First impressions of the G-2

As a very happy user of the G-1 back when it was the only Android phone available, I was keenly looking forward to what HTC and T-Mobile would do for an encore in the G-2. Especially when T-Mobile promised it would run stock Android with no skin and no unremovable crapware. I was seriously planning a first-day upgrade when the G-2 came out, just to get the higher data speeds.

Great was my disappointment when they shipped a crippled phone. T-Mobile kept the promise not to add crapware, but they disabled tethering and hotspot – two absolute must-haves for me. By the time these features were un-disabled in a firmware update, I’d discarded my plans to upgrade. The Nexus One is still a very nice phone and a pleasure to use.

But, quite by accident, I now have a G-2 for evaluation. No, T-Mobile didn’t send me one; I ran into a friend at the Philadelphia Science Fiction convention who’s replaced his G-2 with an Android tablet and wants to sell the former. So he lent it it to me to try for a while; the theory is, if I like it after a couple of weeks, I’ll give him fair market minus 15% for depreciation and we’ll both be happy.

The surprise is that, rather to my own bemusement, I’m leaning towards giving it back.

Oh, it’s chock-full of Android goodness. And the higher-speed browsing on the HSDPA network is nice. But I find that one feature I was really looking forward in the G-2 isn’t such a win after all, and that a misfeature I didn’t think would be a big deal is bothering me more than I expected.

When I was using my G-1, the thing that griped me most about it was the crappy physical keyboard. Still, my biggest issue in moving to the Nexus One was the screen-keyboard-only design. One of the things I was most looking forward to about the G-2 was having a physical keyboard again, and with good fortune a better one.

Now I’ve got it…and I’m barely using it at all. I got used to tapping the screen on the Nexus, and seldom find that I enter enough text to make the delay while I rig out the G-2 keyboard worth incurring.

What that keyboard does do is exacerbate the G-2′s size and weight problem. It’s about an ounce heavier and half-again as thick as the Nexus, and quite to my surprise I find this makes a significant ergonomic difference. The Nexus feels slim, elegant, and is a good fit for my hand; the G-2 feels a bit clunky and oversized and brick-like.

It’s actually an index of progress that I notice these differences. Both phones run stock Android 2.2, so they’re not differentiated much at the software level and the software ergonomics is good enough for anyone not a fully-inducted fanatic of the Apple cult. This means that small differences in the hardware platform matter more.

Jury’s still out on whether I’ll keep the G-2 – I’m leaning against, but more familiarity could change my mind. I’ll post reports here.

55 thoughts on “First impressions of the G-2

  1. Hardware matters a lot — especially in embedded devices like smartphones where size and ergonomics are key. I think that’s why having many different Android models is helpful. Different people have different priorities. Someone who *does* enter a lot of text on their phone will definitely appreciate a hardware keyboard. Someone who does not will find it an unnecessary burden that just adds more weight and size to the phone. That’s why I despise Steve Jobs’ “my way or the highway” attitude regarding the iPhone; it ignores the obvious fact that one size does not fit all.

  2. Having switched several times between phones with and without tactile response keys (fancy phrase for keyboard) I’m still sold on always having the option to use one. I like being able to feel the keys even though I know exactly where they are. I even tried out that confangled BB Storm… whoops.

  3. Hmm I actually like the weight and thickness. For my big clunky uncoordinated hands, it’s a lot easier to handle something with some weight. Handling the lighter phones is like trying to juggle Styrofoam cups. They also feel like cheap plastic. I’ve never handled a Nexus1 but it looks like the iPhone who’s shape is very unergonomic to me. I did like the keyboard (with a dedicated number row) better on the G1 but I’m starting to get used to this one.

    The G1 did seem to be a little more stable to me. I’ve had this one lock up on me a few times requiring me to pull the battery.
    Also after the firmware upgrade that restored tethering and hotspot, a lot of things stopped working (Android Market, the SC card, and some PhoneGap apps I wrote that use the camera). T-Mobile’s phone support walked me through resetting the phone which fixed the market app. I ended up replacing the SD card. A new one works so maybe the timing of the old one dying and the firmware upgrade is just a coincidence.

    All things said, I’m very happy with it and have no intentions of parting with mine.

  4. “the software ergonomics is good enough for anyone not a fully-inducted fanatic of the Apple cult.”

    So you’re saying the software ergonomics are amateurish and clunky compared to the state of the art as seen in iOS?

