[NTLK] Einstein, Android, new Hardware, old Hardware

Lord Groundhog lordgroundhog at gmail.com
Thu Dec 1 12:08:39 EST 2011

~~~ On 2011/12/01 15:17, Jon Glass at jonglass at usa.net wrote ~~~

>  ...              If I were to
> buy Android today (which I'm not likely to), I would buy HTC. They
> seem to make quality hardware, and try to add value software-wise as
> well.                 ...

FWIW, let me second this opinion and share a kind of review.

This past summer I realized I needed to replace my mobile handset and was
tempted to try a smart phone for the first time, not because I wanted all
the bells and whistles but because I thought it was about time I tried one.
So I started looking at smart phone alternatives.  My son got the HTC
Sensation (4G) and when I finally got round to telling him what I was trying
to do, he showed my his Sensation and to make a long story shorter, I ended
up getting the same phone.

Now, a couple of months later, I'm more or less comfortable with Android and
I've started experimenting with more of the features.  As hardware, I really
like my HTC.  Feels great in my hand or pocket, battery lasts about 1.5
days, the 8MP camera is a step forward from my previous 5MP (yes I *do* hate
changing handsets), and the screen is large enough to enjoy photos and
videos on it.  I love the fact that at this moment I have a spare battery in
one of the side pockets of my Newton's "RipOff" holster, and changing
batteries takes next only seconds.

As for software, since I don't aim at becoming a smart phone super-user I
don't suppose I'm the best commentator on this.  Android's app market seems
to have a lot of stuff, for sure, more than I want.  A lot of it -- the
"soft" porn, the fanclub apps for footballers and celebrities, etc. -- fits
my personal category of "Ignore", but also there's a lot of good stuff.
unfortunately much of the good stuff is software I limit to my laptop:  I
don't want to use the phone for e-mail or writing documents or data
management or any of that, and I won't use it for any kind of online
money-handling like banking or PayPal.  It has bags of potential for all the
social networking stuff, bu  I only follow a few information sources on

I like the mapping, traffic-monitoring and GPS apps and have found it
reliable on the occasions when I've had to drive somewhere I didn't know.
For more versatile communication I've added Skype and Viber (I recommend
Viber, at least for the Android platform) to the regular phone capacity.
And I've enjoyed being able to turn the phone into a pocket reference source
with specialized online apps as well as all kinds of e-books.

I *love* being able to turn the phone into a portable wifi hotspot for my
laptop.  I don't use it all that often but when I need it I really need it.

I've been learning how to spot bad apps that have slipped through onto
Android Market (this seems to be the alternative to Apple's "walled garden"
approach).  A number of malware apps did slip through until they were
withdrawn, but the more common problem is what I all "PITA-ware".  These are
apps that don't harm your phone or you, but are simply barely functional or
non-functional apps that were just a hook to get you to download the
developer's spam-gateway:  you open an app that turns out to give you maybe
10% function and 90% advertising.  But I'm learning:  when I see software I
might like, I go the app's website first and evaluate the developer.

The biggest downside for me is that it is not and never can be stylus
friendly.  (An electric sponge on the end of a stick isn't a stylus, IMO.)
That's going to be true of all of them, it seems.   I underestimated how
much I would dislike on-screen keyboards with no tactile feedback and no
potential to "touch-type".   I've tried quite a few of the available
variations for the HTC; they seem good I guess, but they don't suit me.  I
*really* want a smart phone smart enough to let me write on it with a
stylus.  Real HWR, real writing.  Like a Newton.  For me, serious data entry
is too much like hard work on the HTC.

The way I'd sum up my experience of the HTC is to say that it's probably
more than I need, but I'm learning to like some stuff.  if I wanted to be a
smart phone power-user, and wasn't addicted to my Newt, I'd probably stick
to the Sensation and exploit it fully, at least until somebody else (Apple?)
comes out with something I like more.

And no, I've no connection to HTC except maybe the usual 6 degrees of


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

³Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.²
            -- ref.:  Arthur C. Clarke

(With thanks to Chod Lang)

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