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A New Android Phone August 18, 2011

Posted by Peter Varhol in Software platforms.
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I bit the bullet and got a new mobile phone last weekend.  Now, I’m not an early adopter, don’t seek the coolest new features, or need a lot of apps.

I did have a couple of requirements.  First, I’ve started traveling on business to Europe occasionally.  Not often; three times this year, perhaps three or four times next.  My phone and my mobile provider are strictly CDMA, and I don’t want to move to AT&T or T-Mobile (which may well be one provider in the not-too-distant future).  I’ve been renting GSM phones, which has been a serviceable solution, but wanted to take my own phone.

I started with CDMA-only US Cellular in 1997 when they were to only native provider in New Hampshire, and with Consumer Reports giving the company the best grades for customer service, I’m not willing to change (although I had a horrible customer service experience getting my new phone).

So I wanted a world phone, one that could swap in a GSM SIM when I traveled to Europe.  I could have stayed with Blackberry (the Bold), or moved to an Android phone.  Life is too short not to try new things; I got an Android – an HTC Merge.

US Cellular tends to be behind the bleeding edge on its phone offerings; they say being conservative lets them ensure the phone’s
reliability on their network.  The Merge is clunky – it’s a thick, heavy phone, but a part of that is due to the slide-out keyboard, a feature I liked.  The touch screen also works well.  I can download any of the apps in the Android Marketplace, although I’m still learning the ones that came with the phone.

Two things I regret about the phone.  First, no one doubts that Blackberry has the best email.  Most of the five accounts I send to my phone are personal accounts from an ISP.  While I can set the sync time, it still falls well behind the reception times I got on the Blackberry (I have one account that does an Exchange sync, and it’s no better than okay).

Second, the battery life is horrible.  It won’t last a full business day.  I suppose I won’t mind until I start traveling again, but it looks like it needs to be charged almost as often as my laptop.  Boo, hiss.

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