  5. Does anyone else think Applets (my lame term for Apple fanatics) monitor this site just waiting for the next Android post? I never see most of these people posting to other subjects, so I wonder…

    Could be using different names I guess.

  6. I have a G2, and I quite like it. It’s the first Android phone I’ve had though, so it’s hard for me to compare.

    As for the physical keyboard, I find I use it pretty much only when doing facebook posts or writing emails, otherwise I use the onscreen one. But doing any significant amount of typing on the onscreen one is painful enough that if I didn’t have the keyboard available I’d just not do those things from the phone.

    I haven’t bothered rooting it yet, just am glad to know there’s a root available.

  7. I still have an old dumbphone, with a keyboard. My wife has an Android with a screen-only text interface.

    I tried using hers (to reply to a friend whilst she was changing a diaper), and she had managed to change and dispose of the diaper by the time my fat fingers managed to enter 3 short words. I have similar (but not as bad) problems trying to use the virtual keypad on my iPod touch.

  8. “I never see most of these people posting to other subjects, so I wonder…”

    It could also be that they don’t feel they know enough to contribute in the other posts, or that the other posts don’t actually interest them.

  9. In the vein of Morgan Greywolf, it’s all how it’s done. I bought a Palm Pre on release day to replace a falling-apart Treo 650, and it’s actually easier to open the keyboard than to unlock the screen by swiping. The Pre’s ergonomics were neurotically well-designed, and while I think webOS is likely to live on for at least a while, it saddens me that Palm was so shortsighted to think that keeping the OS closed-licensed would let it be competitive against Android.

  10. I picked up 2 G2′s when they came out, one for me and one for my wife. I was bummed to find the tethering was disabled. I was tempted to return the phones, but the firmware came out and I’ve been happy with them since. My wife was pretty balky about the price of the phones and plan, but she relented after researching Android phones and the available apps. Both of us attempted to use the Swype keyboard and HATED it. As for the size and weight, it feels solid as opposed to the other Androids like the Galaxy and MyTouch 3G Slide.

  11. Well Eric, hit me off list if you decide against. Need to find the wife a XMas present, and she’s a T-Mobile victim from WAY back :^).

    WCC: I’ve noticed the same thing, but I would find it very interesting if they were actually “monitoring” the blog for iOS/Android related posts only. Doesn’t make since that they would waste so darned much time here if they really were single topic folks. I think it’s more likely that they read the posts regularly (maybe offline with an RSS feed??), but they’re only “religious” about Android vs. iPhone stuff and they cannot allow their fruity god to be demeaned by unbelievers without defending their faith (or something like that ;^).

    I’d be equally surprised if “P” were to reply to this (off topic) thread of discussion because I doubt (s)he actually reads comments to any significant degree.

    Another hypothesis: Steve Jobs has a back room full of minions who constantly read blogs from well known tech bloggers and defend the Apple name. Wouldn’t be the first time a company did that, and it certainly isn’t a stretch to think SJ would pull it.

  12. Fan boys monitoring is a common feature of blogs.

    I have seen no popular blog that does not have at least one recident troll. Someone who professes a deep hatred of the subject of the blog and still seems to spend every day of his life reading the blog and comments.

    We can be sure some of them are employed at PR or lobbying firms. However, knowing human nature, I am convinced that there are enough troubled souls that torture themselves proselyticing their believes among the heathen.

    Posted with a Nexus One.

  13. Fanboy is a completely meaningless term that means “someone who disagrees with my entertainment/technology preferences.”

    I’ll give you an example. This is an interesting post about an Android phone. It contains a lot of useful information which would be quite useful to me if I was buying an Android phone right now. I liked reading it, even though I don’t want an Android phone, because I think knowledge is a worthwhile goal in its own right.

    And right in the middle, we have this: “the software ergonomics is good enough for anyone not a fully-inducted fanatic of the Apple cult.”

    Does that add anything to the information density of the post? Absolutely not. Could Eric have made the (informative) point about the software ergonomics without the dig at Apple? Of course he could have. Was he trolling? Hell yes, he was trolling. It’s a gratuitous dig at Apple that serves no purpose other than to build a sense of tribal unity among Android fans and piss off Apple fans. It’s the same thing Apple blogs do when they’re slamming Android. It’s human nature.

    The only thing more common than fan boys in comments is fan boys making posts.

  14. >Was he trolling? Hell yes, he was trolling.

    No, I wasn’t trolling. I was expressing genuine disgust with a cult-like attitude I’ve encountered far too often.

