I grew up playing with PC’s- building them, writing text adventures in QBasic, knowing DOS well enough to remove the “win” line from my autoexec.bat, and customizing boot disks for every game I owned. That was all at home, where my real education was happening. Meanwhile, while I was at school, I was reduced to working on nothing but Macs. I’m normally pretty good about separating the notion of “I’m not used to this yet” from “I don’t like this.” But it didn’t take long for me to decide that I hated Macs, and therefore Apple as well. Being all presumptuous and removing the floppy drive, building the monitor into the tower so it’s just one unit, hard to upgrade any single piece without replacing the whole thing (back then anyway). Hatred doesn’t begin to describe how I felt about Apple.
They’ve changed though. Thank god. I recognize that their OS is just based on top of BSD. And the company itself rests firmly on top of its iPod, iPhone, and iPad lines rather than its computers. So two years ago, when I deemed it time to get a smart phone, I bought an iPhone. I even wrote about it, here. At the time of purchase, it was THE smart phone to own. There wasn’t another competitor that offered anything even close. But that’s changed now.
For two years I carried that phone- eventually jailbroke it. I swallowed a lot of pride the day I bought it, and last Thursday, I spit that pride right back out. Damn, that felt good.
I bought a Motorola Atrix 4G. It’s AT&T’s top of the line Android-based phone as of the time of this writing. It’s the first (and time will tell if it is the only) phone to dock with a laptop-shell and launch into a webtop OS that runs full Firefox. It’s dual core, has a gig of ram, and it knows the last digit of pi.
Why do I like it better than the iPhone? Besides the power itself:
- It can run Flash, which means I can read Shacknews AND watch the videos.
- I can develop for it FROM ANY OPERATING SYSTEM using Java, a language I already know, as opposed to buying a Mac and learning Objective C.
- I can download and install apps that aren’t necessarily in the app store, legally and without jailbreaking.
- Google makes free apps that I like better than the free apps on the iPhone- like Google Goggles and Google Sky.
- I can browse the file system of the phone without jailbreaking.
- I can use widgets all over the place, and even code new ones, without jailbreaking.
- There are console emulators in the freaking app store.
There are more, but I feel like I’ve established my point.
Over the weekend, I picked up this book on Android development, and I’ve already started development on a little app to help manage Codeplex-based open source projects. More to come on that.
I can’t wait to see what I can do next on Android. Whatever it is, I bet it’ll be really easy and won’t require any jailbreaking.