Samsung Moment (Android)

Samsung MomentYes, with my latest phone upgrade, I’ve joined the world of smartphone users. As a programmer and a long-time participant in the world of open source software, there wasn’t really any doubt which of the competing smartphone operating systems I would get. I had decided long ago that when I did buy a smartphone, it would be an Android-based phone.

I also had no particular desire to change carriers. While Sprint is hardly perfect, I’ve typically had good reception and connectivity the places I need it. And I’m hardly enthused by any of its main competitors. I have friends and family on AT&T, T-mobile, and Verizon, so I have a decent idea how they work. No thanks. (Besides, I still remember how happy I was when I managed to shed my last Southwestern Bell service years ago. Just because they’re calling themselves AT&T these days doesn’t mean I’m eager to voluntarily become their customer again.)

Given those parameters, my choices boiled down to the current 3G HTC Hero and Samsung Moment or waiting a couple of months and getting the new 4G HTC Evo. The idea of owning a new 4G Android phone was tempting, but I’m something of a cheapskate when it comes to gadgets. The 3G phones were both available as upgrades for $99 (after rebate) and could be used on a plan roughly equivalent in price to the one I already had. While the 4G phone pricing hasn’t been revealed, the odds are it will be more that $99. More importantly, I’m sure that 4G will be some additional monthly fee or a more expensive plan.

Given that, it was a pretty simple choice. The Moment’s hardware specs generally seemed equal or superior to the Hero’s, but the deciding factor was the sliding keyboard. I’ve gotten used to the slider on my old Rumor phone and I like physical keyboards. I don’t generally like the onscreen ones, though I can use them when I have to. The Engadget article seemed to imply that the fact that it “runs plain-vanilla Android” was a negative, but it sounded more like a plus to me. I was concerned that it still shipped with android 1.5, especially since a friend on Verizon complains that they don’t tend to update the firmware on their android phones from the shipping version. But Sprint is apparently more responsive and an upgrade to android 2.1 should be coming in a couple of weeks or so for both the Moment and the Hero.

I did have some glitches getting our family plan switched to the comparable smartphone compatible plan so I could activate the Moment. However, Sprint’s customer care representatives were able to straighten everything out with a minimum of hassle. I’ve typically had good experiences working with them and this time was no exception.

Once activated, I began figuring out how to access the features and configure the phone. I’m still working on that. I have it synced with my Google account, which has been underutilized so far. I set up my other email accounts and am getting used to its default interface. I’m not thrilled with the email client, so I may see if there’s a better one out there, though I’ll probably wait until after the android upgrade to do that. I picked Seesmic for my twitter client and I’m reasonably happy with it on the Moment. I took a look at their desktop version, but I’ll stick with Tweetdeck on my computer. I have my home wireless network and my Moment configured to play nice together. And I have the WordPress app installed and configured for my blog.

If any other android users read this, I wouldn’t mind hearing what apps you find fun or useful and why. Please leave a comment and let me know.

So far, I’m extremely happy with my new phone. The interface is snappy as are transitions from one app to another. I’m still learning how to tweak it to both behave the way I want and conserve battery power, but I am getting closer to an acceptable middle ground. My contacts are still a mess. The phone syncs contacts with Gmail and since I’ve never managed them there in the past, I have a lot of work to do to get them set up. The good news is that I can do it on Gmail from my computer. I don’t have to try to enter everything on the phone itself. I definitely recommend this phone.

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