  15. At least you’re not on a Droid 1; clunkier and more fragile than it should have been AND a physical keyboard with keys that don’t differentiate. Good job boys. Well done.

    Ah well. Electronics never standing still and all that. I’m looking forward to all the new stuff that has, and will, come out before the next contract renewal date.

  16. No, I wasn’t trolling. I was expressing genuine disgust with a cult-like attitude I’ve encountered far too often.

    Of course you were trolling. You just have to understand that “trolling” now means “saying something I really don’t like”.

  17. Another hypothesis: Steve Jobs has a back room full of minions who constantly read blogs from well known tech bloggers and defend the Apple name. Wouldn’t be the first time a company did that, and it certainly isn’t a stretch to think SJ would pull it.

    Wrong Steve.

    Ballmer almost certainly has such a back room full of minions; Jobs has volunteers who will do it for free from their iPhones on the bus into work. :)

  18. @Bryant:

    Fanboy is a completely meaningless term that means “someone who disagrees with my entertainment/technology preferences.

    No. In this contextg, a fanboy is someone who exudes bias about their particular choice of foo, even to the point of needing to aggressively “defend” foo against negative criticism, even if the negative criticism is warranted. They will also extoll the virtues of foo at every single opportunity, even if that opportunity is questionably off-topic. Values of foo could be a particular product, or a particular piece of software, a particular methodology, or a particular company. The term implies a certain social insecurity.

    It is possible to make particular choices and yet not be a fanboy.

    @Jeff Read:

    ; Jobs has volunteers who will do it for free from their iPhones on the bus into work. :)

    So “volunteering” includes a devotional ritual involving genuflecting before an image of the Dark Turtlenecked One while burning effigies of penguins of four-colored flags, set to appropriate devotional music purchased from iTunes?

  19. There is a good definition of troll. Personally, I would take erics word for it.

    From the jargon file:

    troll 1. v.,n. [From the Usenet groupalt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase “trolling for newbies” which in turn comes from mainstream “trolling”, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT.

  20. There is a good definition of troll.

    Woosh!

    There is also a good definition of “racist”, but its modern meaning is “disagreeing with a leftist”.

  21. I like my IPhone 4, for the most part.

    But, how do you build a product like this and not put a battery door on it? How? Apple wants to charge $179 for a battery change, and to be without your phone for a week or so while it is in transit.

    How hard could it be to put a door on it where you could pop the battery in and out quick, no problem?
    Steve wants me to buy another phone? Screw that. I want to keep using my phone longer than the life of one battery.

    Also, I find ITunes kind of screwy. To me it’s hard to use and acts strange sometimes.

  22. Hope this isn’t too far OT, but has anyone else noted a lot of anti-Android/Google articles lately? Saying Google has been pwned by the carriers, Google is giving up, etc.

    I prefer Eric’s version of how this will play out, but I’m starting to worry.

  23. >I prefer Eric’s version of how this will play out, but I’m starting to worry.

    I’m less worried than I was 60 days ago. The fact that T-Mobile felt enough pushback that they uncriippled the G-2 is very encouraging.

  24. I switched from a Blackberry to the Samsung Galaxy S about 4 months ago. The answer to the on-screen input issue (losing the keyboard) for me is Swype. I send about 25 emails and 30-50 SMS per day from my mobile device and within a week or 2 had completely adapted to the new on-screen input. I also like the Galaxy S because Samsung posts all the source and it is very very hackable…having said that, if I were in the market for a new phone today I would most likely hold out another 30-60 days for the Nexus S. I won’t buy a Motorola due to some recent statements and action such as the encrypted bootloader and their comments about “if you want to modify your phone buy an HTC” I refuse to own a device in which I have to actively fight the manufacturer to use it the way I want to. Samsung so far has a poor track record for providing software updates for their Android devices but that is fine with me because I will pretty much always be running a custom rom anyway so I don’t really need or want any help from them. As long as they don’t lock me out of the hardware and just leave me alone I will be happy. The hummingbird SOC and memory is more than ample to run everything that I throw at it.

  25. Note it’s not just the Apple fanbois who are unimpressed with the UI on Android, even 2.2. I’m a webOS user (original Pre) and going to an Android feels like pulling teeth.

    The iPhone’s better for general UI than Android but you’re still stuck with a software keyboard and Apple’s poor hardware design choices (the damned thing may be thin, but it’s far too large in the other two dimensions, a common problem with most Smartphones).

