QBall45’s Android Journey

Somehow I managed to allow my HTC ReZound to slip from my hand about a week & a half ago.  Of course it had to land flat on the screen on the vinyl floor.  After picking up the battery and the back cover I grabbed the phone only to discover that I’d just broken the screen.  The only saving grace here is that it’s just the digitizer and not both that and the LCD.  I’ve done some shopping around for repair service shops and have come to the conclusion that I’ll be doing this repair myself. 
@QBall45

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After some chatter in a group chat with the guys tonight I decided to fire up my old BlackBerry.  I’ve been dragging it around with me in the truck as a backup should something happen to my android. 

I tried to power it up and was disappointed to find a dead battery.  So, on the charger it went.  It took almost 20 minutes before there was enough juice in the battery to even think about turning on. 

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Finally!  The forever long bootup progress bar started creeping across the screen.  (I swear I can backup, fully wipe, reflash rom and restore my apps on my Inc2 in less time than it took to bootup this old Bold)

After turning on my android tether for wifi connection, I went to find Touch (used to be called Pingchat) to download.  I found an almost identical version of the Android app.

Double thumbs up!  Its about damn time that BlackBerry gets some love from developers.  The crew at Touch.com have done a fine job of bringing out a great looking app for the BlackBerry that also happens to function like the android version. 

I enjoy talking my old BlackBerry 9650 out for a joyride via wifi once in a while.  Doing so reminds me why I loved it and why I left it for Android. 

@QBall45

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“From my cold dead hands” is a commonly heard phrase uttered by firearms enthusiasts.  However, it has also been used many times by the hopelessly addicted mobile phone junkie.  I will include myself in both of these groups.  One is a civil rights matter, the other a matter of personal preference.  The passion and commitment of both is astounding. 

From the time black powder was invented man has held on to his firearms until death chills the body.  Charlton Heston made those five words a battle cry of unity amongst firearms enthusiasts during his speech at the 2000 NRA Convention.  I could go on all day about the Second Amendment and what it means to each of us as citizens of the United States.  I will save that for another day.  It is my personal opinion that Mr. Heston was making a statement about ideals, values and personal rights.  

Over the course of the past year I have noticed a trend toward ‘die hard’ brand loyalty among smartphone users.  It is not uncommon to read a message on a forum or a tweet on Twitter that reads something like “I’ll change from ‘xyz’ to ‘abc’ when hell freezes over” or “You’ll have to pry ‘xyz’ from my cold dead hands before I use ‘abc'”

I suspect this sense of brand loyalty to the extreme is rather funny.  Yes, I am personally guilty of it myself.  I have a list of firearms that I simply will not purchase even though I know they are fine brands.  There are certain hand tool brands that I will not stray from.  Not long ago I had the same opinion on smartphones.  I was completely against the thought of even trying another brand.  That was until I literally woke up one morning and thought to myself ‘Why are you being so hard headed?  Go look and see… You may just like what you find.’  And so it goes.  My eyes were opened to something new and different.  Better?  Well, that’s a matter of personal opinion. 

From my cold dead hands
I see there are only a few things to which I would justify using this phrase.  Those few things are the things that truly matter most in life.  Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  All these things are secured by the God given the right to personal protection afforded us by the possession of modern firearms, not smartphones.

While there are still certain brands I will not own, I will no longer be heard to say “I will give up my Android when it’s removed from my cold dead hands.”  A statement such as this makes me look both narrow minded and foolish.  I may have a preference toward one brand.  However, I will always remain of the opinion that a mobile device is a matter of personal choice.  This choice is not to be made fun of or looked down upon.  Each of us have different needs and financial means. 

Hi,
My name is Qball45 and I’m a recovering BlackBerry addict turned Android junkie.  It’s true, I have poked fun at some other BlackBerry owners.  Please accept my apologies if I have offended you and your choice in mobile devices.  Your decision was made for reasons which I may never know.

p.s. I regret giving up my BlackBerry every time I try and type on this software keyboard.  Well, ok maybe not.

