During summer I wrote a small blog post on my thoughts on replacing my iPhone 3GS for an Android device. Frankly, the introduction of iPhone 4 had left me underwhelmed and as such the post could at the time be used as a point of leverage for preparing myself mentally to take the Android plunge. In the end I opted for the Samsung Galaxy S with Android 2.1. (Eclair) – not sure what to expect I fired the up the phone – and all hell broke lose – or… things changed… and in a lot of ways things changed for the better.
I am a geek
First impression – my God what a screen and what an overall nice look and feel. Second impression – this is sloooow and laggyas hell – and Samsung makes the worst PC software ever (note… there is currently no software for Mac-users in order to update new firmware and transfer computer content to you Samsung Galaxy S…. but if the software would have been in same miserable shape as its PC counterpart, I would not let it near my Mac even if my life depended on it). So… what to do… enter: geek-mode.
Rather than just accepting the state of things I started digging into optimizing my Samsung (and Android) experience… and it turned out I was by no means alone. I quickly got acquainted with XDA Decelopers and their forums for Android in general and Samsung Galaxy S in particular. I found myself learning a whole new vocabulary with terms like rooting, SuperUser, Recovery Console and Odin PDA flash and the likes… and I loved it… but… would I want my dad (or in fact any other family member) to get an Android phone (or at least a Samsung Galaxy S) – Hell no!
Making my Samsung Galaxy S usable
Again… loved (and love!) the screen… but hated the laggy feeling – and missed some of my favorite iPhone apps. It quickly dawned on me that my Android phone suffered from bad coding in the carrier made rom (yet another sexy concept) that comes with the phone – and that the “über-geeks” over @ XDA had a fix for my woes. It was a lag-fix that was applied through an application downloaded from the market… that same application also “rooted” my phone (same as jail-breaking on iPhone) and did some other tricks that I to this day am unaware of.
So… there you have it… had it not been for the geeks, and had I not been a “small geek” I would properly have attempted to turn my phone in and gotten an iPhone 4 instead. But…. now… as they say “The first cut is the deepest” – this means that I am now throwing geek-lingo left and right, am trying custom-made roms for my device and pushing the phone to its limits and beyound (which explains the “Force closes” and instability experienced by some Android users).
So I guess the real confession here is that without being a geek (to some extend) the Android/Samsung experience would have had me run back to Apple and iPhone and lie flat on my back and pledge my eternal support for iOS… but it did not happen…
Next page -> Android day2day
Getting used to Android was much simpler than I thought… to be honest it is not all that different than my iPhone 3GS. I like being able to do multi-tasking and I really love how my device is always connected to my Google-cloud. Setting up the phone was extremely easy and straight forward. And despite Google’s initial attempt to sabotage their own product by not giving other users than the Americans access to paid apps in Android market (again – that was circumvented by the nice people over at XDA), the Android market has so many nice apps that I would claim that Android should not feel too embarrassed when compared to the App store for iPhone.
Things I hate
- No EyeTV application – and radio silence from Elgato in spite of numerous queries to the matter
- No Boxcar application
- iTunes for media and updates (pretty sure I am the only one here…)
- That Samsung does such a horrible job in supplying their phones with the latest releases and patches to Android
- That Samsung has disabled the option to get Android software updates over-the-air
Things I love
- There is nothing I cannot change or customize. If a want a different home screen and layout of my applications – I download it from the market and apply it. If I want a different SMS application, I download it of the market… and if I want a different dialer to handle my phone calls.. (you get it now…) There is virtually nothing that I cannot do.
- Using my device as a hot spot
- How lightning fast my Galaxy S is as soon as I abandoned stock Samsung ROM
- The community that “comes with” the Android. Due to the open nature of Android the number of foras and communities that make contributions are stunning. An abundance of tips, tricks and help is available – if you know where to look
- Tight integration with Google
A word on Samsung and Android
2010 must have been “The year of Samsung”… with their massive gamble on Android devices around the globe (and the Galaxy Tablet) Samsung is now a player that must be treated with respect. However, Samsung has to realize that they, too, must treat their customers with respect. Right now a movement set fourth by various forums such as Samdroid.net is gaining momentum on twitter. Under the hash tag #NeverAgain Android users are showing their frustrations with Samsung as the provider of the Android solution stating problems both with the stability of the Android software, the extreme time-to-market to update stock Android to their devices and the reluctancy of Samsung to release their source code to developers (as is required under Open Handset Alliance).
For me, on Samsung, there is not doubt in my mind that I will never buy a Samsung-powered Android phone again… but if I do, I will only do it to remove the Samsung ROM and replace it with a custom open ROM. My twitter-friend said it like this:
Gunnar Þór Hafdal
The Samsung Galaxy S is first class phone burdened with a second class OS.
Next page -> Android Final thoughts