I’ve managed to snag some pretty sweet geek toys since I’ve moved down to the US. One of the nice perks of living in Silicon Valley is you’ve got access to lots of new technologies and also some great competition from wireless providers.
Two new gadgets that I’ve picked up down here are the HTC Incredible and the Apple iPad.
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I’ve recently made the switch from the iPhone to an Android-based device. This was a tough call for me as I absolutely loved my iPhone 3G… so much so that I was one of the first in line at the Fido store when it was released in Canada a few years ago. That being said I was eager to pickup a phone here in the US and knowing that there would be a long list of people wanting to get the iPhone 4, I bit the bullet and picked up the HTC Incredible from Verizon.
The phone itself is a beautiful device feels less like an iPod and more like a cell phone, which took a bit of getting used to at first. One feature I really like is the vibration feedback the phone gives when typing, unlocking and using other functions. HTC Sense is a nice addition to the phone as well which gives it multiple screens in a fashion that resembles Spaces/Expose on OS X.
The HTC Incredible’s screen isn’t as wide as the iPhone’s screen, which I’ve found to take a bit of getting used to especially with fat thumbs. However, the OLED screen is a huge improvement from that of the iPhone 3G. Images are very crisp and the user experience is very snappy and responsive. It comes packed with a 8 megapixel camera with flash (a huge jump from older iPhone versions).
The only downside I see with the hardware is the battery life. This is a known issue with the HTC Incredible and has been reported by multiple users. That being said I regularly charge my phone every night and I’ve never had a problem.
The phone is currently running Android 2.1 which I believe to be a MUCH better phone operating system than iOS. The fact that it’s open source is a big win for me, I’ve been able to install apps that are outside of the Android Marketplace which is more that can be said about the iPhone. All this without having to jailbreak (or rooting) the phone. Widgets are a neat tool as well and allow you to customize the UI of the phone by adding photos, application links and other neat functionality without having to launch an app.
Speaking of apps, some of my favorites on Android include:
- Google Voice - Integrates perfectly with the phone. Free calls and text messages to Canada is an added benefit.
- Mint - View your bank accounts and access your budget items. Widget support is awesome as well.
- Dropbox - Access your files on the go, plain and simple.
- RunKeeper - This was a requirement for me before moving to Android. I use RunKeeper almost every day. The Android version has less features than that of the iPhone but I’m guessing this will change in the future.
- RememberTheMilk - For managing tasks on the go. I like the Android version much better than the iPhone.
- OurGroceries - Excellent app for tracking your shopping lists.
- BART Rider - Up-to-date BART schedules.
The only downside I see with this phone is the music player. It’s sufficient, but it’s obviously not as smooth as the iPhone’s iPod interface.
All in all, I’m really happy that I’ve made the switch from the iPhone to HTC Incredible. The biggest feature for me has been the Google Voice integration. I may have jumped ship on the iPhone, but I am still an Apple fanboy at heart…
I finally gave into the hype and picked up an iPad this week. Not surprisingly, it was ridiculously hard to find one of these in San Francisco. Apple stores sell out of these by lunch time and Best Buy only gets a new shipments in a few times a week and sell out quickly.
My initial questions around purchasing an iPad were around WiFi vs. 3G and what size to pickup. In the end, I ended up going with the 16GB WiFi version, for a number of reasons:
- I primarily plan on using the iPad at home and at the office, both obviously have available WiFi connections.
- In the odd time that I need to get it connected when I’m out and about, I plan on rooting my Incredible and setting it up as a WiFi hotspot.
- I don’t plan on storing a lot of content on the device, so 16GB should be plenty for Apps and a few videos at a time.
The iPad is truly a slick device. I had played with one briefly in the past but it’s not until I had a few evenings with it and being able to customize it that I realized how impressive it really is. It’s blazingly fast, which is a nice improvement over the slowness I was having with my old iPhone. The display is amazingly crisp and is awesome for viewing videos and photos.
Another thing I was really impressed with was the battery life of the iPad. I’ve been using it extensively over the past few days and I haven’t seen it drop below 50%.
I’ve only had the device for less than a week, but a few of my favorite apps so far include (all are free by the way):
- iBooks - Awesome for downloading e-books. Text looks crisp and is easy to read.
- Twitterrific - Awesome Twitter client for the iPad, crashes less than TweetDeck.
- IM+ Lite - Great application for connecting to your IM services. Has Twitter integration built in as well and allows you to browse while staying connected.
- FeeddlerRSS - Great app for syncing with your Google Reader account.
- Dropbox - What can I say, access all your files from your iPad.
I also picked up a Griffin Jumper neoprene sleeve for my iPad, which I’m really happy with. It provides 100% coverage of the device and is also sturdy enough if I drop it from a few feet.
The only downside I can see with the device at this point is lack of multitasking (which should be coming in the Fall), and no Flash support (lame!).
All in all I’m really happy to have the best of both worlds here. I’m stoked to be using an Android phone and I’m excited to try Android 2.2 (Froyo). As well, I’m glad that I’m totally not ditching my Apple roots and have a cool Apple toy to play with.
How about you, do you have an iPad or Android device? Any cool apps that I should try out? Let’s hear ‘em!