I remember when my only communication device was a phone connected to the wall. I'm old! Then came wireless handsets. They seemed so space age. I was untethered! I could wander all over the entire living room without dropping a call. The bedroom was too far for the signal to travel, but hey, you can't have everything.

Time passed.

Then along came the brick-sized cell phone. I thought of it as more of an emergency device. I kept it in the car and tried to use it as little as possible.

Then came the Blackberry. OMG. It was like a little miracle in my hand. Not only could I walk around (anywhere!) and talk on the phone, but I could do email like a demon thanks to its nifty keyboard. I was talking and typing all day long. I was addicted. I was a communicating fiend.

Then came the iPhone. In theory, it would do all that the Blackberry did plus apps! In practice, it dropped every call that lasted more than a minute. That has more to do with the AT&T network where I live and how the iPhone works with it, I'm told. No problem. I weaned myself off of voice calls. I don't like talking on the phone anyway. I trained my friends to use email to contact me.

But I couldn't do email anymore either. At least not much of it. The iPhone keyboard was too frustrating. Every message came out like xmopoi aljsdo vooe. I could go back and fix each word, but it wasn't worth the time. Instead, I used the iPhone to check incoming mail, but I waited until I was back at my computer to respond with more than a sentence.

Then came the Android phone. I just got one. I can make phone calls again! It's just like the 1970s! I sound like I'm underwater in a barrel, but you can usually tell what I'm saying, unless I call another cell phone, in which case the call is largely unintelligible. And that's not counting the dumbass things I actually say that don't make much sense even if you hear me perfectly. I'm just saying you should email me. Don't call.

To make things worse, a call between cell phones creates just enough of a transmission delay that I can't interrupt the other person. And if you happen to get a talker on the other end, you're in for a long ride. You can't break in.

By the way, if you're one of the people who owns a cell phone and doesn't understand that you have to use it like a CB radio, meaning you say your part and then pause a second to see if there is a response, let me be the first to say everyone hates talking to you on the phone. Talk briefly, pause at least a second, and listen for a response. That's the rule. The talk-until-you-get-interrupted model is something that only works in person and on landlines.

Anyway, my Android phone works most of the time for voice calls. But I'm afraid to actually use it because the battery life is about an hour and it's no good to me with no power.

Now I only think of my phone as an emergency device, like my first brick-sized cell phone. I wouldn't use it to make a social phone call. My battery wouldn't last. And I wouldn't often use it for email because the keyboard sucks and the battery drains then as well.

Yes, I have researched all the many ways to save battery life. I have apps that kill other apps. I turn off Wi-Fi and 4G and Bluetooth until I need them. Nothing seems to keep my battery from draining like a frat boy's bladder on a Saturday night. Result: I leave my Android plugged in all the time, whether I am at my desk, near my bed, or in the car.

Thank you Google for inventing a corded phone. I can't wait for your next innovation: the butter churn.

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+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2011
I wish I had a phone like yours Scott then anytime I don't want to talk to somebody I can blame it on the dang phone battery.
Jul 19, 2011
Swype is a decent alternative to screen pecking, especially if you hold the phone sideways (so the keyboard is bigger).

Also, some (all?) Androids have voice recognition, which I find to be reasonably accurate.

And speaking of voice (ha ha), how is your spasmodic dysphonia these days (if you don't mind telling us)? Last results seemed promising, but you have not blogged about it lately.
Jul 19, 2011
Trash the Android and go back to BB. The "Torch" is an excellent phone that, IMO, outperforms the iPhone and any Android device I have seen to date (except, of course, in wasting time). A good friend of mine is a developer at RIM and told me he would pay for the phone out of his pocket if I bought the Torch and hated it. Needless to say, I paid for my own phone. Give RIM and BB another shot.

Note: I am not saying that Android is trash. As a developer, I am in full support of the Android platform and the open source community.
Jul 19, 2011
Strange. My Droid X lasts 2 days if I'm not surfing the web. With heavy usage (GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), I still get at least 16 hours out of it. Perhaps you didn't train your battery properly.
Jul 19, 2011
Just get a Nokia N8 ;¬)
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2011
I saw through the cellphone dilemma a decade ago. First, I wanted a phone that would be there when I needed to make a call, so I wouldn't have to pull off the road, find a pay phone, make my call, get back on the road etc. Second, I didn't want to have a forever bleeding battery. Third, I didn't want to get interrupted all the time when I was doing something. Solution: leave your phone turned off.
Turn it on to make a call, then right off. Battery lasts months and months. If your friends don't like it that they can't reach you, tough. Leave a message, I'll get back - on my own time. Simple, huh?
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2011
Ten-four, Good Buddy:
Our children and grandchildren won't answer voice calls anyhow -- just text messages. Whenever I'm not looking -- the little buggers put another app on my phone. I don't know why I should have fighting birds and dragons anyway.
Do you know what a "luddite" is?

