My Love Affair With Android

It was late at night a few years ago when a package came through marked with a familiar carrier. I had placed an order a few days before for my first Android phone; having absorbed all the hype for several months, I’d decided upon a humble Sanyo Zio on the Cricket service. Coming clocked at a whopping 600MHz, the Zio packed Android 2.1 (Eclair for those who remember) and 256MB of RAM. As my first smartphone experience, it was heaven.

That first Android phone was my high school sweetheart. It seemed like the best thing that had ever happened to me. When I met it, it seemed to fulfill something I had been missing. I had never held anything like it and never anticipated I would. It would go on to help me function in business, at home, and keep me busy when I was lying awake and unable to sleep. That Zio seemed like the phone I’d spend my life (well, my contract) with… That is, until I saw a beautiful brunette whose figure and numbers I couldn’t shake.

Cricket Zio

The Zio on Cricket

At that point, I had bought into a small business in Charlotte and decided I had earned an upgrade. I deserved more than a reseller carrier and a budget smartphone. I had come of age. I determined I could pass it off as a business expense and looked to Verizon, or Big Red, for better coverage nationwide. I planned to be traveling a lot in 2011 and could justify the move.

Beyond that, I had my eyes set on that sweet new device, a dual-core phone when such phones were in their infancy. I had already become an Android man and refused to venture into the world of Apple. A dual-core phone, any dual-core phone, should easily topple the performance of the skinny-legged and unimpressive iPhone. I wanted the Motorola Droid X2.

At that point, I had split up with my long-time girlfriend and just moved into a new place. I was expecting the cable guy around the same time I ventured to the Verizon store to upgrade. Ironically, the first call I made on the X2 was to Time Warner Cable to yell after the cable guy had left my house without so much as a courtesy call. Another stage of my life, and consequentially my life with Android, had come.

Motorola Droid X2

Droid X2 - An early dual core phone.

Oh how I loved that X2. I bought a $30 case for it. I was gentle, caring, forgiving (anybody with the X2 knows the patience it takes to not break it in half). I never rooted her or considered other ROMs. I was a good consumer. I even signed up for the “soak tests” from Motorola so that if Verizon and Motorola ever decided to love me back, I’d be waiting.

I had been on Android 2.2 (Froyo) for a while and realized that this phone had never met her true potential. I became frustrated with her, agitated at times. So when I got the email for the Gingerbread soak test, I hopped on it. It didn’t matter that I was on a business trip in Reno, NV. I stayed up late with a sluggish hotel Wi-Fi to download that massive update. Finally, I was graced with the long-thought illusion that was Android 2.3, Gingerbread.

It’s funny how my lust for smart phones and women seemed to parallel. It was in Reno that I met another flame. It was also in Reno that I realized I didn’t want to dropkick my X2. After returning home to Charlotte, I began an affair with both an older woman and a Motorola device. I would soon learn that despite the appeal of both, underneath they were diabolical creatures.

As I began writing for Android.AppStorm, I decided to further venture into the world of rooting, ROMs, and the like. However, like any angry X2 user, I realized that it had the absurdity of locking the bootloader. It diminished the possibility of true ROM progression and truly kept the secrets of the phone hidden (much like this particular girl). The potential of what developers would be able to do with the incredible hardware underneath was shrouded by a complex encryption algorithm. And just like this fling, I saw that the X2 wasn’t worth the effort.

The flame extinguished and my love of the phone gone, I delved deep into my app reviews. During the same period, I had been spending time browsing through Craigslist and eBay for various things and noticed a fair amount of ads for used Android phones. It was then that I came across an HTC Evo 3D for a price that I couldn’t resist. Deciding that the luke-warm relationship I had developed with Motorola’s dual-core flop had turned sour, I leaped forward.

HTC EVO 3D

EVO 3D - Not an ordinary rebound

Unfortunately, the HTC Evo 3D turned out to simply be a rebound. I wrote a review on AppStorm singing praises of the phone’s performance, the Sense overlay, and the development potential. In the end, however, poor battery life and being doomed to Sprint’s lack of stable coverage forced me to reconsider. I had gone from my high school sweetheart, to my lustful dual-core beauty, finally, to my quirky second-best. It was time to reevaluate what I wanted.

In the beginning of 2012, I took a new job as the technical lead of an established company here in Charlotte. Having shed my past of business ventures, I decided it was time to settle down and do what I knew best. I managed the IT, introduced an audio/video element to our marketing strategy, and demonstrated the difference between Photoshop and Powerpoint interpretations of design. It was in this role that I was introduced to a beautiful woman, elegant in her southern ways, and true. She and I had known each other for a few years through similar business roles but it wasn’t until I had started working in her company that I had a chance to give her proper pursuit.

It may sound odd but it is parallel to what I had wanted in a phone. I wanted a girlfriend to be what she was supposed to be, first and foremost: supportive, beautiful, intelligent, and engaging. I wanted a smartphone to be just what it was supposed to be: a phone, a texter, stable, and reliable. Just like I found a wonderful girl, I found a great phone. Unlike her, I found the phone on eBay.

Samsung Fascinate

Fascinate - My phone true love

I found a Samsung Fascinate (dated, yes, I know) for just $70 because of a few software issues. I flashed a new ROM and had it up and running in 30 minutes. Since then, I’ve added on Android 4.0 (ICS!) and haven’t looked back. The Zio was $260 without contract, the X2 $200 with a 2 year contract. $175 for the EVO 3D used. But it was the Fascinate that fascinated me. As a phone, it has been by far the best.

Since my first Android experience in 2010, I have been through many mistresses. A budget phone on a budget carrier, a potential flagship, a gimicky powerhouse, and finally, my lovely phone I have today. Unfortunately, as I try to finish my thoughts, I must turn off my phone love and head to bed, because my true love is calling.