I have been a true Symbian / Belle evangelist. I have been vociferous in its defence, and often ready to poke in the eye people

The grass is greener on the Android side

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I have been a true Symbian / Belle evangelist. I have been vociferous in its defence, and often ready to poke in the eye people who attacked its relevance. But the recent series of (what I consider) prodigious mis-steps finally pushed me into adopting an Android device (a Sony Xperia Pro).

I have been exploring the Android OS and some of the applications available on it.

Apart from from the need to eternally be vigilant as regards data consumption, I would say I am deliriously happy with both the device itself, and the Operating System (Android GingerBread) that powers things.

Something that immediately became apparent when I crossed over to Android is the number of quality apps for almost ANYTHING about which you can think. Symbian has a lot of apps in diffferent categories. True. But the variety/diversity, as well as the quality of the apps here truly had me stymied.

It is often a fact of life that one must always make compromises. Some of the compromises include the need to manage data consumption stringently. I have turned off background data and automatic sync in ALL the apps (onboard) that has such a facility.

I watch my data with eagle eyes, having been scared silly of how Android can gulp your 1 Gigabyte of data/datum in a heartbeat! This is quite a different scenario from my old Symbian where I do not have to be so attentive. I use apps like 3G WatchDog and Onavo to track what is munching my data, and at what rate. The ‘mobile data’ remains turned off unless I specifically have to go online. Lots of Android Apps are ad-supported. Leaving your connection on is sure to get your data/datum sapped in expeditiously!

Most apps that can be used to configure which Android apps can go online need your device to be ‘rooted’. This is a direction I do not want to take.

The most pleasant aspect of my new experience is the ease with which I can get things done, especially the entry of data on the phone.

The device comes with a hardware keyboard, but I have been so enthralled with SwiftKey Keyboard that I have not touched it yet! If you have an Android touchscreen phone, do yourself a favour. Install SwiftKey. It is as ominipotent as it is psychic. The hardware keyboard on this Sony Xperia Pro would probably rust from misuse. SwiftKey/Touchscreen all the way!

As a notable chronic app JUNKY, I have been busy installing, uninstalling and assessing apps on the Android platform. Special thanks to Harry Echemco for his indefatiguable support and advice while getting my hands dirty with this Android device.

All the apps I have installed – so far – were from outside the ‘Google Play’. While I recognize the risk (and I am ready to bear the possible consequence), I found it is cheaper for me (data-wise) to go to the website of the app Authors to download directly. Thus, I have not yet visited “Google Play” – an activity I understand is very
data-intensive.

The following are the apps I have installed on the Sony ExPeria Pro:

  1. ZDClock
  2. Super BackUp
  3. QuickPic
  4. SwiftKey
  5. ZDBox (swiss army app with a cornucopia of functions!)
  6. Quick Settings
  7. HandyCalc (am amazed by this calculator)
  8. File Expert, Astro File Manager, ES File Manager
  9. GO Contacts
  10. MXPlayer Pro
  11. English Dictionary Free (need a more capable dictionary / thesaurus)
  12. ColorNote, Note EveryThing
  13. k9-Mail
  14. Onavo, 3G WatchDog
  15. ClipBoard Contents (prefer to aNDClip ‘cos it is ad-free)
    Go Launcher
  16. SwiftKey 3 Beta (Go Keyboard seems good)
  17. Opera Mini / Uc Mobile / QQ Browser
  18. FlipBoard (I don’t plan to use this – much)
  19. BarCode Scanner
  20. Daily expense Manager
  21. 920 Text Editor
  22. Internet DownLoad Manager

Some apps I miss SORELY from the Symbian world is Kylom Projekt, a wonderful outliner application. No equivalent on Android (ColorNote / NoteEverything is close).

Being a wordsmith, I have gone a hunting for dictionaries and thesauruses. I have found Android somewhat deficient in this area. Compromises, compromises.

The money management apps I found in my app scavenging are either too rudimentary, or over comprehensive. Still searching!

Definitely – I would say the grass is greener and more luxuriant on
this Android side!

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37 comments

  1. all this while they have been preaching it, now u know android is far better than symbian. I hope the initial gra gra dont die down after a while sha. Android’s data issues will soon get to u soon bro. And just llike jesse who dropped samsung galaxy SII for Nokia N8.. Lets see what happens

  2. Today is the longest day of the year indeed.

    Mr. Olaoya, I’m glad you discovered the same thing I have about Android – an app for almost anything you can think of.

    @Shayman, it would not surprise me if Jess went over to the iOS side, the way he’s been talking recently.

  3. Errrrh! Shayman. I dropped the Galaxy SII due to data guzzling. But my Symbian Nokia N8 has almost become a toothless dog with me. It gets less and less love. Rather than go Android, like Noni said, I will most likely go iPhone.

    My experience with this iPod has been awesome and it gulps less data and the apps for the iOS are more beautiful. There are things Abdroid does better, but I just love the iOS platform.