    Of course if you want truly bad, spend a little time with Windows Phone 7. It wakes Android look slick and responsive. I can’t believe anybody at MS though WP7 was anywhere close to being ready to ship. It should sell plenty of Android phones though.

  26. I’m a regular reader and occasional commenter who has defended Apple here. Not because I think they’re perfect, but because I approve of their overall design philosophy (though not always of their final designs). And no, nobody pays me. (I wish.)

    Apple puts a premium on user experience, and like all design approaches, that involves tradeoffs. Just as esr wants perfect openness and maximum features and is willing to accept “good enough” ergonomics, Apple wants top-quality ergonomics and industrial design and is willing to skip some features and accept “good enough” openness. The dynamic tension between Apple and Android will continue to force both to adapt and improve. (Look at the very first Android phones, then the iPhone, then current Android phones to see an example of this.)

    Darrencardinal, the removable battery is another tradeoff. Building it in makes the phone smaller and lighter, and by the time the battery is wearing out, you’ll probably want a new phone, anyway.

  27. User Interface preferences seem to be, eh, User Specific?

    But besides the UI, there are reasons enough left to despise Apple and their products. And, it seems, enough to love them. Can we ever agree on taste?

    @The Monster:
    I am not aware of anyone using that definition. There is little ambiguity in that where I live. Neither in the other continents where I know of, whether they speak English or not. Is that a thing in your village?

  28. I just found this, What Android Is through HackerNews, it is the clearest description I have found yet of just what the Android kernel or system or whatever you want to call it consists of. In fact, it is the first decent description I have seen.

  29. >But, how do you build a product like this and not put a battery door on it? How?
    >Apple wants to charge $179 for a battery change, and to be without your phone for a week or so while it is in transit.

    If you want to know why Apple fans tend to be defensive, you need to look no further than this post. Fans of any product are always defensive about their choices, but Apple fans in particular, especially long time fans find themselves defending their product and choices against outright lies such as the one above. And this is nothing new to fans of Apple. It’s one thing to discuss actual flaws and real issues, and if most people were honest, they would find that Apple’s fans can be some of their worst critics as well. The problem is, so many times, the criticisms are lies and distortions. The urge an Apple fan has to speak out against lies is the same urge that an OSS fan has to speak up when someone say “Open source means the hackers will be able to see everything you do and break your security easier” or any other number of lies and distortions used by OSS opponents.

    For the record, the battery swap through Apple is only $79, and this only if you’re out of warranty, and only requires you being without your phone for a week if you can not get to an Apple store and must send it to Apple and even then honestly only if the gods are against you since the shipping is overnight each way. Further, since you’re only charged if you’re out of warranty in the first place, nothing prevents you from using any of the hundreds of third party places that will do it cheaper, or simply doing it yourself.

  30. @tmoney, if the battery swap deal is what it used to be on ipods, it’s not a battery swap at all. It’s a ‘pay $79 and turn in your device you’ve been taking very good care of to be swapped for a refurb’d device of unknown care and provenance, that happens to have a new battery’. And then someone else will get your device you took care of in a later swap. At least that was the deal offered to me on my 4th gen ipod.

  31. the battery swap through Apple is only $79

    ONLY? How about just putting a connector on the battery pack so I can change out the battery? Then competition can get battery suppliers outbidding each other to get the price down.

    The Bride of Monster recently got a rechargable battery-powered device to amplify her voice, which is often weak due to her myesthenia gravis and asthma. It has a standard microphone jack, and the rechargeable batteries are standard AA size NiMH, so that we do not have to buy expensive mics and batteries from the manufacturer. That’s how we roll.

    Obviously, AA form factor is a non-starter here, but given the numbers, if Apple established a battery for the iPhone and the iPod that’s basically the same size, it would become a standard that many vendors would supply to the market. Our cell phone batteries are user-replaceable, and available from multiple vendors as well.

  32. @skip, I believe that is still the case, however the refurbs are honestly in my experience just as good as any new phone (for that matter they are indeed, from time to time depending on supplies, new phones). Apple’s refurbs go through quality testing just like any other Apple product. But as I pointed out, since the charge only applies if you are out of warranty, you do indeed have other options if having your specific device is of utmost importance to you.

