Get to know Android for $100 or less
I came across an article from earlier in the year "The UX Community Needs to Start Paying Attention to Android" - and that got me thinking. WIth both Android and Windows Phone, I don't dislike them on principle - I'm just happy with my iPhone. But neither really have an iPod Touch like version that's cheap enough for me to play around with, while keeping my iPhone as my primary device. Even with Google's Android operating system running on 75% of the smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2012 - Android has a usage problem. People are buying them as basic phones because the carriers are giving them away, but even with current low usage, I do agree that as Designers we should be aware of all platforms, and be able to design for them equally. And as passionate, curious individuals, we might learn something new.
Over the holidays I came across this:
A HTC One V, running Android ICS (which is currently the #2 Android OS by usage). It's locked to Virgin Mobile for cell service, but unlocked as a wi-fi device. And there is no mandatory connection to cell service needed. Just switch it over to Airplane Mode, turn on the wi-fi and GPS, and you're good to go!
So for $69 (Amazon deal-of-the-day at the time), I got a Android based iPod Touch, that I can play with online and off (as long as there is wi-fi around) - and I've been playing with it. I'm trying to replace my iPhone while at home, and I have to say it does a good job. Most of the apps I regularly use are available (I think I'm only missing Byline for RSS, and of course FaceTime), the OS is fast enough, and there are some interesting design details that I would like to see on my iPhone.
- This is a great way to get-to-know a device, and learn its advantages and quirks.
- And as a father of mobile device loving kids, this could also be a great replacement for an iPod Touch, at a fraction of the cost, and if it lasts - it could one day be a pay-as-you-go phone for your kiddo.
- It also makes a great kiddo-camera - with easy ways to upload your photos straight from the camera.
So as pay-as-you go devices get down to second device level prices, now's the time to take the plunge, and try to see if you can replace your device for part of your day. Do it for the love of Design.
Here are some current pay-as-you go deals to get you into a different Mobile OS:
$100 HTC One V (4.0 ICS)
$199 Nokia Lumia 710 (Windows Phone)
$70 LG Optimus Slider (2.3 Gingerbread)
$100 LG Optimus Elite (2.3 Gingerbread)
$169 Samsung Exhibit II (2.3 Gingerbread)
$99 Samsung Illusion (2.3 Gingerbread)