Phone crashes and Life

Well, my venerable HTC Droid Incredible, which I’d had for a little more than three years now (rooted for 2 1/2 of those years), finally gave up the ghost. Last Saturday afternoon I felt it vibrate for an incoming text and hit the power button to view the message. Unlike earlier in the day, the screen never came on. I tried everything I could think of: pulled the battery, turned it on with the down volume and power button, put it on the charger…everything I could find online, too, for this problem.

When nothing worked, I figured que sera, sera. I pulled the battery out one more time and set it aside. Sunday was fine, and so was Monday morning. Being without the phone didn’t bother me, I don’t get that much in the way of texts anyway. At least not on the weekends.

At work Monday, I really missed my phone. I didn’t realize just how much I actually used it until then. I had no way to contact my family or friends. I wanted to ask my wife something but had no way until I remembered emailing her text messages. Found the information and sent her a text and that worked.

Ok, that works, I can do that.

Then I had a meeting. Getting to the meeting site and not being able to locate the person I was meeting, I had no way to check and see if anyone else was supposed to be coming or just the two of us. I’d have to go all the way back to my building and my laptop and check there. Fortune smiled and I linked up with one of the other participants. We sorted out the meeting and agreed to meet again later, setting this one up via email.

Once again in another building, I needed to check my schedule. I was so used to using my smartphone for meeting notes and such like that I’d not even brought my laptop with me, despite this morning’s clear indication of what I needed to be doing now. Arrrrgh!

Later that afternoon I wanted to chat with my daughter about some stuff, and check in with my wife about dinner. UGH. It was so much easier texting than emailing, though to all intents and purposes both handle the messaging nearly the same way, it’s just a matter of tools used. Plus, I was expecting an email at home and realized I was relying on my missing phone to alert me when it arrived.

The point of all this is that while over the weekend it was no big deal, I was realizing just how much that little smartphone had invaded my working life. Beneficially and a very useful tool for me, but I had become addicted to also being able to chat with family and friends when and where I wanted. Now here I was, suddenly bereft of that ability unless I was at a computer connected to the internet. Until three years ago, I hadn’t been able to contact my wife from the store to see how many of something she wanted me to get or to text my granddaughter to see if she liked something I found, or find out where everyone else was in the store, or to arrange to meet for a spur of the moment lunch.

After three years of being able to do that from just about anywhere, I really missed that ability for quick communication without having to find someone to make a phone call for me.

End result? I found myself wanting to replace my phone as soon as possible. I had planned to look into retiring my Incredible around November/December but that wasn’t going to happen and I wasn’t going to wait. It was going to have to be replaced now, instead.

I wound up getting the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It’s slightly larger than my old Incredible and there are some minor irritants I’m learning to work around, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with the new phone. My critical apps are back on it, I finally managed to get my schedule into place and my contacts (I’d been synching with the laptop and thus Outlook for this).

Right now, the only downsides I see are these:

1) My unlimited plan with Verizon was supposed to be grandfathered in but they refused to let me upgrade without removing the unlimited data. Their own web site still says it’s grandfathered in, but no, Verizon doesn’t support that any more so I could either buy the phone outright or upgrade with a new contract. At least when we got all this sorted out, our overall bill is cheaper on the new plan and there should be plenty of data access per month since we wasn’t using that much. This first month, getting all my apps back on the new phone, will probably be the highest data rate per month in years. After this month we’ll probably get back into the rhythm of sharing photos and stuff once in a while same as before. The new Android ICS allows me to set an alert related to how much data I’ve used so far so I’ve set the alerts on both our new phones well in advance of hitting our data limit. Not that I expect to hit it, but better safe than sorry.

2) Synching with GMail is smooth and painless. Synching with Lookout has been a pain. Just finding a synching tool that worked was difficult. I tried Kies and had more problems than success and that’s Samsung’s own program for this. Eventually I settled on MyPhoneExplorer. MyPhoneExplorer is supposed to synch with Outlook, but it’s not doing it and I have to do it in a somewhat manual manner for Contacts. Calendar seems to be working fine, though. I’m still looking for something better. The Bluetooth synch option in MyPhoneExplorer simply won’t work and I’m not sure why, though I think a major part of it is between keyboard and chair. Even so, I’m seriously thinking of moving my personal contact list to Gmail. I just don’t know if I like it out there like that.

3) Visual indicators. Not so valuable, perhaps, to most people, but I really miss the LED indicator on my Incredible. Plug it in to charge and it would light up to let you know it was charging and what the state was: orange for charging, green for charged. The Galaxy Nexus turns on when you plug it in to charge but once it goes to sleep there’s no indication anything is happening. Also, the Incredible LED was much more noticeable flashing to indicate a message than the dim light at the bottom of the Galaxy Nexus. I’m also used to the Incredible turning on when an IM arrives, the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t do that.

4) The vibration on the new phone is nowhere as aggressive/pronounced as on the Incredible. I can feel it on the table if I’m touching the table, but I’ve had problems feeling the Incredible every time when it goes off in my pocket. With the Galaxy Nexus, I don’t think I’ll ever feel the vibration unless it’s resting right there against my leg. Even when on the table right in front of me at work, I often miss it unless I just happen to glance at it the same time the dim light flashes.

There are plenty of upsides, though. The new interface is pretty nice once you get used to it, especially with the larger screen and the easy way of grouping apps together. The camera is much faster, almost as good as my DSLR. Only 5 MP but still quite decent in quality and speed. The panorama function is rather nice even though I’m already handy at creating panoramas after the fact. One thing I’m looking forward to playing with is the ability to just tap the screen for a full quality snapshot while doing a HD video. That should be fun. The ability to better organize my home page and other pages is really nice to have, though I realize that’s a function of ICS rather than the phone.

I still have to set up a few other things, but on the whole I’m satisfied. And I’ve found the files for rooting this one, too.

Like I said, all in all, I’m pretty happy with the new phone so far. And glad to have another phone after the demise of my Incredible.



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