For a good while now, I’ve been looking at whether I should be making a move to using Android as a primary platform for my mobile activities. Ok, I’ve dismissed Android. I’ve got a legitimate issue with it being a phone-based platform for me. And that’s why its my tablet platform. And it works quiet well there, even in my branched, Amazon-flavored version. Still, I don’t know if that’s the right place for Android, for me.
I take Saturday away from much of the stress of the week. Its a rest day for me. And because it is, lots of thoughts that I put away during the week come back. What I’m doing with mobile is one of those thoughts. All kinds of thoughts about mobile too: smartwatches and wearable computing; thoughts on the N950 and projects with it; imaging and creativity; and several other thoughts. Lately, its been this idea of embedding computing more into my lifestyle, where the hardware and software can more or less disappear, yet on the moment that I need it, its ready.
For the most part, my Nokia N8 with Symbian has done that. My iPad also did it, some. The Kindle Fire HD kind of does it. And here’s the common theme, there are too many devices. I’d like to have at most two devices. One device that doesn’t need to be managed, and is a stimulant or responder to the other device. And a second device that is the main deal – can be tablet, communicator, presenter, server, and free to connect to anything. Of modern platforms, MeeGo was actually good here, but its dead. Android is what’s left. And well, I’m not convinced that I want it so prominent.
Much of the commentary about Android (mobile devices) comes from how much folks have been able to hack and tweak it. Similar to the Windows Mobile communities of old who used to yap about the control they had because of the registry, Android folks love the idea that parts of the system can and should be readily swapped out, even down to taking off the entire OS and putting on another one.
I didn’t like Windows Mobile in that respect. It was too loose and fast, and that left all kinds of holes that “faster, fatter” hardware was thrown towards. The same thing is the case with Android. It basically gets faster and more specs thrown at it, but what’s leveraged isn’t really much of anything. If I were to do Android on a primary-mobile-platform basis, then I think positioning it differently needs to happen.
I see Android better as an embedded platform that should extend as needed. For example, one of my main “wants” is the MotoActv smartwatch. One of the bicycle mechanics that I know talked to me about how he rooted his MotoActv and is happy that he could run several more apps and such on there. That’s good, but I want to push further. I’d do something like put AirDroid on there, and possibly some kind of app that would allow me to connect my Nokia Bluetooth headphones (which have a mic in them) and use that setup to make the watch a VoIP phone – the MotoActv has WiFi.
I’d not see Android so much if that were the case. Of course, I’d also not just have AirDroid, but I’d probably roll with something like Tasker to further automate activities, kick off actions, and somehow make it work with the level of content that I seem to produce.
Android as an embeded platform for mobile-infused activity? Yes. To that end, I think it could work. And I’d probably give up my Kindle Fire HD to make that happen (at least that’s what I just tweeted). At the same time I’m thinking about this, I’m also throughly enjoying the flexibility and freedom that having the MeeGo Harrmattan-powered Nokia N950 has given. Between the way it plugs into services, its own flexibility in hardware (slide-tilt QWERTY), and how it really feels like a grown-up mobile/PC, I wish there were something more that could be done with it.
Android repositioned like that works. And if it didn’t work, I’d have to consider the thing I don’t want to: get a Galaxy Note/Note 2 and let the smartwatch serve that platform. That would be a case of me getting the repositioning. Not exactly the kind of mobile lifestyle that I want to ever subscribe to, but potentially the kind that many of us have no choice but to accept because open platforms don’t push that kind of integrated, lifestyle computing that’s easily adopted by all.