    @ The Monster, yes “ONLY” as compared to the lie that it is $179. I did not speak to whether $80 for a first party replacement is a good or bad deal, merely to how the actual price compared to the lie. Further, as I mentioned before, nothing prevents you from changing the battery yourself if you are facing such a charge. In fact, despite your implication that suppliers are not competing in the iPhone battery replacement market, a quick search of the All Knowing Google shows that iPhone batteries can be had for as little as $6.69. Admittedly this is still more than the cheapest blackberry battery I could find at $3.33 but hardly a dearth of competitively priced batteries.

    Further, if you decide that your technical skills as a mere human are not sufficient to replace your own iPhone battery, there are numerous options available to you that allow you to have someone else replace it for you. These range from a $25 installation with customer supplied battery to $50 for pre-paid both way priority shipping and a battery included installation, and every imaginable combination in between.

  33. I love the UI on iOS. But I would never in a million years own an apple product. Like I mentioned in my above post I won’t buy a handset (or computer or laptop or tablet for that matter) that I have to fight the manufacturer to modify. Those laptop companies that are putting BIOS on their x86 hardware that try to make dual boot impossible, won’t buy one of those either. I believe in owning my hardware AND software not just leasing the right to use it from the mothership.

  34. hey tmoney:

    I wasn’t “lying”, I was under the mistaken impression that it was $179.

    And I like Apple products, I own one don’t I?

    And that is still weak compared to being able to change it yourself, without needing tools and taking the damn thing apart.

    I could easily change the battery on my shitty Nokia I used to have. I think this is a feature that people want.

    And if Apple fans are so defensive because it’s because they think everything is an anti-Apple conspiracy, which is not the case. I like Apple products, but not being able to easily swap the battery annoys me.

  35. @tmoney, you say, “Apple’s refurbs go through quality testing just like any other Apple product.” In my experience that’s not particularly reassuring. The first ipod I owned (a 2g) died less than 30 days after I purchased it – they swapped it out with a working one with only minimal grumbling at the Apple store. That particular unit started to fail two months out of warranty – it seemed that the mini hard drive in it failed to spin up occasionally (you could hear the drive when it happened). That’s where I became familiar with the battery replacement program – the apple tech suggested that I complain about battery life (and indeed it was down to about 4 hours from the 8 hours or so it was when I got it) and they’d give me a ‘new’ one for $80. And I didn’t take them up on it, but a related deal where I got some amount off of an upgrade for turning it in. And what are the odds that the intermittent problem, that made the unit hang, crash, or otherwise misbehave about once every 12-15 hours of playing was actually caught by their testing? I bet it wasn’t, and someone else got that one as a battery swap.

    I bought a 4th gen color video ipod as an upgrade, I needed more space anyways. And you know what? That one had to be replaced under warranty in the first 30 days. It’s replacement still works, though, and I’d still be using it if I hadn’t bought a touch so I could experiment with iOS programming some. And the touch has made it a couple of years. So in the 5 ipods I’ve owned, 2 lasted less than a month, one lasted about 25 months. One is about 5 years and going strong, and the touch is about 2 years and still going strong. That’s about 50/50 for reasonable lifespan for a multi-hundred-dollar consumer device.

    Anecdotal, yes, but that’s why my view of apple’s quality testing is not very high.

  36. @tmoney: The difference with batteries from other phone makers is that replacing the battery does not entail disassembly of the phone. There is a battery compartment where the battery simply plugs in to a (more or less) standard connector. On many phones, the battery compartment can be opened without even a screwdriver. Furthermore, if you decide that your technical skills are still insufficient, and you bought your phone from Sprint, you can usually get a Sprint store to replace the battery for you for free if you buy the battery from them at their admittedly jacked prices. OTOH, what I mean by a “jacked” is far from $79 — the standard battery for the HTC EVO 4G is $44 from Sprint or a Sprint Store.

    Bottom line: As usual, Apple hardware is always more expensive without being any better than the competition. Apple hardware will nickel and dime you to death and yet millions of customers still put up with it simply because it is fashionable to do so. It’s like shopping at Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

  37. The Galaxy S seems to be the hacker choice in this end of the world. We got started with one until it had an unfortunate encounter with the Pacific Ocean. Laura was not comfortable with the virtual keyboard, while I fairly easily adatped to it. She is a touch typist while I’m a fast hunt&peck.. In the few days we had the device, neither of us got used to Swype or other word completion stuff. This may be a habituation thing, a matter of bad design or a problem due to us using Swedish half of the time and English most of the rest of the time.

