My Android Adventure

I recently took the impulsive plunge and bought the new myTouch 3G phone from T-Mobile. The phone uses the Android operating system from Google and drew me in with the attractive touch screen interface. I was a long term Blackberry Pearl user and wanted to move from the small keypad to a touch screen keyboard where there is just one letter per key and enjoy the speed of the 3G environment.

While I was anxiously waiting to use the new phone my 1,200 contacts had to be moved to the new SIM card from the Blackberry. This turned out to be nearly a 30 minute process and later I discovered only moved contact content if there was a phone number or notes. Only the name was moved if the contact on my Blackberry SIM had just an e-mail address which amounted to a third of the contacts.

I mistakenly assumed that the phone specific USB cable would allow me to have a PC-to-phone update link. This impression was created by the store sales person who had a “you can do anything with this phone” response to my questions and my previous Blackberry experience where the update was just a download away. Fortunately Android discussion boards resulted my downloading a product that linked to the phone through the Google cloud which may be a “policy” problem for many business account users. I was able to quickly synchronize tasks and calendar but failed for three days to master the “magical sauce” to configure the sync program to talk to Google. Most of the delay was 24 hour turnaround on e-mail tech support. After the third day I was able to talk to someone and quickly solved the problem which could have been solved by a better prompt process in their Settings form.

I did locate a company that offered a USB PC-to-phone sync process which I preferred but all attempts to download the demo, e-mail tech support and contact US phone numbers (the company was in the UK) went unanswered. Amazing!!

One feature of the synch process was the merging of Outlook Notes into the myTouch Contact list. While you could filter the Contact list to just show Contacts with phone numbers it was difficult to work with the notes when you needed to edit them. All carriage returns had been removed compressing all of the data into a contiguous list. A note editor with detail search function would have been a better solution.

Despite other setup issues I was “functional” – phone connection, receiving e-mail, viewing web pages, etc. As I used the phone I noticed some peculiarities with e-mail. The Blackberry would download and retain an image of the e-mail that was in the e-mail server that my PC had not removed. With myTouch you only got to see an image of the message and if the PC downloaded it (clearing the InBox) the InBox on the phone was also cleared. This took some getting use to.

As I used it more I noticed that it would report new messages but when I opened the InBox the same messages that I had read previously were still there without any new entries. I was able to test the e-mail use over a three day weekend (my PC was turned off) and noticed that the InBox only showed mail for the current day even though I had a list of mail from the previous day on the server. Interestingly enough the Trash folder had all of the mail that I had deleted over all three days – but no way to dump it and clear the folder out.

I added another e-mail app from the Market Apps folder called k-9 which was referred to me by the T-mobile Android support as something to try. I added it but had similar problems to the standard e-mail application. In addition, the response time of the phone went from 2 – 3 seconds to unlock the phone and get to the desktop to upwards of 10 seconds or more which was also true when trying to switch from one app to another. This was an unacceptable delay.

I noticed that the new phone had substantial connectivity issues compared to my Blackberry in the same calling areas. I was dropping calls everywhere where I was used to solid connectivity. Connectivity was also an issue in wifi mode. I setup the wifi connectivity to my in home router but could only connect when I was in the room with the router. Other phones with wifi have been able to connect when they are anywhere in the house.

Was there anything good about the phone? Yes! The 3G was impressive. Web pages came up fast (after I removed the new e-mail app) and in landscape mode formatted nicely. The only glitch was the absence of a Flash player so you just had white space where the Flash files would be on the web page. Video is limited with the standard phone. I played some youTube but I could not run video from MSN.com but then I did not seek any apps that might provide that utility.

The Google voice search funstion was impressive. This feature was very helpful when driving to find addresses that I could then select the address and see appear on the GPS mapping system. There were a few searches where the full interpretation could not be made and that might be more me than the app. The camera took great pictures and presented well on the display.

You have 14 days to return the phone. After the 8th day I was mixed in my attitude toward the phone primarily due to the limited e-mail features and the recurring problems. On the morning of the 10th day I went to use the e-mail system and it would not load e-mail that I knew was on the server. When I looked closely the e-mail address of the site was corrupted. This happened the week before but I thought it was something that I had done. This time there had not been any contact with the unit. It was working the previous evening and left alone until the next morning. I corrected the corrupted address and then the app said it was in a Force Close mode and to Close It. When I tried to re-open the app the same thing occurred. I contacted tech support and they recommended a reset of the unit which meant starting over configuring the unit. Sorry, No Sale!

Unfortunately this unit is not ready for my level of use or expectations. I will be returning it on day 11. I hope they work out the issues with this phone. There was a lot that I liked but I could not live with the poor functionality and uncertainty in reliability that I absolutely had to have operate at a high level. Hopefully they will have this worked out in six months and I can try it again.

Leave a Reply