Rewinding from immature Android to mature PalmOS04/08/2010 Jared Comments Closed
I like seeing new developments in technology, like the game-changing [memristor from HP](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor). At times, I get frustrated with new technology because it introduces complication without delivering improved quality of life. Case in point: Google’s Android operating system and the Nexus One.
In February, I fast forwarded from using a [Palm TX](www.palm.com/us/products/handhelds/tx/) to a shiny new [Nexus One](http://www.google.com/phone), due to the failure of the digitizer in the former device. I was excited about the Nexus One — reportedly the best Android device to date. As I began to use the Nexus One, I found several areas that were less productive than the Palm TX. I grew frustrated, and searched for add-on apps that would smooth out the bumps in the calendar and give me a task list.
I found three excellent apps that helped: Pure Calendar Widget, gTasks, and Calendar Pad. I put two 2×2 Pure Calendar widgets on my home screen, side by side: one for my calendar, and the other for my tasks (Pure Calendar displays data from Google Calendar, gTasks and/or Astrid). As I continued to use the Nexus One, I determined what I want in a PDA/smartphone, in order of priority:
1. Quick access. I want a quick, easy way turn on the device, and I want instant access to my most important data: calendar, and tasks. With Android, it’s too cumbersome. I want a calendar button, and if I can’t have that, then I want additional unlock gestures, one of which will drop me directly into my calendar — at today’s date. Same for tasks. I’d like a physical phone button to _quickly_ make phone calls.
2. Bluetooth keyboard Support. If I’m going to invest into a PDA or a smartphone, I want a keyboard. It makes it easier to take notes, and it makes it far easier to use SSH. I don’t want a keyboard all of the time, but I will us it frequently. Android may well support this in the future (See [this](http://pdk.android.com/online-pdk/guide/bluetooth.html) and [this]( http://source.android.com/projects/bluetooth-faq)). The Palm TX supported it years ago.
3. Better calendar. I want it to have most of the features of [DateBk5](http://www.pimlicosoftware.com/datebk5.htm) for the Palm including 1. collapsed day view (don’t show me wide swaths of time when there are no appointments). 2 floating appointments, 3. a compact “Calendar Pad” like view for month and week (with text), 4. a better built-in agenda-style widget, somewhat comparable to Pure Calendar Widget, 5. easier touch-screen editing and configuration of appointments and 6. I want calendar search built-in.
4. Configurable alarm snooze length and snooze response. DateBk5 is fantastic in this regard. When an alarm appears on my screen, I want to be able to snooze for any length of time I specify, and I want to be able to specify it for each and every one that may be pending — not all at once.
5. Contacts: I want to be able to sort by last name.
6. Email: I want copy and paste in the email apps.
7. Camera with good auto-focus. The Nexus One was so close, but ultimately, it failed to focus for 80 percent of my pictures. It would have been more satisfied without a camera.
8. Standard headphone jack that isn’t [finicky](http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/android/thread?tid=1fb5ef9a5c667d18&hl=en).
9. Record audio to a standard, ubiquitous form out-of-the-box, such as wav, ogg vorbis or mp3.
10. Full backup and restore.
11. FM radio receiver. I like listening to the radio, and if I’m going to have a device that does it all, why not have an FM radio too? But if it costs too much extra, then no thanks.
A few weeks after I purchased the Nexus One, a coworker told me I could buy a replacement digitizer for my Palm TX for $35, which I did. I followed the [instructions at instructables.com](http://www.instructables.com/id/Replace-the-Touch-Screen-Digitizer-on-a-Palm-TX/) to do the replacement, and have been very pleased with the result. So pleased, in fact, that I considered selling the Nexus One. I like the precision of a stylus better than a fat finger. I like the ability to write, using Graffiti, without having to look at an on-screen touch-keyboard to jot down notes. If only I could have a keyboard for the Nexus One, then maybe it would be more productive.
I bought a foldable bluetooth keyboard (Palm 3245ww), on the (incorrect) [recommendation](http://www.nexusoneforum.net/forum/nexus-one-general-discussion/3246-bluetooth-keyboard-support-works-flawlessly.html) that it would work with the Nexus One. It didn’t, but that was okay, because it works beautifully with the Palm TX.
I continued to use the Nexus One, but I found myself frustrated when I read email but had no physical keyboard to compose a reply — instead, I had to settle for a slow touch-screen alternative. I had a general purpose computer in the palm of my hand, but I felt crippled with it. My expectations exceeded the capacity for it to deliver. The Nexus One is a fantastic mobile internet device, and a great platform for consuming content, but not for creating content.
I found myself using the Nexus One to check email or read Facebook when I was sitting at the dinner table, when I really wanted to be focused on my family. I found myself updating apps to the latest version, instead of doing more productive things. I found myself distracted by the Nexus One to the point that it was reducing the quality of my life.
So I sold the Nexus One, and now I’m satisfied with mature, capable, legacy technology in the form of my Palm TX. I’ll continue to watch Android as it matures — after all, I like seeing new developments in technology.Tech