    My own current phone is actually an interesting thing. I have a Sony Ericsson P1, which can be labeled as the last generation before the real smartphones. Physically it is a really wonderful device. It has a physical keyboard which puts 2 actions (left end press and right end press) on each key. Works really well, and I can type almost at full speed on it. Software wise it is a pure disaster. It runs an early version of Windows Mobile, which sucks in so many ways. It is no wonder that Sony Ericsson lost so much of their market share, or that Apple could break into the market with fairly little effort.

    Sony Ericsson should probably have opened up the platform of the P1, so that people could hack together their own system for it. If they had, the device could still have a market, because it has decent uptime, small footprint and a superior keyboard.

  38. Darren asked: But, how do you build a product like this and not put a battery door on it? How? Apple wants to charge $179 for a battery change, and to be without your phone for a week or so while it is in transit.

    How hard could it be to put a door on it where you could pop the battery in and out quick, no problem?

    Pretty easily, and pretty easy.

    It’s easy to not put in a battery door because it turns out that most people don’t actually care much about battery replacement. And while it’s easy TO put one it, it has drawbacks.

    Are you such a hardcore road-warrior that you kill the battery without chance to charge (and you also can’t cope with an external battery, BUT somehow don’t mind the reboot required to switch batteries)? Maybe you are, and I won’t question your *desire* for such a thing.

    But a fraction of the iPhone market that rounds to 100% are not you (in the broad sense of “sharing your desire for this feature”, naturally).

    (Unscientific sample: nobody I know with a phone with a replaceable battery replaces it. They all complain about battery life if away from chargers, but none of them think that carrying around a spare that you have to charge somehow outside of the phone is an acceptable solution.)

    Those people (myself included) have long experience with battery doors. Battery doors fail, for one (cf. original Droids; my co-worker’s phone has or had electrical tape holding the door shut, though I think Verizon eventually fixed that).

    Battery doors and cases around the battery to make them user replaceable also add weight and size, which matters when you’re trying to make a smartphone that’s .4″ thick.

    People also, as esr indirectly notes, tend to replace phones fairly often – well within the lifespan of a modern battery, in fact.

    So, that’s “how” they can do it – it satisfies far more customer desires than it frustrates. Every design decision is necessarily a compromise, and thus will disappoint someone. It is not remotely obvious that Apple made the wrong compromise there, however.

  39. @ Darren, you did lie. Whether intentionally or not, you presented a false statement as fact. There were not qualifiers that said statement was hearsay or that it was merely something you had heard. And in a society where correct information is available as quickly as typing “iPhone battery” into google, there is no excuse for perpetuating false information. Further, if you truly did believe that the battery replacement costs $179, then that only strengthens my argument even further by demonstrating that the lies are so pervasive, even Apple’s own customers believe them.

    @ Skip, by comparison, I have a 2G ipod that works perfectly, save for its battery being long since drained, I have a 1st Gen Shuffle which works perfectly despite its harsh owner, same with the 4th gen (5th gen?) nano. Further I have a refurb iMac going on its 4th year of service with no issues, previously an 8 year old powerbook who’s demise was not failure but an improper application of Canis lupus familiaris traveling at high velocities and a computational acceleration of 9.8 m/s^2 … twice. As you are well aware there is a reason we do not call anecdotes data. If its any consolation, you intermittent iPod that you traded in did not get refurbished and given to someone else, that program has the iPods destroyed and broken down for recycling purposes.

    @Morgan, and my Chevy is easier to service than my Toyota, doesn’t change the fact that both are serviceable, or that the Toyota is, for all of its lack of ease, a superior car. You are also arguing a point I did not make. My point was not that the first party swap program is a good deal, it was that the program was not nearly in the league as presented and that the perpetration of such lies is why you often find Apple fans defending the company.

    Bottom line: You’re arguing against a claim I didn’t make to make a point that’s not being discussed.

  40. > (Unscientific sample: nobody I know with a phone with a replaceable battery replaces it. They all complain about battery life if away from chargers, but none of them think that carrying around a spare that you have to charge somehow outside of the phone is an acceptable solution.)

    I carry around a spare sometimes.

    > … So, that’s “how” they can do it – it satisfies far more customer desires than it frustrates. Every design decision is necessarily a compromise, and thus will disappoint someone. It is not remotely obvious that Apple made the wrong compromise there, however.

