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How Much Phone is Too Much?

android smartphone with apps & 4GSeveral friends and family members are looking to get new phones. Some just want “a good phone,” but others apparently want to spend hours discussing the slightest nuances of every conceivable phone out there. What I find is that many of them are suffering from “analysis paralysis.”  They’ve become so ensconced in the deep minutiae of the phones, that they get stuck. Not every phone has all the best characteristics in every single area.

You know the folks – they need every single benchmark to be the best, every single component to be the fastest, sharpest or whatever. Oh, and the battery had better last three days, too!

This is at best unrealistic, at worst foolish. You need a phone that is responsive, yes, but for what? Some phones are very good at playing Angry Birds really fast. If that’s why you’re buying a phone, good for you. Some of us prefer a phone that will make phone calls quickly.

What you need to do is to make a list of every feature you want. Then order that list from most important to least important. No cheating – you can only have one most important thing! And don’t forget – some things will have an impact on other things. For example, if you want one of the very newest dual-core processors, that’s going to drastically shorten your battery life. The same thing is true of a Super AMOLED Plus display. Once you have your list, then start looking for a phone that handles your list in order of importance. You may find your choice easier than you expect!

4G or not 4G?

One of the things on your list above will likely be the 3G or 4G question. And one of the things you’ll be wondering is whether or not you can live with the inevitable tiered pricing that 4G seems to be bringing us. You know it’s coming, and you know it’s coming to 4G first. Assuming your carrier doesn’t have it already!

There’s an interesting dichotomy here. On the one hand, Google and app makers are making their products more and more useful, particularly with everything living in the cloud, streaming of video and audio, multi-player games, etc. They’re telling you to suck up every byte you can grab and enjoy it. On the other hand, the carriers are teling you that you’ll pay what you may think are exorbitant amounts of money for those bytes.

Well, there are, of course, two sides to that story. Certainly the carriers have the right to charge anything they like. And they have to right to charge it in any way they like. You then have the right to vote with your dollars by going to someone else for your wireless service.

But I’m not talking about the disparity between what the carriers want and what you want; I’m talking about the disparity between what the carriers want and what Google and the app makers want! I think the phone companies need to be a little careful. I should think it wouldn’t take much to convince Google into buying a national carrier, and only a little more to goad Google into creating a national wireless carrier. Maybe not under their own name, but Google’s all the same. Google doesn’t need to make a lot of profit as a carrier; they’ll continue to rake it in from everything else! Fantasy? Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to be the one to bet on Google sitting back and getting throttled. I’ll bet Google’s greed against the carriers’ greed any day!

App o’ the Month – Congress

Congress has always fascinated me (in a train-wreck/Jackass/Youtube-stupid-stunts sort of way). The Congress app from the Sunlight Foundation (http://tinyurl.com/androidcongress) lets you follow your local representatives to see how they’re voting, follow bills, floor activity, hearings – it’s CSPAN in your pocket! It’s a free app, but, of course, as always I suggest that you donate if you like it by buying the Donate version instead (http://tinyurl.com/androidcongressdonate). It’s only a buck; even you can afford a buck!

The cool thing is that it figures out your representatives by location or, of course, by ZIP code. You can check out your representatives’ profiles, news about them, anything they’ve tweeted, videos, etc. You can call their offices, too. It’s the 21st Century – you have much more ability to exercise your franchise as a citizen of this great nation, to get involved in your own governance, rather than sitting like a lump on your couch and swearing at the TV. Remember – if you don’t participate, you have no right to criticize! Enjoy!

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