I don’t have a very long history with smartphones. Through most of my life I was either too impoverished to afford one or too disinterested in them to choose one over a conventional phone. When I got old enough to want a phone, I was in school and had no means of getting one. So I steadfastly maintained that I didn’t need one. Till my brother offered me the one he was using, which I greedily salivated at with the enthusiasm of cat in a washing machine clutching at a proffered limb.
After that(a Samsung X100), it was a string of regular phones till early this year when my Sony G705 was replaced by a Nokia E71, a real live smartphone. Although by then it was well past its prime and got paper balls thrown at it with accompaniments of “stop drooling on your lunch you senile old man!” by the other, more powerful smartphones.
It had an OS that could actually run full applications. I felt like I was creating world peace every time it synced with my Google account in the background. Symbian was old and creaking, but it was still an actual smartphone OS. It was a mini computer, complete with an accessible filesystem, applications and all the little things that made it feel like one. A mini computer from 2004, but still, a computer.
A few months ago I was thinking of getting a smartphone. I was hell-bent on Windows Phone, because it looked pretty and, I thought, wasn’t as restrictive as iOS. I got my hands on an iPod touch for work stuff. A few weeks later I was wondering what the definition of a smartphone was.
After learning that Windows Phone was just as restrictive, if not more so, than iOS, my dreams of mobile computing lay shattered, in ruins, in a pile next to my dreams of becoming a professional foot-model. The most important thing about these phones that I missed was file system access. How can you call a device smart if it can’t download and store a random file off the internet? Even my router gives me basic access to its folder structure. I mean, my old Sony Ericsson dumbphone let me see what was on my memory card. Windows and iOS, while very pretty, felt so very wrong. They do their thing very well, but that thing isn’t exactly full-featured computing. That thing could better be described as a thing that-
Anyway, a few weeks ago I got myself a Galaxy S. Running Android. Only a few months ago I would have balked at it as a badly hacked together linux window manager, but honestly, I’ve been enjoying it far more than I should be. It just feels right. It lets me do things like unmounting the cache partition and re-mounting it somewhere else with more space, and installing different kernels(after making a backup to a PC on the network, of course), just for the heck of it. Most of all, it feels like a computer.
I can see why a lot people would prefer other OS’s. They’re more phone/internet-device-thingy than full fledged computers, and they set the bar on what things should be designed like. But for myself, I prefer Android, with its frustrating UI issues and downright retarded battery life*. It’s not a phone’s fault batteries are evolving at the same pace as women’s collective ability to drive. It’s just a matter of time till they figure out a way to run phones off people’s fat. But then again, I don’t see a sudden upturn in the graph for female F1 drivers either(Though this might be a good thing). One can hope.
* Managing about a day’s use now but it’s hard to track with my current sleep cycles which fluctuate like a dog’s opinion of you when you step on his tail(whinewhine it hurts! I hate you whine grin lick lick wag tail, anyone?).
** Christmas is coming up!
*** Watched Mulan. For the first time. Totally crushing on a cartoon character.