Nexus Yes!

It has been a rough year for me in the cell phone area. Throughout this year I was on three or four different platforms across six or so handsets. It was definitely a year of swapping. I started out the year with a Motorola Droid that replaced my iPhone in October of 2009. From there I migrated to the Palm WebOS platform with a Palm Pre Plus handset. After that phone was dropped and left with a cracked screen, I moved to a Palm Pixi Plus, still on WebOS.The Pixi Plus was a super awesome little phone with a hardware keyboard that was a dream to use. When Microsoft Windows Phone 7 was announced I was (surprising) intrigued with what I saw. The phone that caught my attention was the HTC HD7. I went to see the phone in person and 30 minutes later walked out of the store with one in hand. Everything with the HD7 was going along nicely until December 16th came along. The release of the Google Nexus S. I looked at it online. I saw it in person. I ordered it online via express shipping! Why did I drop Windows Phone 7 so soon? Simple answer; google services. I use a ton of Google services everyday and the simple fact is that Windows Phone 7 does not integrate with Google services well at all (surprise!).

After a week of use, I am honestly completely blown away with this device / OS. The Nexus S is absolutely fantastic in the hardware and software departments. The Nexus is running the latest version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread. A big plus to the Nexus S is that it runs a build of Android that is completely untouched by carriers or manufactures, just pure Google. When it comes to hardware, it feels like what I have been wanting in a phone for a very long time. Solid quality, great look, and not a lot of extra unnecessary crap.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still a huge fan of Palm/HP WebOS! The problem is that I personally can’t sit around and wait for things to shake out in the Palm/HP universe. And to be honest the drama that was pouring out of the community lately was starting to really bug me. I would love for WebOS 2.x to come out and make me switch right back. I am totally rooting for them, excellent group of people over there at Palm!

Windows Phone 7 is most definitely going to be a major contender as we head into 2011. Other players in this market are going to have to take notice quickly if they haven’t already. Unfortunately, as much as I like the OS, it will most likely never been what I need as long as I use a mac and a ton of Google services. I am however, VERY happy that there is a new contender in the phone OS war. Competition is what we need to move ahead!

As always this could change at any second, but I am calling the Nexus S the bar that all new phones must at least reach in order for me to even acknowledge. It is official, the Nexus S is the best phone I have ever used as of December 26th, 2010.

PROS:

  • Beautiful screen
  • Great build quality
  • Comfortable to hold and talk on
  • Doesn’t get hot when talking on the phone
  • Gingerbread (Android 2.3) is brilliant
  • “Anti-fingerprint screen coating” seems to actually be real!
  • The power button is in the correct place (not on top)

CONS:

  • No notification light / indicator
  • No dedicated camera shutter button
  • Very slippery

SIDENOTES:

  • Haven’t been able to try the front facing camera on a video call yet
  • Haven’t had the opportunity to try the NFC (Near Field Communication) anywhere

Windows Phone 7: Photo Apps

Pretty much anytime I get a new phone / mobile device that has a camera the first thing I do is promptly download a ton of photo manipulation applications. It is amazing what you can do with a simple camera phone and some neat filter apps. I recently started using a new phone, the HTC HD7. This phone runs a completely brand new version of windows mobile they have called “Windows Phone 7”. You can read my previous post about that here. I just wanted to take a minute here and list out some of the coolest photo apps I have found in the marketplace this month. Here we go!


Apict by Oliver Payen. $0.99


Colorize by Kitron Software. $1.29


Crop by Dog & Pony Show, Inc. $1.29


Photo Caption by Pelnor. $0.99


Photo Location by Daniel Vaughan. $1.99


Photo Magic by Appa Mundi LTD. $1.99


Photo Studio by Moovesoft. $2.99


Picture Lab by Schulte Software Development. $1.99


Thumba Photo Editor by Thumba Corporation. $0.99

*Photo Enhancer by HTC Corporation. $FR.EE (only on HTC phones)

Windows Phone 7

It’s true! I got a new phone! (like that is a surprise) If you read the title of this post, you probably are not only aware of what the new phone is, but may also be confused as to why I would do such a thing!? Well, the fact of the matter is, Microsoft did something very right this time around! After having used and seen what Microsoft has done in the past with windows Mobile, I was not holding my breath for the launch of Windows Phone 7. Once Windows Phone 7 finally hit I was quite impressed with what I saw. After watching a bunch of videos online and reading a bunch of reviews I had decided that I liked what I saw and thought I might be in the market to pick up one of these phones.

fake phone

(Side Rant: Almost every time you see a picture of a Windows Phone, it is of the phone I have placed to the left here. Problem with this is, THIS PHONE DOES NOT EXIST! I love the design of this phone and this is the phone I wanted to buy. I can’t imagine how it makes any sense to anyone to market your product to consumers with a device that does not exist??)

Moving on.

Since the phone I really wanted was fake, I decided on what I thought to be the best phone in the first round of WP7 phones, the HTC HD7. The phone is quite beautiful, not perfect, but quite nice. I really like it. That is about all I am going to say about the hardware, since afterall, the hardware really doesn’t matter. The OS is what is important here, that is the part that is going to stick around, phone to phone, and (hopefully) grow with you.

From the very first use of the OS, I really thought they did it right. The design and user interafec are very beautiful and easy to use. I find the interface to be quite intuitive. (Somewhat hardware related) the OS is VERY snappy and responsive as well. The phone came with a pretty solid base of applications and services.

I really feel that if Microsoft stays on top of this platform and updates regularly, adding features, this platform is going to do very well and bring them back from the dead in the area of smartphones. Windows Mobile 6.5 was a complete disaster, which means they have an uphill battle trying to convince people that WP7 IS actually something different, not just a rev of that pile of garbage. I am really hoping they do not drop the ball on this one, because with enough effort, they will dominate the competition that has gotten far too comfortable in the mobile OS space.

Windows Phone 7 is definitely something to go check out in person.

Issues I am having:

  • If you use Google calendar, and have multiple calendars, it only seems to sync the main one.
  • I have had a couple apps crash, but a reboot fixed it. To be expected from a 1.0
  • Unlike other mobile platforms that give you a choice of search engines and so forth, this does not. So far WP7 means you have to use all Microsoft properties. Bing, Bing maps, Internet Explorer, etc. I have to think this will evolve to more choices in the future if they want to compete and gain users.

Features that are still needed

  • Taking screenshots (really?)
  • Custom ringtones (really?)
  • Copy & paste (really?)
  • Folders

Applications that are still needed

  • Pandora
  • Evernote
  • Toodledo sync
  • Google Maps
  • Dropbox
  • More twitter apps (of course)
  • Navigation Apps (that don’t cost $9.99/month)
  • Official Google Voice
  • More photo editing apps

If you have a WP7 phone and have more suggestions/hints/tips please feel free to leave them in the comments. If you don’t have a WP7 phone, feel free to ask anything in the comments also!

wp7 logo
HTC HD7