How quickly we can change our minds. Last Spring I left a comment on the article, Why I Refuse to Own a Smartphone, stating that I totally agreed, that I didn’t have one and that I didn’t want one.
Fast foward four months and now I have an LG Ally with Android on it. (no iPhone for me but that’s a another discussion for a different day – let’s just say I prefer open source to super proprietary. I even refuse to use iTunes.)
There are a couple of reasons why I did this.
- Free – I use Verizon and they have the new every two years for phones with a contract renewal. I don’t always get a new phone right away but the one I got was free. Free is good. I thought that having a smartphone would end up making my phone bill higher because I would also need the data plan but I was able to shuffle things around a bit and am actually paying a little less now than I was before. So, free phone with a cheaper monthly bill. I know this is far from the best Android phone out there but I’ve been happy with LG and I really like the keyboard on it (I’m not so good with the touchscreen). There were two other Android phones that I liked more and had better reviews but they were not free. This is sort of like Android or Smartphone lite.
- Curiousity – I’ve been curious about Android and have wanted to use it. I really like gadgets but rarely NEED then so I don’t bother spending the money. And most of my friends and family are less into gadgets then I am so I don’t usually have the opportunity to play with other people’s. I love/hate Google but I do use a lot of their products so using Android makes sense.
- Open Source – I’m a big fan of open source software. I do use Windows but other than that all of my software is open source or at least free. I used to dual boot between Linux and Windows and only use Windows for games but I haven’t set that up again since the last time I had computer problems. But software choices; Open Office instead of Microsoft Office, VLC instread of Windows Media Player, etc.
Anyway … having no real experience with smartphones or Android I was a little miffed that the phone came with a tips guide but no real manual. I’ve been looking for the best online resources and decided to share what I have found.
- The Complete Android Guide – this was written by Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker. The online wiki version is free. You can also purchase a pdf or hardcopy of this material. Some of it is basic but in the first few chapters I learned a lot that made me more adept with the phone. I also learned things that I knew nothing about, such as I can use wifi for data transfer rather than Verizon’s network when there is an available access point. Much faster and it doesn’t eat up your data plan if you don’t have unlimited.
- Android Forums – A lot of my searches have brought me to this site. Seems to be a great resource for having specific questions answered or problems solved.
- Beginner’s Guide to Android by Androinica – This site devoted to all things Android has gathered their tips and articles for beginners in one handy location.
- Android Central Tips and Tricks – useful list of resources for figuring out how to do things with Android
I still don’t need or want to be always connected but I am finding the phone fun to play with and it does make some things easier. For example, after dropping my daughter off at school I can stop at the cafe for a coffee and go through my email without having to lug around my laptop or feel like I need to rush straight home and get to work. So far, rather than making me feel like I’m always available, it has made me feel a little bit more free.
Do you have a smartphone? Are you lost without it? What kind do you use? Do you like it?
photo credit: astanush