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My 30 Day Android Challenge, Two Weeks In

Welcome to my Android 30 day challenge, two weeks in, well more like 17 days in but you know, a day here, a day there, what’s the difference? I’ll cut right to the chase and say that so far, I’m still having a great time using the Android platform without touching another piece of smartphone hardware. I’m still using the iPad, it’s part of my workflow so there really is no taking that away from me without another tablet around to substitute.

I’ll first echo something that I discussed in my day 10 report — substituting default apps for Google Play downloads. So, since the last time I updated you I’ve gone browser crazy and it’s bad, almost like “I need an intervention bad.” I was using the HTC One S against on days 11-14 but the last few days have been back on the Blaze 4G and I’ve tried Opera, Boat, Firefox (Beta), older Firefox, Dolphin HD (again), and Maxthon. Like I said, I’ve gone browser crazy and if given the right amount of free time, I’d have downloaded more. Right now, I’m back on Boat browser but I’d have to say overall, I like Opera the best out of all the aforementioned browsers. Chrome Beta still seems, dare I say unbeatable on Ice Cream Sandwich, but on Gingerbread devices Opera made me incredibly happy. So why am I back on Boat? Honestly, I don’t know. Did I say I’ve gone browser crazy?

On a second note on the same subject, last week I mentioned that I had substituted my use of the default SMS app with Handcent on both the Blaze and One S. I’m still using it on the One S, but on the Blaze 4G I installed Go SMS as of the past two days and I’m really loving it. Yeah, it’s a text messenger so it’s not really going to make or break my experience, but it’s the little things combined that will. So in that regard, I’m still loving the ability to replace default apps and that may be the single best recommendation I can ever give to Android. If you don’t like it, replace it. That’s huge, HUGE.

As I can’t root the HTC One S due to it being a loaner unit from HTC, I was hoping to get involved with rooting the Blaze 4G, unfortunately the developer community around the device seems pretty non-existent. In other words, I’m “bone stock” on the Blaze 4G, whatever “bone stock” can mean on an Android device.

Moving along, earlier today we covered a report out of XDA-Developers that saw some HTC One X and One S owners unhappy with the way HTC has handled the multitasking experience on the One series with Sense 4. In order to preserve battery life under the “Sense” experience, HTC has chosen to alter the multitasking setup by using a horizontally scrolling list of apps running in the background instead of the standard vertical Ice Cream Sandwich look. HTC says this was done to better handle memory management and preserve battery life and in this case, I have to say it’s worthwhile. I have had what I consider, pretty great battery life with the One S and I for one don’t really mind the liberty they’ve taken with the multitasking setup. I understand that apps running in the background is a stronghold of the Android experience, but in this regard the battery life trade-off makes it ok for me to let go of some of those running apps. For me, it’s always battery life over everything. What good are these features if I’m constantly searching for a charger?

Other apps I’ve started to use this week are:

As it stands now, a lot of you are asking me if I see myself sticking with Android when all of this is over or if I miss the iPhone? Those are questions I can’t answer yet, I want to fulfill the challenge over the next two weeks, so I’m trying not to think about anything other than this challenge itself. Besides, who knows what else I might uncover on Android that completely solidifies it as the platform for me.

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