Monday, July 27, 2009

Android: Growing On You Or Simply Getting Better With Age?

I haven't always been kind to Android, specifically, my G1 since I've gotten it.  The hardware is dated and feels cheap compared to the iPhone.  Let's just be  honest here.  T-Mobile's myTouch is simply G1 without the slide-out keyboard, which after playing with the onscreen keyboard, is certainly one of the strengths of the G1.  Except for the rise on the right-hand-side, the keyboard is quite good.  Now, we also know the HTC Hero with its beautiful take on the UI on top of Android is coming but that this mobile device is also plagued with dated hardware.

Imperfections aside, I have grown to appreciate how the Android is so flexible as a mobile OS.  I'm still confused about how to shut down apps running in the background but on the whole, the ability to run apps in the background is one of the better features of Android.  It's something that Android has, as far as a feature, over the iPhone OS.

For my mobile needs, I believe I've gotten down what I expect from the G1 and the apps available for download and use.  See, the thing about mobile computing is the ability to stay connected to the Internet - email, IM apps, and social networks.  In the beginning, that was not possible.  For instance, there is still no Facebook app but I've been able to get around that with Meebo, which now is able to maintain a semi-stable connection.

I believe like all things Google, it a snail's rate of development and innovations but, most certainly, there is always progress.  However, more and more, I believe it's worth waiting for.

Take for instance, Google Voice (GV).  While technically not of Android's development, it's an app that is certainly makes mobile computing and daily tasks all the more efficient and easier for folks to stay in touch.  With GV, you're able to link any number you want to a GV number, send and receive SMS for free (I've yet to use any of my regular T-Mobile SMS allotment this month), have recordings of voices mails, and just found out yesterday, that I can record individual greetings based on who is calling.

It's stuff like this that makes me very excited about Android's future.  To be frank, I still think we're paying members of Google's beta army but more and more, I don't mind as much.

Looking at it another way, mobile computing is years if not more than a decade from perfection (just don't let me get into battery life) and we'll be in beta for a long time to come.  I'll probably find something to complain about in the future as I try to squeeze more from Android but for the time being, I'm pretty happy.

Note:  Oh, and if you don't already have Google Voice, sign up and get one.  Head over to Google Voice and ask (beg) for an invitation.

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