  4. Shayman:

    Android is dependent on the hardware of the phone. Those who have the latest flagship Android phone can say that their phone, OS, or whatever is better than Symbian. We should not compare OS alone. You cannot say that the Samsung Galaxy Y is better than the N8. Android just sucks with entry level to mid tier smartphones – and there are a lot of them.

  5. Being a wordsmith, I have gone a hunting for dictionaries and thesauruses. I have found Android somewhat deficient in this area. Compromises, compromises.

    I may not know what is best in this category but you are only a few days old in the Android ecosystem and I can assure you it would take more than a few days to get the best choice of apps for all your needs. You are at best a toddler in this ecosystem to make such a categorical statement. Lol.

    Give WordWeb a try and tell us if Android is still deficient in this area. Still WordWeb might not be the best in this category.

    Again, you’ve not been to the Android market and you are already forming opinion on where Android is deficient.

  6. What became of the beloved 5800

    @Austin, I will give it to Glenda as a symbol of HER pyrrhic ‘victory’. SHE can hang it around her neck as a medallion.

    … it would take more than a few days to get the best choice of apps for all your needs.

    @Harry, maybe you are right.

    But compared to the kind of dictionaries existing on Symbian, I am yet to see any on Android that compares favorably..

    I will keep searching until I find..

  7. @ eye_ bee_ kay, try fora dictionary, in my opinion it’s the best offline dictionary.

    Developer website : http://ng-comp.com/fora/android-m.htm

    The dev provides all apk free for download and the dictionaries all work offline from an sdcard if internal memory is a problem.

    It’s features include
    Installable packages (WordNet, FOLDOC,
    Factbook, Moby)
    Automated downloads (ENG-DEU, DEU-ENG,
    ENG-HUN, HUN-ENG, ENG-CZE, ENG-TUR,
    CRO-ENG)
    Multiple offline dictionary formats support:
    StarDict dictionaries
    XDXF dictionaries
    DSL dictionaries
    DICTD database dictionaries
    Plain (tab-separated/TSV) dictionaries
    Wikipedia (with suggestions and random)
    Wildcard search
    Fuzzy search
    DICT protocol
    Full rich-text content and hyperlinks support
    for definitions
    Unified dictionary management for all types
    of dictionaries
    Add
    Remove/delete
    Enable/disable
    Reorder
    Assign color
    Show information
    Recommend
    Multiple dictionary arrangements using
    profiles (grouping)
    Reader mode
    Word history and elegant navigation
    Word list
    Random word
    Lookup via system clipboard (clipboard
    monitor)
    Text-to-Speech (available in EN_US, EN_GB,
    FR, DE, IT, ES)
    Speech input (available in EN, ZH_CN, JP)
    Customization
    Export options
    Email/SMS options
    Query API
    Tablet friendly
    Portable, all-in-SD configuration

  8. @eyebeekay, tell us your experience with drop down notification and the notification bar. Also tell us what you feel about the “Share” function on android..

  9. “Being a wordsmith, I have gone a hunting for dictionaries and thesauruses. I have found Android somewhat deficient in this area. Compromises, compromises”

    You will get to discover more apps on the android app world as time goes on.
    permit me to quickly give you a list of free offline dictionary apps currently installed on my GSII:-
    1.Merriam-Webster dictionary
    2.Adv. English Dictionary & Thesaurus (WordNet)
    3.English dictionary & Thesaurus (wordweb)
    4.Offline dictionaries
    5.Free Dictionary(with option to chose 1 of the 3 dictionaries)
    6.Viren’s Dictionary
    7.DictionaryForMIDs
    8.English(developed by Livio)
    9.English Idioms
    10.ColorDict
    11.Concise Oxford English Dictionary 11e.

    All of the above listed Dictionaries are free on Google play store.

  10. EyeBeeKay,

    For dictionary, Merriem-Webster’s is the only one that I use on Android, and I can swear that if I have found it capable (as I have), you will too.

  11. try fora dictionary

    @Johnny, thanks a billion. This looks like just what I have been
    searching for.

    @Efe, the notification bar is a truly Effective way of presenting information. Just this morning, and I got a notification that Ice Cream Sandwich 4.02.A.0.62 is ready for download for the eXperia Pro. I am hoping this upgrade would drastically mitigate the legendary dataguzzling, and allow me to stop having to interminably keep tapping ‘disable data’

    The notification bar is a good way to show the status, but I understand it is sometimes, (mis) used by ad supported apps to display advert that merely consumes your data and annoys you. I have not seen any such advertising_so far.

    The share function is a great convenience if you are heavily into social networking (I am not).

    By the way, I typed all these using SwiftKey touchscreen app. It makes it practically impossible to make typing mistakes anymore. Highly recommended..

