Google+ Badge

Monday, September 13, 2010

Android - too early or too late?

I really want an Android phone so I can write some Java code for it. Is it too early or too late to do that? Tech moves so fast you hate to get stuck with a $500 device that is outdated in a few weeks.

Too early - they keep updating the OS. 2.2 is out now, talks of 3.0 and a "new way of doing things" on the way. Will all 2.1 and earlier phones be left out in the dark? I think the talk of fragmentation is a bit overboard but I still worry. I can get a PC and update the OS pretty much at will. Seems like you are partially held hostage by your phone vendor. When will Samsung release 2.2 for the Galaxy S series? Will they fix the WiFi vs. 3G issues? How long before they abandon this phone series totally?

Just when I am about to pull the trigger I start to do some research on the Galaxy series and see it has various WiFi issues. It will stay connected if plugged in but not if on battery. Wants to hit 3G when you have WiFi. Look I am pretty cost thrifty. I would not even get 3G service, I want the phone to be a phone, do texting, play some games and let me write some code for it but I don't want to pay for 3G. I am around a WiFi network 95% of the time. I would buy the phone outright and not do a service place which I hope means I will not get hassled at purchase time.

My wife has a Blackberry without a data service plan, she uses the calendar part of it for everything and the keyboard for texting. There are times a little 3G access would do her some good, she calls me and has me look up stuff on the internet a few times a month, but is it worth an extra $30 a month to avoid that? Everything in life is just another $10 here and $30 there so you have to draw the line. Guess that is why I don't play WoW, adding another monthly expense and the fear of addiction keep me at bay.

Too late - lots have already bought them. Are my programming ideas too late to the party to be worth anything? Coding for a mobile device seems to be the wave of the future though. Having that programming experience has to pay off. Probably better to get on board now rather than totally miss the boat.

I have downloaded the Android SDK and Eclipse plug-in more than once and have installed it on my main machine at home and a laptop I use from time to time. I know I can start coding against the emulator but that thrill may run dry quickly if I can't run it on a real phone. I would not want to write something and release it in the wild without testing it on actual hardware. If I am to get into the game I need to buy the equipment. It is a $500 investment in my future. I could sit down and write code to see what I think of the SDK and then when my first game is done I will have to buy a phone right?

Second worry is the wife will play with the phone and want one too. They have a special going now if you rent to own one you get one free. We are doing a "no plan" deal now to save money, the only way to get a "free" one is to go onto a 2 year plan. Would I get back that difference by being on a plan? I wont if they force you to a 3G data plan. There is no doubt she uses more features of the phone than I do and I bet she would prefer this over her Blackberry. Not looking to spend $1,000 outright to get two with no plan.

I have an iTouch at home. It gets a lot of use for quick and easy web lookups. Instant on is wonderful, being able to use it nearly anywhere in the house is perfect. We keep it by the bed at night so we can check on the weather when we wake up so we know how to dress the kids for school. I was watching football updates on it yesterday. My son uses it for homework, easier than a laptop when you are sprawled out on the floor. The Android would add to that experience as it appears to be a very similar device. Not that we fight over time on the iTouch.

For now I am going to follow the Galaxy forms to see if Samsung fixes the issues with the 2.2 update or some other patch if it is a firmware or driver issue. I need to sit down and write some code in the emulator too and get myself all pumped up for owning one.