I’ve been neglecting the blog for a while.. sorry RSS subscribers.
I bought the HTC Magic 2 years ago when it first came out in Canada. That’s why most of my blog posts about Android development are from 2 years ago :).
I decided it was time to get the latest and greatest Android phone in Canada: the NEXUS S. A friend currently working at Google on Android highly recommended the device. And the fact that the phone is unlocked, Rogers will not put its apps on it, and Google will push updates directly to the phone without Rogers mandating when, made it even easier to pay the $300. In Canada the phone currently sells for $99 on a brand new contract, but you know how North America works: if you already have a contract you are not as enticing to the carriers as a brand new client with no contract. So, I had to pay a few fees to get the phone for $300 instead of $100.
I won’t go into a full review of the phone. There are plenty of sites that review the phone and have been doing it since the beginning of the year. I will only review a couple of items that I was worried about and you might be too if you are looking at getting this phone (or just got it).
Item 1: Overall
Overall I am extremely happy. The problem with my HTC Magic was that it was getting slower and slower with every update and every app. It was still running Eclair. So many new technological advancements (and apps) have appeared in the past 2 years, I was ready to take them head on with a new phone!
Item 2: There is no notification light
This is not new; a few of the other Samsung Androids also don’t have a notification light. I loved seeing the button light up on the HTC Magic but I cannot do that any more. I downloaded an app called NoLED (http://www.appbrain.com/app/noled/com.led.notify). It works quite well. You set it up to monitor apps that would give you notifications, and the app lights up a few pixels (or icons) on your screen when you get a notification. I used it for about a week and then I decided to stop using it. I want to see how difficult it is for me to manually check my phone, without having my phone tell me that I have a notification. But I also stopped using it for 2 other reasons:
- In order for the few pixels to light up, the buttons on the phone light up. The picture on the left is a little blurry, but the top-left of the screen has a red dot lit up and the 4 buttons on the bottom lit up. I don’t like that the 4 buttons on the bottom light up. There is a Setting in the app to not light these buttons up, but I turned that setting on and, well, you can see they are still lit up. I might be wrong here, but I feel like it wastes my battery when the NoLED app lights up those few buttons- because it is “waking up” my phone. I don’t think it makes such a big difference to battery usage and I recharge my phone nightly regardless, but it bothered me to think that the phone screen was on for extended periods of time.
- To awake the screen and unlock the phone you have to press the physical button on the top-right, however when you get a notification you should NOT press the top-right button. Essentially the NoLED app wakes up your phone, so the screen is now turned on with just a pixel lit up, so if you press the button on the top-right you will turn off the screen, not unlock your phone. It took some time to get used to… I would see a notification, press the button in the top-right, the screen would turn off, I’d get pissed off, I would press the button again, the screen would turn on (with the NoLED pixel only), then I would press any of the 4 buttons at the bottom of the phone (e.g. the Home button) which would turn on the screen and allow me to slide the thingy over to unlock it.
Anyways, cool app, try it out. I’m going to try and see how I can live without a notification light.
Item 3: There is a weird green bar on the left of the phone
This scared me. I thought I had a faulty phone and had to return it - right after I got it! But after reading a few things online, it seems like the green line of 1 pixel on the left of the screen has something to do with the AMOLED screen. I tried to take a picture of it here, but I don’t think you can see much. It only appears if you look closely and only on light backgrounds. http://androidforums.com/samsung-fascinate/229454-green-line-screen.html
Item 4: Text messaging limit
I had 4000+ text messages on my HTC Magic. Opening the Messaging app would take 15 seconds every time I wanted to send or read a message. Eventually I downloaded the app “Delete Old Messages”. It took 8 hours to delete 4000 messages. It seems that with Gingerbread, the Android team understood that too many text messages can make the app slow, so now there is a setting in the Messaging app to clean text messages on a regular basis. I plan to use this setting :).
Item 5: Near Field Communication
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication. To quote Steve Jobs, “This is going to change everything,.. again”. I love that all phones coming out have NFC readers and the Nexus S is one of the first (here in Canada at least). The technology is not new, and is being used in cellphones in Asia and Europe, but for the laggard Canada it is new and exciting! Soon you’ll be able to pay just by swiping your phone, and who knows what other uses will appear. Maybe you will be able to check in on FourSquare just by swiping your phone as you walk into a bar, rather than having to press anything on your screen.
That’s it for now. Great phone, I highly recommend it. I think I’m going to start playing with NFC now. Some links for other NFC enthusiasts: