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REALLY lovin' my new phone!

Finally broke down, when Best Buy made me an offer I couldn’t refuse a few weekends back, and traded in my fairly basic Virgin Mobile phone for my first smart phone. Had really WANTED to get an iPhone, but the original plan was to wait until I was able to get one through Verizon instead of AT&T. Then when Verizon finally got it, I found that after paying $5/month for phone service, I just couldn’t justify paying $70 per month for the smart phone plan through them. Then just happened to go back to Virgin Mobile, and THEY were selling smart phones with $25/month phone plans with unlimited data/text/email, and 300 minutes a month. Now a lot of people can’t get by with 300 minutes a month, but since I primarily use my phone for “emergencies” (like “I’m at PetSmart, do we need more cat food?” or “I’m at CostCo, should I get more peanuts for the squirrels?”), I don’t see myself ever going over my allotted 300 minutes a month. More important was the unlimited internet, which I figured I’d definitely use more. And some of the features/apps that came with it, that I was used to carrying around separately – camera/camcorder, GPS, and all the apps that would take the place of my PDA – all tucked away inside one small unit. Figured it was all worth paying an extra $20/month, easily.

So ended up deciding to, at some point, get Virgin Mobile’s Optimus V phone, which – other than a battery that people said drained too quickly – was getting great reviews everywhere. Wasn’t planning on doing it right away, I’d just coughed up about $8000 for surgery in January, and figured I’d just wait until eventually someone had the phone on sale. Enter Best Buy, two weeks ago, with their “save $50” package deal: $20 off the phone, and $30 off the accessory pack (car charger, screen protector, and $25 top up card for the service). Couldn’t pass it buy, and stuck it on my Best Buy card so I could get the 90 days same as cash deal. They ended up shipping me the phone (which despite being backordered for “1-2 weeks” – the deal was selling so fast, the closest in-store phone I could find for pickup was 2 and a half hours away, in Kannapolis! – I got in about 3 days) and I picked up the accessories at the local BB store. Got it activated and swapped it for my old phone so I could keep all my old account info.

After 2 weeks, still haven’t quite tried all the apps that came preinstalled, and after googling for “Best Android Apps”, have also already raided the Android Market for a very nice selection of freebie apps and games to add to it.

Favorite app so far? Up until today, anyway, probably c:geo, the freebie geocaching app. I like to geocache, but didn’t do it much, mostly because of all the planning ahead I always seemed to need to do, from loading the coordinates onto my Garmin GPS, either loading the cache pages onto my PDA or printing them out, then having to lug the GPS, the PDA, my camera (for shots of the find), and any paperwork with me to the cache location. NOW? It’s literally ALL in my phone. The GPS finds where I am, the app gives me a list of the 20 closest caches to my location, the GPS gets me within about a meter or two of where the cache is, I either find it or don’t find it, use the camera to snap a pic if I do, then can use my phone to connect to the website and log in said success or failure. All done on the spot. Sweet! If I find myself geocaching a LOT with the phone, I’ll invest in the $10 official geocache app. But for now, still testing things out.

Have several apps that I’m testing out for things like Twitter, and texting, and my internet browser, jury is still out on all those, but definitely have LOTS of options for each!

Favorite Freebie games so far? I’d originally been all about Angry Birds, since I’d heard nothing but great things about it, but after trying it, and finding it to be very similar to an online Monty Python game which I’d found to be marginal, haven’t really played it much. Haven’t played a LOT of other games yet, but so far, the vote for best graphics and playability go to AI Factory Limited’s Reversi and Backgammon. I’m a sucker for computerized board games. :)

But the thing that really made me *squeee* over the new phone today? I found myself in somewhat unfamiliar terrain after driving to meet my boss to give him some cables that he was missing from his kit for a video shoot this afternoon, and thought “okay, what’s the best way to get home from here? Hey, let’s try the Navigation app!” So pulled over (SO not familiar with my phone buttons enough to find it while in motion), pulled up the app, was all set to type in my address, when I saw the option to SPEAK my address into the app instead. KEWL! Hadn’t tried that before. So hit the record button, spoke in my address, which it captured perfectly and immediately started squawking at me, telling me which way to go. I over-rode a few of the GPS decisions once I got closer to home and knew where I was, but on the whole, it got me home pretty well. But what was truly *squee*rific about the whole thing? As I’m pulling onto my street and it’s telling me that “your destination is on the left” I happen to glance down at it again as I’m pulling into the driveway, and the map was gone off the screen, replaced with a Google street view photo of my HOUSE! I just thought that was REALLY kewl! Talk about giving it the personal touch! 😀

But now I understand a recent article I read about people talking back to the voices in their GPSes. Doesn’t take much to get me talking to myself anyway, but put something in my car that actually talks to me, even if it’s just to give me directions, and I’ve got NO problem talking back to it, whether to tell it “No, we’re NOT going that way!” or just “hey, you got THAT one right!” 😀 Pretty funny.

Yeah, I’m definitely loving my new smart phone. An iPhone it isn’t, but I think it’ll keep me busy for a VERY long time anyway. Best upgrade I’ve treated myself to since buying my new PC last summer. :)

Look! Very scary! I’ve actually put Hello Kitty wallpaper on my phone already. Be afraid, be very afraid. 😀 And yes, there’s voicemail on my phone. But I don’t know how to access them yet, I used the voice mail so seldom on my old phone, I can’t remember my passcode to check it. Guess I’ll have to call VM sometime and get access to it again. LOL. No rush though. Nobody has my cell number, so it’s probably just junk or a wrong number or something…

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REALLY lovin' my new phone!

by Karen Cusimano time to read: 5 min
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