Jul 19, 2011
Sounds like you have an HTC.
Jul 19, 2011
I hate my so-called smartphone. I can't understand what anyone says on it (on the rare occasions when I actually use it to talk to someone), and the virtual keyboard is too small and touchy to generate anything other than gibberish when I text. I can get my email on it OK (that's the main reason I have it), but I avoid replying to anything if at all possible. I've worked in the wireless industry for almost 30 years, and I miss the good old days. This headlong rush to 4G technology just means that there are more things to go wrong (although I admit I'm conflicted on this point; I make my living teaching engineers how to fix this stuff). No-one needs to get the same old drivel at 300 Mbps; I'd rather just have a phone that actually made good phone calls. Unfortunately, 4G makes voice worse, not better...
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 19, 2011
Easy solution to the battery issue, buy an extended battery. Seidio makes some nice ones. It makes the phone larger, but well worth it to go a whole day without charging imho.

As for talk quality, it's phone dependent...I have the Evo which has great quality.
Jul 19, 2011
Angry Birds really runs down my Droid Incredible 2 battery, but its worth it (I'm up to the boomeranging toucan level now.)

Seems like all you can do is buy extra chargers to keep in every car and PC you own. Right on about them reinventing the corded phone.

One extra thing -- every 2 years me and the wife get new phones, and of course they have to be the same model. However, I know she'll never use all the bells and whistles, or maybe just try them once and then never use them again. (Example: Her last phone was a Razr and she never took one picture or sent one text message.)

My point here is that the phone companies should offer a special phone, call it the "Poser" model, that looks like the latest smartphone but really only makes phone calls, or a plan that gets drastically cheaper in the 2nd month while disabling everything but phone calls.

(A plan that gets cheaper -- ha ha ha )

Jul 19, 2011
Buy a new battery. It's kind of expensive, but it will keep a charge much longer than the one that came with your phone.
Jul 19, 2011
I have an Android phone and it runs all day without being plugged in (GPS off). I haven't had any trouble talking on it as a phone either now that I'm no longer with AT&T. In fact, the voice quality is pretty comparable to my landline. Maybe we get better performance out here in the middle of the country because of lower network traffic or something or maybe since I'm younger and have little recollection of wired phones I'm more accepting of lower quality?

Sorry, Scott. This post makes you sound kind of like an old guy who's ready to tell us to get off your lawn after you ask us to set the time on your VCR.
Jul 19, 2011
The connection between CB radios and cell phones is so startlingly close that it is a true wonder that more people don't realize and account for it when talking from cell phone to cell phone. One of the very, very many reasons I hate talking on a cell phone. That, and the whole brain cancer thing. I figure it's really best to try to abstain while they work that one out.

Jul 19, 2011
I love my android phone! Except for the phone part.

I thought phones would evolve to include all the features I loved in my Palm PDA. It turns out that the phone kept evolving to the point where the phone itself was subordinated to the other features. Voice calls should not be just another feature.

All phone designers should chant this simple mantra every day during design:


Everything else is an added feature, and nothing should interfere with PHONE FIRST!
Jul 19, 2011
That's why I won't give up my Blackberry Curve. That was one of the devices where they got everything right. The Androids are such a rush for market share (before the iPhone "takes over the world") that they're unfinished and half-baked. iPhone is more of an (admittedly awesome) toy (i.e., media device) than a workhorse (like BB).

So why are android and iPhone winning while RIM goes under?

Because most people are impressed by sizzle, and don't really care about "steak" (they can't figure out how to really use any of them, so the elegance of the BB goes un-appreciated)

Jul 19, 2011
Switched to an iPhone to be able to demo apps for work. I love having apps! My old Blackberry couldn't handle apps. It did email and phone calls fine, but that is so 2010.

Regarding the typing, try the free Dragon apps. They work well enough to save time. They're great for longer emails that you don't want to punch out with one finger on a keyboard with keys half the width of your fingernails. I personally love being able to ask my phone a search query like "Red Sox scores" or "pictures of Harry Potter Lego sets" and have it pop up the answer with Dragon Go. When it works, it's awesome. (Disclosure: I work at Nuance, who makes these apps).
Jul 19, 2011
Note of full disclosure: My previous post was NOT sent from an android phone...
Jul 19, 2011
Go back to a BlackBerry. The new Bold 9900 about to come out is the best thing since sliced bread. Or, in your case, the best thing since your original BB.
Jul 19, 2011
If your android phone doesn't have a physical keyboard, try the Swype keyboard. I thought I'd hate it, but turns out it's great, with almost no learning curve. It predicts what I'm trying to type pretty well, and when it doesn't, I usually get a good laugh at what it thinks I'm trying to say!
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