Posts Tagged ‘Verizon’

Cross-Carrier Samsung Comparison

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Last night I got my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, known respectively as the Vibrant, Captivate, and Epic 4G. I wanted to see what each one looked like up close and personal, and to see if there were obvious differences between the devices. I went into the testing with a preconceived notion, expecting to find the Epic 4G to be the best of the litter. It turned out I was in for a surprise.

I started with the Epic 4G. The first thing I went for was the QWERTY keyboard. I am a fan of slide-out keyboards, and that is a large part of the reason I expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S phone. The keys are chicklet style, and are set pretty far apart. I found that it was not possible to type with my thumbs without moving my hands to reach the middle keys. It felt like I was trying to type on something the size of a PSP Go. After typing a few search queries and sample text messages it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to get a lot of typing done with the keyboard. I moved on to the touch screen and had a little more luck.

My first impression of the UI was that of a blend between a Symbian and an iPhone. It had the graphics of an iPhone with the layout of a Symbian phone. I was pretty disappointed in the icons. There are 7 home screen options, which I found refreshing after the 3 screens on the Xperia X10. While more screens means more chances to kill a battery, I still like keeping my options open. I was able to navigate through the screens pretty well, but the icons remained an eye-sore throughout my testing.

I next moved on to the Vibrant at T-Mobile. The screen looked the way I expected from the Epic 4G test. I found the typing to be much more conducive to productivity with the touchscreen QWERTY. The phone didn’t feel significantly lighter than the Epic 4G, though it was a bit thinner. Even though the UI was the same, I found I could get around easier on the Vibrant.

The last phone I tried was the Captivate. This was virtually identical to the Vibrant. I also found it much easier to type on this phone. I wouldn’t have thought that a touch-screen QWERTY would consistently outdo a slide-out QWERTY, but Samsung managed to pull it off on the Galaxy S lineup.

The default wallpaper on each of the phones I tried was set to a live wallpaper, a feature which is really fun to look at but can contribute to multiple recharges per day. I checked out some of the pre-loaded apps, and overall the phone looked easy enough to use. With the exception of its main handicap, the 5MP camera, these phones are particularly nice. If you want something that resembles an iPhone UI without actually buying an iPhone, the Galaxy S can be the phone for you.

I really expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S. I think if I had to buy a Samsung, I would probably go with the Captivate, even though it is on AT&T. My second choice would the Vibrant. It looks like the Fascinate will fair about as well as these phones, but we’ll be able to find out soon enough. With the Epic 4G keyboard being way too big, I don’t think I could use it well enough to justify the price. If you have long fingers or large hands you may have better luck.

Have you tried any of the Galaxy S phones? What are your impressions? Let me know in the comments.

Droid 2 R2D2 Site Updated

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Droid Does page featuring R2D2 has been updated. It now shows an opening crawl similar to the ones seen at the beginning of each Star Wars movie, and then fades to an updated site.

The crawl is apparently announcing a new scavenger hunt. Clues have been “scattered across the internet”, presumably leaving the fans to find them. It is a good marketing ploy, and even though I am on AT&T I am inclined to participate. Based on the first clues, this won’t be an easy contest.

The specs look identical to the Droid 2, so this is mostly a cosmetic upgrade. There is supposed to be some exclusive Star Wars content involved too. I am assuming that the details will emerge as the game progresses. I will follow the game and post updates as information is available.

Google, Verizon, and Net Neutrality

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Google and Verizon announced a Proposal for Open Internet today, and it has a lot of people worried. There have been a lot of rumors about the joint effort, rumors which Verizon and Google have been quick to reject. Today’s announcement seems to reinforce many of the rumors.

On the surface the proposal looks innocent enough, with several references about the need to increase the FCC’s authority. What is bugging most of the detractors is the exclusion of wireless web from the proposed changes. It would seem the two firms have something in mind regarding future use of mobile technology. This understandably has people asking questions.

We have much to gain from a truly open Internet. Corporations have much to gain by restricting it. While there is certainly a place for capitalism on the web, it is not okay to do it at the expense of the public. One is reminded of Tom Petty’s “Last DJ”, which says something about the brass seeing how much you’ll pay for what you used to get for free. This looks like a prophetic warning, though originally intended to describe the demise of radio.

Of note among the detractors is the FCC itself. While it seems to be a benefactor in this proposal, the FCC is apparently reading between the lines too. While I think the FCC already has too much power in many respects, it might be good for the FCC to maintain it’s control over this area. This is a touchy subject, to be sure.

The tone of most of the blogs I’ve read regarding today’s proposal are similar to my own thoughts, or at least my first impressions. Let’s hope that Google remembers it’s motto here. I doubt Verizon’s good faith more than Google’s, but it doesn’t look good for Google here. Time will tell.