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Back to mo-billy tefelone-ies

So, it was before Glasto 2010 that I was last looking at changing my mobile phone... and I still haven't done it!

My old+cute+pink Nokia 6111 is still working and (bizarrely), if I charge it from my laptop's USB, charging immediately on insertion of the power jack... no jiggling, plug-in-pull-out-growl-plug-in-etc-procedures, just plug in and charge... I say 'bizarrely' because it still frequently misbehaves charging from a mains adapter (although for a while, even this problem went away)... even though the cable is the same one just pulling power from a mains/usb-wart rather than a computer port...

So I've put it off, and put it off, and bought quite a lot of music ( ^^ ) and put it off, and bought some other (cycling/fitness-related) gadgetry... and that was it, behind occassionally thinking about looking it phones again... oh, and looking at a friend's HTC Desire HD (the phone I was looking at originally) and going ooooooo!-droooool!-shiiiiiny!-whiiiiiizy!-waannnnnt!!! (and then being too broke to do anything about it)

For some reason though, today I figured I'd bimble around and see what had happened to the Android market in the past 15 months or so... get an idea about a plan, iyswim.

So, I have to say, I think I'm hooked on the Sense UI from HTC... its just puuuuuurdy! (and looks nicer to me than vanilla Android Gingerbread)... which is entirely subjective, I know, but does rather limit me to HTC devices; the only other mobile implementation I really like the look of is iOS, and I don't really want an iPhone. (I was gonnna go into why, but it ended up a bit ranty!!)

So yeah, phones... Androids... HTC... erm... ok... soooooooooo.....

Of current/iminent UK offerrings, the Sensation reads like a kick-ass phone, gotta say... but the (apparently not yet available) Evo 3D has more RAM (even if it does have gimmicky-pointless 3D) and a couple of the reviews I've read suggest that the Evo3D experience is slicker, more responsive, etc than the Sensation, even though they have the same CPU specs (dual 1.2GHz SnapDragon (Qualcomm MDP MSM8660)... so it could be that the GPU in the Evo3D is different (haven't seen it mentioned anyway, indeed, only once seen a GPU model mentioned, and that was for the Evo3D), or it could be as simple as when they hiked the RAM up from 768MiB to 1GiB, they scattered a bit of extra fairy dust in the corners and it came out flying!

Of course, iIts also possible that the published Evo3D specs are just wrong... that particular SnapDragon is supposedly capable of 1.5GHz, so -shrug- you never know, it may actually be faster..!

Back on the aesthetic thing, I prefer the curvier Sensation; the Evo screams briiiiick at me! Plus its heavier (ok, its about 50g, hardly a marble tombstone to lug around, I know, but its a detail).

Looking into the HTC rumourmill/roadmap, the HTC "Vigor" looks like a fairly major bump above the Sensation... allegedly 1.5GHz dual SnapDragon, 1GiB RAM and a major increase in screen resolution (1280x720px)... anyway, according to a leak(?)/fake(?), "Vigor" should make an appearance in the US in September... whether it will jump the Pond is a different set of rumours entirely!

Looking into Android, well, to br frank, its a bit of a mess :( Currently we have bifurcated development... the 2.3.n/Gingerbread series for Smartphones and 3.n/Honeycomb series for Tablets... oh, and there's a rumoured interfork-port of some of the 3.x features to 2.x (possibly as 2.4/Gingerbread).

The "good" news is that it looks like there's a Plan (I'm always nervous about plans ;) )

Anyway, the Plan is called "Ice Cream Sandwich"... aka Android 4.0 (possibly!)... iow, the Grand Unifying Mega Android That Is All Things To All Users And Developers! (ok, I made that last bit up... but thats kinda the Plan... ) Android 4 will (should?) close the fork and reintegrate development of the Smartphone and Table platforms into a single codebase. Can we all say "whoop!"?? ;)

[ Ice Cream Sandwich Android ]

4 is supposed to be visually based on the Honeycomb UI, but refactored to handle smaller displays. This could be, um, in-ter-es-ting... cos some stuff probably won't shrink very happilly to a phone-sized display... but hey-ho! I'm (-cough-) sure they know what they're doing.... ;)

This is (presumably) what the 3.x -> "2.4" cross-port would be about; display related stuff (and anything else thats fundamental to 3.x apps, yet absent from 2.x), to try to get phone app developers to make their apps tablet-friendlier.

Oh yeah, there's also a gizmo to scale phone-apps to tablet-screens somewhere in the mix, somewhere... but I can't remember if its supposed to be an in-band updated for 3.x, or rumoured-4.0, or what... again though, its about trying to get apps into the tablet domain... apparently there's something like this on the iTab which doesn't seem to exactly impress any of the reviewers I've come across who've mentioned it... so this could be a dud feature for Android too, or there might be space for Android to show iOS how something should be done..!

Ice Cream Sandwich has a whole host of possible dates on which it may make an appearance...! Originally it was supposed to be "christmas 2011," with "thanksgiving" also being mentioned as a possibility (which I figure could be construed as "out at thanksgiving, in time for the christmas spending-spree")... but the rumourmill (fed by semi-reliable mumbles from Googlers) suggests that Google may be pushing for a september/october release, to coincide or beat Apple's iPhone 5 release...

Betting back to me and my new phone though, I have a few options I can see... I can;
  • bite the bullet, draw a line in the sands of development, stick a sword in it and say "you shall not pass"... iow, buy a Sensation now and be done with it all.
  • wait for the Evo3D to get its act together and escape from HTC UK (but when it does, I expect it will have a rather higher price tag than the Sensation because of the "ooooooo! loooook, its got 3eeeDeeeeeeeeee!!!! woooowweeeee!!! Gimmiiiiiick!" factor)
  • wait a bit longer for Vigor, which, if the rumoured specs are accurate, kicks both the previously mentioneds specs where it hurts(!) but, again, I suspect will be stiffly priced
  • wait until
    1. Ice Cream Sandwich is launched
    2. HTC "sensify" the Sandwich (ok, why have I got a picture of sprinkles for Mr Ice Cream Android in my head now...????)
    3. HTC decide that Vigor has been around long enough that they can release a new high-end Android phone running Ice Cream Sprinkles
To be honest, I want Ice Cream... kinda semi-irrationally, but not entirely... one of the reasons for wanting an Android device in the first place was the possibility of writing apps on the platform, and it seems reasonably sensible to hang on for the Unified Android, which should mean the APIs will have stabilised for doing Unified Android development (see, there is some logic in there!)

It also makes financial sense to wait a while before I do do Droid... to buy now would mean biting a fair chunk out of my overdraft facility, which I'd prefer not to do... whereas if I wait, I can (-gasp-) save up a bit!

I'm heaviliy tending to one of the latter options, but whether it'll be post-Evo3D/pre-IceCream high-end HTC or whether I'll wait for the Unifies Yumminess, well, I guess it depends just how long HTC take to get Sense 4 (or whatever it ends up being) running and whether my little Nokia gives up the ghost in the mean time.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not really an Android Developer... atleast, not yet... maybe one day I will be... if I'm a good girl and eat all my deserts....! ; )