until this moment of offending crash-i-ness, I’ve never rebooted or turned the thing off.  Probably the most stable phone I’ve ever owned (a post for another day though).  I took off the case, unclicked the batter cover, and did the battery pull that I hoped would return my phone to the living.  It worked, thankfully, but as soon as the it returned to life, I promptly uninstalled the cancerous app.

Were all those people wrong?  Was it the reflection of my face in the screen protector that made the app decide it didn’t want to be on my phone?  I didn’t know what to say on the feedback…..  would I dare be the first person to say the app sucked?  I decided to keep my comments to myself, as I truly didn’t know if the app sucked or not, it never ran for me to form an honest opinion.

What I did instead was download the Microsoft Developer SDK 7.1 for my phone, paid $9 for a dev unlock code, and unlock my phone for what will certainly be a time sucker hobby.  I decided in that moment of battery pulling and stewing over the app failure that I would learn how to develop apps that make sense for me, and if they worked, throw them up on the Marketplace site for others to use.

After all, there have to be others that use their phones like “its a tool that makes my life easier to live” rather than people that use their phones like “look at this, my phone lets me see in the dark”….  it gets me every time people showing me their flashlight app and I pull out my LED flashlight with the comment “this didn’t cost me $300 and a 2 year contract.”

Mango, mobile phones, happy geeks everywhere!

Anyone with a Windows Phone right now knows EXACTLY what the title means.  For those of you who currently sport an iPhone, Android “something”, or a Crackberry, here’s the short of it.  Mango is the code-name for Windows Phone 7.5 and it was just released to the owners of Windows Phones.  I would have put a picture of my own phone here, but it actually is surprisingly difficult to take a picture of a phone screen with another phone…..  weird.

Windows Phone 7 “Mango” (aka WP 7.5)

I opted instead for a picture of a phone and a disturbingly small Mango next to it.  Seriously, the guy that mocked up this picture couldn’t find a larger picture of a mango, like this one?

Sweet Succulent Mango

See, that’s a Mango that I’d eat provided I could scrape off the symbol and lettering.  Technically you don’t eat the skin, so as long as its not deep, I’d probably eat it.  Ok, enough pictures….

It took me almost 2 hours to update my Samsung Focus (highly recommend it) from crappy v7 to the new hotness v7.5 today.  I’ve been tweaking it ever since it was done after deciding that I needed to reset my phone to take advantage of the 8GB microSD card I’ve had installed in the phone since I purchased it.  Reset was required supposedly because it mirror’s or RAID’s the internal memory to the microSD card (another post, very geeky content).  What was once only 7GB of internal memory is now a glorious 13GB of internal memory.  Now I don’t need to be so picky what portion of the music I copy to it from my growing 50GB music library.

(soapbox) I’m always impressed with someone who decides that a “dumb phone” or “feature phone” isn’t enough of a challenge and decides to get a smartphone instead.  What isn’t impressive is the person that gets a smartphone for any of the following reasons:

  1. All their friends have one
  2. See the first reason

Tell the salesperson to bugger off (british slang!) and let you try out each phone.  Any Verizon, AT&T, and most T-Mobile stores have live demo phones on the floor.  Send a few random text messages, make a phone call, really give the phone a “once over” before deciding what is RIGHT for YOU. (/soapbox)

Sorry for the stray there, back to my original topic.  I won’t have a real handle on the 500-ish tweaks and updates that make up the .5 added to the 7 for Windows Phone, but you can bet that I’ll be writing about it.  If anything, I like to share, and perhaps make a few people more geeky in the process 🙂