I have poor impulse control. Though I manage to avoid most major vices, including all the illegal ones, I do have a gigantic closet full of formerly cutting-edge tech gadgets. My collection of video games for every console on the market draws players from all over the ‘hood here in Boulder, Colorado. But my living room and closet are nothing compared to my geek museum—actually a storage unit full of dusty old obsolentia, some of which still works. So perhaps it should have come as no surprise that I would end up involved in the Android wars.
Mobile phones are undergoing such rapid innovation that that each new model is superseded sooner and sooner. Nowhere is this more true than in the market for Android devices, because any manufacturer can use the Android software from Google to try to outdo Apple’s iPhone—or any other Android phone. All this is a problem for someone who craves every new step forward in gadgetry.
For me, it all began in December 2009, when Google announced it would be selling the Nexus One online. I shelled out $595 and ordered it directly, with no network carrier attached. I tossed in a SIM card from another phone I had lying around and used it for a few days. Predictably, I got bored, went back to my iPhone, and handed off the Nexus to my assistant, Kelly, who proceeded to use it—and love it—as a replacement for her T-Mobile Dash.
Several iPhones later (one lost, one broken, one upgraded), I found myself pining for a Droid. I was sick of AT&T’s spotty phone and Internet service, and my friends using Verizon were no longer amused by my endless bitching, so I gave in to my urge for the new Motorola device. For a few days, I found the Droid an intriguing companion, but it eventually ended up in the hands of my wife, Amy, as a replacement for her own T-Mobile Dash. My iPhone survived another Android attack.
This past April, a month before the Google I/O conference, another Motorola Droid showed up in my office. This one was a gift that Google had sent to all 5,000 attendees. “Now I really need to use this,” I thought, “since they gave it to me.” So I did. For a month, the Droid and I were together again. The thing actually made telephone calls and connected to the Internet all the time, which was a nice change. But I found the physical keyboard impossible to use, even though I kept my fingernails short.
At Google I/O, I realized I was still carrying my iPhone along with my Droid. I used my Droid most of the time but switched back to the iPhone for apps that weren’t on the Droid yet. Although there were more and more Droid apps every day, I still didn’t love the shape and the way it responded to my touch.
And then the Android wars escalated. On the second day of Google I/O, Google gave every attendee an HTC Evo with 30 days of Sprint service.