@QBall45

Banner image thanks to @Adam80460

This is an account/journey/dateline of sorts. I will try to keep it updated with what’s going on as I move to Android and attempt to learn a new language. Stay tuned this should be interesting.
@QBall45

October 11, 2011

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I can’t believe ita been this long since I’ve updated this. I guess I’ve been way to busy learning all things android. Lets see… Back early in July root access was gained on this Inc2. Since then the whole world of android has been opened to me. I’ve played with a multitude of different roms. My preference is still those based on sense. Currently running the Skyrider sense 3 rom with custom splash, boot animation today is the nexus prime boot & a custom down animation. Really the only thing I have yet to attempt is cooking up my own rom. Not sure if I really wish to go there just yet. Though adding modifications to an existing rom doesn’t dother me too much.
Till next time…

July 2nd, 2011

I’ve rapidly become comfortable with the touch screen.   I was worried about this.  However, I really think I like it.  My wife was right,  There’s an app for everything.  I love all the help I am getting from my friends.  Any time I find I have a question I’ll post it on Twitter and very shortly I the answer appears.  Its been nice.

June 28th, 2011
My new phone made it to Minnesota early this morning. Just a few minutes to 9 it scanned on the truck for delivery. The wait begins again.

Well, my HTC Inc2 arrived about 30 seconds before I ere the brakes at the house. After a second or two panic looking. For what appeared to be a missing battery my new device was powering up for the 1st time. Talk about a struggle to get the battery cover snapped in place. I made my call ln to activate and get things going. I felt like a total rookie. Activating a BlackBerry is simple compared to Android. Or, was this just a new experience? New experience I think. Email setup went smoothly. As did email, contacts sync. Very much the same as my experience with Blackberry. Get it started and forget about it. The first order of business after taking care of emails and contacts was to get a few frequently used apps installed. First up was a Twitter client. Simple choice, start with Issimo. Dropbox, Foursquare, Facebook, and Angrybirds quickly followed.

A few apps installed, now it was time to figure out how to move things around and change the screen to suit me. A little trial & error and my device started to transform from boring stock HTC to a style more fitting for QBall45.

This new device comes with a fair learning curve for me having been a Blackberry abuser. I am taking the approach to this as it a totally new device (which naturally it is for me) rather than a replacement for my Blackberry. Going from a non touchscreen full keyboard device to a touchscreen only device would be challenging enough never mind adding in a different operating system also. I look forward to the challenges that I now will come. Something new and different.

June 27th, 2011
Finally got a FedEx tracking # for my box. Now the fun of watching the barcode scans as it moves across the country from PA to MN

June 26th, 2011
I just called to check the status on my Inc2 order. I waited all night for an Email with shipping info which never came. I’m a little aggravated that I was told it would ship out Saturday overnight for Monday delivery. I was just told it would be shipped out overnight on Monday for Tuesday.

June 25th, 2011
Placed order over the phone for the HTC Inc2 with free overnight shipping. I should see this new device on Monday the 27th. I’ll know shortly if my early upgrade exception override is really approved or not. It better be after having sat on hold forever a week & a half ago while the rep checked with her supervisor. I will update again later when I get shipping confirmation.

June 23rd, 2011
Returned to the VZW store to take a look at the HTC Incredible 2. I’m impressed with this one.

Also looked at the iPhone4 simply so I could see what all the fuss and hype is all about. Unimpressed. Screen size is small. Physically it feels like a square box. Mandatory iTunes account for activation? Thx but I’ll pass. The iPhone4 is certainly not an iPod Touch in form, fit nor finish. (I love the feel of the iPod Touch in the hand) I can now offically say the iPhone4 is not for me.

June 20th, 2011
Monday brought out two interesting pieces of information.
#1. VZW leaked plans to change their current Unlimited $30/month Data plan to a Tiered Plan. Some searching turned up nothing in the way of an official press release.
#2. VZW pushed down a price drop on the HTC Incredible 2 bring it from $199 to $149 on a 2 year contract.

To say the least, both of these pieces of news really got my mind thinking “I should get this switch to Droid done soon.”

More research and conversation shows me that I will be very well served by the HTC Inc2. I think I’ve made up my mind.

June 12th-19th, 2011
After asking for opinions from some well respected mobile tech gurus on Twitter I wanted to have a look at the Samsung Charge. And so early in the week I went “hands on” with a live Samsung Droid Charge. A very nice 4G LTE device. My only real hang up is its a 4G device. Currently where I live & generally where I travel for work 4G service will be not available for some time yet.

Sunday brought around the topic of the HTC Incredible 2. The successor to the highly regarded HTC Incredible. A small amount of research shows some fine specs.

Well, now my brain is filled with specs on three new devices.

June 11th, 2011
Stopped in to the VZW store to visit. Ended up looking at the Motorola Droid X2. Love the screen size.

The wheels in my head started to turn. A die hard BlackBerry user begins the mental struggle of letting go and embracing a new mobile device platform.

