Life has been a little crazy of late. Work has been demanding as it always is in the later part of the year as some of our clients have their busiest times in the last few months in the run up to Christmas. This has left little time for much other than family time. However, I do have a new toy.
Last week I brought an Orange San Francisco mobile phone. I am a bit of a phone freak and have always been buying new ones and trying out the latest low end models. I am a funny phone user as I tend to use Pay as You Go models as my needs really have never warranted a contract.
At the start of the year I brought a Blackberry Pearl. I got it cheap with Orange and found having my mail and Twitter and Facebook and the internet a great use. In fact I was using it more for internet based activity than I was using it as a phone. However, the small screen and the fact it was slow and had a habit of rebooting and freezing led me to take note of some of the new low end Android phones that have been hitting the market.
I was about to find a Huawei Ideos which is the new low end Google phone which is reported to be going on sale for less than £100 and while searching came across the reviews for the San Francisco. I was immediately hooked and went and brought one.
The phone is basically a re-badged ZTE Blade running Android 2.1. It has a 3.2mp camera (no flash but with good light does quite well) 3g, wifi connectivity, bluetooth and Android. I can not say how much Android has impressed me and how it has made the phone genuinely useful. I started it up and entered my Google account details and within seconds I had my calendar, contacts and email all on the phone. Orange have hacked the phone slightly to add various applications (such as a push email client) and add their branding.
With the limited time I have had I have added the obligatory Facebook, Myspace and Twitter applications. All the official applications of the related site and all are brilliant, fast and well thought out applications. I have installed the Dropbox client and the Evernote clients and find that I am able to do almost all of what I can achieve with a PC.
Did I mention how impressed I am with Android?
Other stand out items that I have been impressed with are the ability to install a bar-code reader which can then be used to install applications and download images and themes? Seriously, install the bar-code reader application and start it up, point your camera at the screen with the applications bar-code on it and the camera will scan the code and the image or application is downloaded. Seriously user friendly. Then there is the Android Market. This makes searching and installing applications so easy that it takes no thought.
So far I have only found two issues with the phone in the week that I have had it. The first is that Orange have for some reason removed Google Talk. Why? I know not but this seems a little stupid. I found This article detailing how to install the application and with my trusty bar-code application had it downloaded and running in minutes.
The other slightly more annoying issue was that the wifi would drop connections when the phone went to sleep and not reconnect. This appears to be a major bug with the model is well documented over the internet. I found a great wiki on the ZTE Blade which recommended using and application call