    All these statements you made are true. But in every other case I’m aware of every time the decision was made, the designer chose a replaceable battery. I’m sure there are other cases. Still, this sounds more like Jobs being a contrarian in the exact same way he was with early Macintosh hardware. Eventually the market corrected him on that one, so now we have both Macs that are easy for users to make normal hardware changes and Macs which are more like the Jobs way (the iMac). Someday I expect there to be multiple models of the iPhone when the market has corrected Mr. One-Right-Way Jobs again. And when that happens, fewer people will complain about having their personal preferences ignored by the iPhone design.

    And yes, I know Mr. One-Right-Way Jobs is a marketing genius. That is the only way that One-Right-Way people can become as rich as he is. This does not mean that the market rewards One-Right-Way thinking. It means the market rewards marketing genius. I like Steve Jobs, mostly, and his products, mostly. I just never spend money on any because I am cheap and he never markets to me. I am a fairly enthusiatic comsumer of free Jobs products, particularly his marvelous speeches.

    Yours,
    Tom

  41. tmoney,

    Your logic is impeccable, but I have a bone to pick with you. This comment was written in a calm tone of voice. Please read it thus, in case my word choice fails to reflect this.

    > Darren, you did lie.

    No he did not. He told you that he remembered something incorrectly. It is a false charge to use the word ‘lie’ as you have done. Please stop doing that. Your ethical mistake was the greater than his simple mistake.

    > Further, if you truly did believe that the battery replacement costs $179, then that only strengthens my argument even further by demonstrating that the lies are so pervasive, even Apple’s own customers believe them.

    This shows that your conscious was nagging you a little. Please listen next time.

    Yours,
    Tom

  42. tmoney.

    No I did not lie. Lying would mean that I knew it was 79 instead of 179, and intentionally spreading FUD around. That is not the case, as you well know. I don’t feel like doing a fucking Google search every five seconds. The stakes are not that high here.

    Don’t be such a douche. People like you ruin Apple for the rest of us.

  43. @ Tom and Darren, I hate to be that asshole that uses the dictionary and pedantry to make his point, but one of the definitions of a lie is merely an inaccurate or false statement, and as a verb to express falsehood or to express a lie. Admittedly the word has negative connotations and usually is attached to a statement expressing deliberate deception, but it is not always. However if it pleases the court, substitute lie with “inaccuracy” or falsehood”; in either case, the underlying point remains the same. Clearly I have offended and taken away from the point I was trying to make, mea culpa.

  44. tmoney, you might want to be more careful in the future. The word ‘lie” carries very negative loadings, as it should, probably enhanced in the common discourse these days by the “Bush lied, people died” falsehood. Especially among the frequenters of this blog, the precise sense of words matters.

  45. Great post. My understanding is that the HTC Desire Z is sold and marketed in the USA as the T-Mobile G-2. The HTC Desire HD is the keyboardless version of this smartphone series which supports tethering and hotspot:

    http://www.htc.com/hk-en/faqs.aspx?p_id=324&cat=264&id=149602

    http://www.htc.com/hk-en/faqs.aspx?p_id=324&cat=264&id=149604

    Don’t know what HTC’s Desire HD USA release plans are, but it is sold unlocked in Europe and through selected service providers in Asia.

  46. one of the definitions of a lie is merely an inaccurate or false statement,

    That definition is not the primary definition of the word in the dictionaries I’ve checked out. Given that there are multiple definitions of the word, one of which explicitly impugns the character of your correspondent, you really can’t be surprised when people react as if you’re using that sense of it.

    Like Tom, my own father trained me in the meaning of the word “lie”. He communicated quite clearly that calling someone a “liar” or something they said a “lie” is one of the worst things you can say about a fellow human. Perhaps that’s because of his religious training (“thou shalt not bear false witness”), or how he valued his reputation as an honest businessman. You could call Dad a lot of things and he’d take it, but if you accused him of dishonesty, you were in for a fight.

    I consider honesty in one’s dealings with fellow humans to be foundational to a free and productive society. I do not ever use the word “lie” to indicate something that the speaker honestly believes to be true for this very reason. I will say “what you said is inaccurate,” “that isn’t true,” or “I believe you’re mistaken,” but will not call it a “lie” unless it’s clear that they know better.

    In illustrating this distinction, I have even gone so far as to point out that it is entirely possible for a statement to be a lie and the truth at the same time (if he believes it to be false but asserts it as fact).

  47. I’ve been reading Ben Franklin’s autobiography free on Kindle which was free on my Android phone. The phone wasn’t free. Franklin would avoid calling someone a liar because it isn’t persuasive. He even avoided dogmatic and strong phrasings of his statements because it invites argument rather than agreement.