I was asked ‘what’s on your screen?’ First off I prefer to run Adw Launcher Ex replacement home screen which allows me to change themes & therefore icons. My preferred theme for Adw is called Fluxed. As you can see my main home screen is boringly plain. Just the way I like it. Clean and simple. I generally have somewhere between 3 and 5 screens filled with miscellaneous widgets & icons.
@QBall45

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What is beta testing?
Beta testing is the process used by developers to stress test an application or device prior to official public release.  This process might be a rapid and intense test period with multiple revisions.  Or it may stretch out over many weeks or even months. 

Public vs Private Beta Test
A public beta test is just that.  Open to the public.  Most often developers will post a notice on their website detailing the specifics of the test as well ass feedback required from the tester. 

A private or closed beta test is very different from a public beta.  The testers used in a private beta test are exclusively hand selected by the developer.  Why?  The reason for hand selecting testers is fairly simple.  Personal selection.  The developer may have a close core group that has learned how and what type of feedback the developer is looking for.  At times, a developer will recruit new testers based on reputation to assist the core testing group.

Requirements of a Beta Tester
Time- Are you willing and able to sacrifice some time for testing?
Dedication – Are you willing to see it through to the end aka public release?
Feedback- Will you be able to provide the developer accurate and detailed information reguarding bugs or issues?
Confidentiality- Are you willing to keep all information as well as images to yourself?

If you are unable to meet the requirements it might be best for you to wait for public release.

@QBall45

I figure its about time I put some initial thoughts together on my impressions on Android. Specifically the HTC Incredible 2.

Having been an avid BlackBerry for some time, I made the decision to approach my Android experience with an open mind. A fresh start with a new operating system platform and a totally new device form factor.

My initial thoughts on the touch screen keyboard were less than pleasant. I had been dead set that I “had to have” my physical QWERTY keyboard done in traditional RIM style. Knowing that I did not care for the slide out keyboards, I opted for the touch screen only design. I know this would take some adjustment getting used to it.

Device setup and activation went fairly smoothly with help from a VZW rep on the phone. After setting up emails and contacts were synched I moved on to installing apps. Naturally, I started with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and foursquare. The latter three were simple enough, download the Android version. Twitter on the other hand was a challenge with the plethora of options available for Android.

Twitter
I decided to install Issimo because I’ve been a huge fan of the way it handles mentions on BlackBerry. What I can say about this app is its not the same as the BlackBerry version. Its better.

My little bro suggested I try Plume which I did. Overall I like it.

Twitter for Android and HTC’s Peep are OK. Though certainly there are better choices.

I am not sure what the fuss is about TeetDeck. I don’t think even the best skin could make it appealing to me. Though some may like it, I don’t.

Browsers
It is my opinion that all native browsers have room for much improvement. My search for the perfect browser was rather short. Having heard great things about Dolphin Browser HD I had to give it a look. Impressive is how I would describe it. A keeper for sure.

Being a big fan of the Firefox browser on my PC I naturally checked out the Android version. I couldn’t figure out how to zoom in on the screen. I may have missed something in settings. No zoom = its of no use to me.

Opera Mini was far too slow for me on opening. In fact I didn’t even get past the “loading” screen.
Opera Mobile, on the other hand, is a snappy performer. I haven’t spent much time with it yet. I think it stays for now.

Keyboards
It looks to me that the Better Keyboard may be one of the more popular keyboards with all its vast assortment of skins. There a skin for everyone.

While I was in the middle of perusing the plethora of keywords in the Market I got a message from @Adam80460 asking if u wanted to test a new Keyboard he had been working on. Naturally I agreed. I am impressed and can’t wait to see it in the Market.

@QBall45

I made a decision on Saturday, June 12th to move from BlackBerry to the Android platform. I have tried hard to stay dedicated to the RIMs BlackBerry. However, since the Android platform really started to explode it seems that RIM has allowed their BlackBerry product line to stall out. Yes, the Torch was a nice addition to the product line. Unfortunately, RIM decided to only produce a GSM version. This leaves most of us out in the cold. My decision has been solidified with the release of RIMs 1st quarter financial report. Very dismal is the best way I can describe the report. Now it appears that RIM has begun handing out layoff notices to an unspecified number of employees.

My decision to make the switch to Android greatly surprised many people as I have been an avid BlackBerry user. I think this news most surprised my Wife. She has tried, since we first started using smartphones, to convert me over to Droid. I am so looking forward to all the “see? I told ya so” that I am sure will come.

Now what’s left is to get the deal done.
@QBall45