  12. @ eyebeekay

    i tried swiftkey 3 beta, i like the novelty of typing without the spacebar, but after a while i had to change back to touchpal keyboard, i think i prefer swype like input for one-handed use. easier to communicate swyping than touch typing in some instances. eg you are rushing somewhere and you need to take okada and type at the same time.

    its also strange to me that you got all your apps off the playstore, even free apps! i think you are overly paranoid about android data issue that you dont even want to search for free apps on the playstore, lol

    anyway you can login on your pc to playstore and install apps from ya pc. anytime there is data connection on your phone, the download will start automatically on your phone without you having to visit playstore on your phone

  13. Android is #winning… Well am still sticking with nokia belle till the end of the year.

  14. by the way, mr mo said he’s going to publish an article on his new love for a particular OS. Its definitely not android. Mr Mo just publish all the goodies about BB.. #yawns

  15. @Johmny@Johnny, thanks so much. you are on target about the data paranoia. Lol.

    Harry told me how data intensive browsing through the Google play store is- and I just picked race!

    I was under the illusion the apps must exist outside the Store first -BEFORE they were submitted to the Store! How wrong!

    Jikong1: Thank You for that list! I hereby upgrade you to jikong1000 on this blog (* smile*). Hope you don’t mind?

    Mr Mo, and I grew up with a Merriem_Webster dictionary on my daddy’s shelf. I have a feeling I will be flowing in that direction!

  16. O boy. Mobility blog don turn to big man join oh. What will now happen to me and my “dead” C5-00?
    Money is good.

  17. Also try this app Lookout Ad Network Detector

    Use this app to find which ad networks are embedded in other apps you install and which ad networks can display ads or collect your personal info

    http://bit.ly/addetector

    To me this app is great because I can’t trust all the apps I download from the play store or external source’s, it informs me of apps are stealing my personal data and what ad networks they are sharing my data with. It’s free, ad free and it works offline.

  18. symbian has changed have you tried anyof the new devices like 701 or 700. I just got a nokia 701 and i assure you it is amazing

  19. @good when you were on bb you preached it too lol.guys everything you use is ‘good’ right lol

  20. Eye_Bee_Kay Welcome to the club. I’d advise you try Dictionary.com. It is a great Dictionarey app with a splendid thesaurus. It is also free and has word of the day, to help you learn a big or obscure word each day. It also has a iOS version.

    @Glenda Really, you are in Knight in Shining armour. It’s a good thing you could wean EBK from his love of his 5800.

    True Symbian is great, but it is markedly flawed because of its lack of a robust third party apps in its app store. And that’s what determines a modern smartphone now..

  21. Good,

    Nokia Belle is a lovely OS, as BlackBerry OS 7 is, as Android is. The truth as I have always preached it is that it all boils down to each person’s needs. Not being an app junkie means Nokia Belle is all good for me.

    I don’t have s Nokia Belle device right now, but I am at home with Belle as I am with any other (except iOS; honestly I don’t think I’ll survive using iOS in its current state).

    I am still eyeing the Nokia 808 PureView.

  22. Olusheenor,

    @good when you were on bb you preached it too lol.guys everything you use is ‘good’ right lol

    Don’t mind people, they tend to do that. The truth that most won’t admit is that almost any of these platforms adequately meet their needs.

    There is no such thing as a “better” platform across board. Strengths and weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses!

  23. The SwiftKey 3 beta has since been updated to the more stable and a lot faster SwiftKey 3. Just updated to it last night. I bought the initial SwiftKey for $3 and got the upgrade for free. Its all i use now.
    Eye.bee.kay, you need to update to ICS asap. You can throw away all your data monitoring apps afterwards. It will natively monitor your data consumption for each app and allow you set limits.

  24. actually this new belle is super good, yes i have used bb for like 6 months and the bulk of my friendd still are on it but the nokia 701 rocks especially the new tweetian app. Nokia has stepped up their game.

  25. @olusheenor naaa when you use this new symbian you will be blown away

    good have been on Nokia belle for over 3months now. Follow me on Twitter @olusheenor and lets share apps

  26. Sorry guys… Just wanna knw if bb bold 2 or 4 can be upgraded to the new OS 7…this is cos am considering getting a bb but dont wanna be left in a situation where I would be stuck with just OS 6..

  27. Mr. Mo.

    Yeah, I guess. I’ve fallen back into the habit of using my good ol’ E63 when the Galaxy Pro’s battery gives out towards the end of the day.

    I was really hoping that that Android could be a real budget smartphone alternative to Symbian, but so far I’ve found low end droids impractical for serious work. The hardware just leave too much to be desired. But I don’t want to go too much off topic. Good luck with the Galaxy Pocket.

  28. /// Eye. bee . kay , you
    need to update to
    ICS asap . You can
    throw away all your
    data monitoring
    apps afterwards . It
    will natively monitor
    your data
    consumption for
    each app and allow
    you set limits .///

    Thanks, @Belushi. That would be true mobile nirvana!

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