My first Android phone – HTC Evo3D
I have been looking for a phone to replace my iphone 3GS and Windows Phone is high on the contender list. I have never really considered Android as a viable phone platform.
But I just bought my first Android phone – a HTC EVO3D. In fact, I bought two. One for me and one for my lovely wife.
Let me just share what motivates me to do so.
While I still believe that windows phone OS is the BEST phone OS out there (in terms of functionality and usefulness), the current generation of windows phones in my opinion do have some shortcomings one way or another that bugs me.
1. Hardware issues – I have always liked Nokia phones but the latest Lumia 800 and 900 phones seem plagued by hardware issues. It would appear to me that Nokia rushed them out the door to meet with market pressure. This blog is not a nokia bashing blog. I won’t go into these details but if you are keen to know, a google/bing search will reveal a lot of what I am talking about here. I am sure these will be resolved by a firmware fix in due time but having a phone with these issues in the meantime is no fun.
2. Batteries – There is also the problem of the latest breed of high end Nokia phones being supplied with non user replaceable batteries. We have Apple to thank for these kind of “industry practices”. I am sure most will not find this an issue but as an iphone user for 2 years, I can tell you that using a phone with a deteriorating battery is no fun at all. Sure, I can replace the internal battery myself with a cheap ebay battery but why make phones with their batteries compartment inaccessible to common folks is beyond my comprehension. One would need to have a certain level of specialized skill sets (and tools) to pry open phones like these. The lumia 800 and 900 looks even tougher as the bodies are constructed from a moulded piece of polycarbonate. I don’t even know where to start looking where the screws are. Of course they can be opened but I don’t think I can do it.
I am into photography. I shoot Pentax DSLRs and Canon PnS. All my cameras use a similar type of Lithium-Ion batteries as any other phones. Even batteries for waterproof cameras like the Pentax WG-1 and WG-2 are user replaceable. It would be a nightmare if the camera manufacturers also follow Apple blindly but thankfully they have better sense that that. In fact, the only equipment in my house with a non-user replaceable battery is my Oral-B toothbrush. Yes. A toothbrush. However, the manufacturer has good reason to do so for safety reasons. I do not know how to justify this kind of logic in a phone.
3. Ability to upgrade to a future OS version – I am not expecting that any phones I buy will be able to upgrade to the latest whiz-bang OS from the manufacturer. Just like I don’t think it would be reasonable for an old iphone 3G (note: not 3GS) user to expect to be able to update to iphone iOS6 without any significant hardware compatibility issues. That being said, I would at least expect that if an updated OS is going to be released within a few months from the day I bought the phone (assuming that the phone is a current model), I should be given the option whether I want to upgrade to the new OS or not. This choice should be available for me. I should be the one to make the call.
When I bought my iphone 3GS, it came with iOS 3.1 or something. With each release of iOS since then, I have been able to upgrade and this carries on even until the latest iOS5.1 now. So that’s 2 major OS upgrades and many more interim updates in between (in fact I have been pretty sick of iOS upgrades every now and then and sometimes I just don’t bother upgrading). Some Android phones (notably the higher end ones) go through similar cycles. These phones generally come with Android v2 Gingerbread, but they are upgradable to v4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Some of these upgrades are pretty painless but some are slightly more painful. Again, that choice is available for users to make their decision.
There are rumours saying that the current breed of Windows Phones can’t be upgraded to the next Windows Phone OS release (Windows Apollo is due sometime Oct/Nov this year). Some rumours say otherwise. The worst is that they are no official statements from Microsoft to say yay or nay. This is a deal breaker for me. I am not prepared to buy into a phone when 3-4 months down the line, I am being told that my phone reaches a dead end in terms of OS updates. If Windows Tango is going to be Nokia Lumia 800/900’s final OS update, I must say this kind of strategy from Microsoft is extremely short-sighted and possibly a sure definite way to dig their own grave. I hope this does not happen as I would still like to enter the windows phone platform in future. But right now, my attitude is to wait and see.
4. Lack of phone options from other manufacturers – It would seem that HTC and Nokia are the only manufacturers currently actively in releasing windows phones that are designed to run on the Windows Mango/Tango release. Again, there are no sure confirmations if these phones will run Windows Apollo. I like to think so but I am speculating. Samsung has also been relatively quiet and news is that they will only release the next wave of windows phones when Windows Apollo is ready to launch. HTC windows phones, especially the Titan series, are extremely costly. Even the superseded HTC Titan 1 is selling at a price close to A$650. The latest Titan 2 is expected to sell even more. I cannot justify this kind of price on a phone and I am not prepared to go with another 2 year contract plan just to get a windows phone. Nowadays, my attitude is to buy phones outright and choose an affordable month-to-month no contract phone plan. Time is tough these days and we should not overspend unnecessarily.
After weighing all the pros and cons of owning a windows phone now, I have decided to go with Android for the time being until such time that I see the windows phone hardware platform gets more matured.
So right now, I have bought into the Android platform. After looking at some of the current breed of Android phones, I find that I like the HTC a lot better and in particular, the EVO3D. It is by no means the “latest” phone from HTC but it has pretty good hardware specs that I am sure most will not dispute.
Using an Android phone is like a getting started with linux all over again. To some this is an exciting adventure. To me, this is pretty taxing in terms of time and effort. I will blog about my experience of using an Android phone in the coming weeks. So stay tuned.