Monday, August 10, 2009

The Great New T-Mobile myTouch

I suppose it goes against the grain to admit that I, a tech geek by just about any measure, have not found myself caught up in PDA/Cellphone/iPhone mania. I found the iPhone to be ludicrously overblown, a monument to the extremes of trendy excess, and surely wasn't going to be stuck with the Evil Empire for a data and voice plan for months on end just to be contemporary. Ultimately, I didn't care about being trendy.

Until now.

When my wife finally concluded that her (way too) old Nokia phone's antenna was capable of receiving service only when within 25 inches of a cell phone tower, it as time for a new phone.

And it was then I heard about the successor to the clunky but loveable "GooglePhone," the myTouch 3G - known to the rest of the world as the HTC Magic. After reading and musing over the costs of the phone and the data plan, I gave in to technical whimsy.

And I'm glad I did.

The myTouch, which is a horrible name for a phone, probably because it has the word "touch" in it, is one marvelous piece of technical goodness. No, it probably isn't as sexy as the iPhone (which is fine with me), but does give me a 21st century cellphone without a penny of my income going anywhere near ATT.

My "merlot" (advertising jargon for "dark red") myTouch suits me to a tee, for several reasons.

1. It's Google-written Android OS is Linux based. I've just about come to think everything electronic ought to have Linux somewhere involved, even just for good luck - and I don't even believe in luck.
2. It's got absoltely nothing in it from Microsoft.
3. The Android OS community is practically begging developers to join their bandwagon. As soon as I can sort out the details of the Eclipse IDE and the Android SDK plug-in, I'm there.
4. It just plain works. While standing in one store that was sold out of an item my wife needed, I used the voice search to find a different store, and the weblink it prsented gave me a phone number - which my myTouch happily dialed for me.
5. I didn't spend one penny on ringtones or wallpaper. I grabbed existing mp3's and jpegs, copied them to my myTouch's SD card, and turned them into a ringtone and wallpaper.
6. Android is new. It is entering uncharted water, where I haven't been technically in a long time..yeah, its a risk, but so long as Google is behind it, I figure its future is pretty darned bright.
7. Android's gaps are a roadmap to its future. In its youthful stage, Android is a little rough around the edges. It needs to flush out better support for streaming media sources - unfortunately, including some Windows Media formats. It needs a native Voice Recorder application to accompany its great voice-enabled search capability. It needs to continue to evolve in conserving power and extending battery life. The beauty, however, is that all of these things are obvious, and in my mind, just about inevitable.
8. Android is beholden to no one. It does not aspire to be the Polo Shirt and Yuppie toy that the iPhone is. It does not aspire to emulate the anachronistic Windows Mobile social orphan. It is not confined to the constructs of a phone; its future is as broad as the imaginations of those who realize its potential.
9. Android reeks of Geek Cool. If you understand that, you get it. If you don't, well, never mind.
10. The only things my Android is missing are virtually sure to arrive.. Support for Windows streaming media formats, and a built-in FM radio receiver. But those, I suspect, will come in time...

And time, for today, is out....

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