    I think I know why I can’t remember ever seeing anyone persuaded on the web. Too few people follow Franklin’s example. So often people just flame on.

    Yours,
    Tom

  48. Ben’s policy sounds like what Jon Stewart alluded to when Rachael Maddow interviewed him a while back. He said that calling TEA Party people “teabaggers” or “racist” was not a “conversation-starter” but a “conversation-ender”. I find plenty of things to disagree with him on, but in this case, he nailed it. Language like that (or “lie!”, when the alleged liar actually is simply mistaken) says: “I’m not trying to persuade you; I want you to shut up, and if you won’t shut up, at least I don’t want anyone to listen to you.”

  49. As I said before, the word choice could have been better so feel free to substitute another word, but the underlying point remains the same. I have already apologized for offending, I can do naught else.

    As to the side discussion RE truth and honesty, my upbringing included the belief that you did not speak as true that which you do not know to be true. It is not simply enough to believe it to be true. You do this for many reasons. Obviously to avoid such scuff ups as we have here, where you express something as true that turns out to be false and are accused of lying. But further, you don’t because factual assertions you make are made on the weight of your reputation, your honor and your authority. If someone speaks many falsehoods as fact, but honestly believes them to be true, they will still lose respect and trust, even without the intent to deceive or maliciousness. The businessman who honestly believes and repeats falsehoods will still have his honesty questioned.

    So perhaps the two lessons to take away are:

    Choose your words carefully, for the culture of your audience may lend connotations to your words that you did not intend.

    Speak carefully about what you know, what you believe and what is rumor, for the truth or lack thereof may cause considerable damage to your reputation based on the culture of your audience.

  50. Speak carefully about what you know, what you believe and what is rumor,

    On this, I agree 100%. At work, I am often called upon to figure out why something isn’t working right, which others have not been able to determine. It’s incredible how often I find that they have failed to distinguish between what someone knows from direct observation and the conclusions formed from those observations.

    In the course of exploring these distinctions, I’ve had people react very negatively when I ask them to make the distinction “Alice told me that Bob said X” vs. “I saw H, I, and J, and concluded X”, rather than simply announcing “X” as an established fact. In one particular case, I don’t think it was the thought I was questioning the person’s honesty but rather the authority to speak ex cathedra. That opinion happens to be correct. Appeal to Authority is one of the first logical fallacies against which I rebelled.

    True story on that. Between my 6th and 7th grades, my family moved from the neighborhood in which many of the children of Kansas State University professors were my classmates, to Chase County (which literally has more cattle than people). It was my 7th grade science teacher’s first day teaching after getting her license, and she started with an enumeration of the various branches of science. She got to “Botany, the study of life,” whereupon I raised my hand. She asked me why I’d raised my hand, and I said “I believe you meant to say ‘Biology, the study of life’, which is further divided into Botany, the study of plant life, and Zoology, the study of animal life.” She insisted that she had not misspoken, at which point I gestured toward a bookshelf and said I’d be happy to get out the dictionary and look up “Botany” and “Biology” for her. She told me to do it, and I showed her that she had indeed mistaken. She had me pegged as a troublemaker, I’m sure, but eventually she figured out that I was just a smart kid (who had an older brother that had just graduated from KSU with a degree in physics, from whom he had learned a lot). The real troublemaker was the Angry Black Kid From Da Hood in Chicago, whose own parents were so effed up that he was living with his aunt and uncle out in cattle country.

    I think I know one of the reasons I love HPatMoR so much.

  51. > I have already apologized for offending, I can do naught else.

    Accepted from me, anyway, particularly since you have said such wise things since then.

    > Speak carefully about what you know, what you believe and what is rumor, for the truth or lack thereof may cause considerable damage to your reputation based on the culture of your audience.

    This is actually another takaway from Ben Franklin, as well. He also advised against dogmatic speech because it makes it easier to handle being wrong. Accurately reflecting your own (un)certainty can greatly enhance your credibility.

    Yours,
    Tom

  52. I feel like the move from N1 to G2 was an upgrade. Between my wife and I we’ve had the G1, MyTouch, Droid, N1 and G2… no, I didn’t have to pay for them all.

    The Droid’s keyboard sucked hairy moose rocks through an eyedropper and I didn’t really get proficient at typing on the N1 until I installed SwiftKey. On the G2 I still use the on-screen keyboard with SwiftKey for short entries, the wife prefers Swype. We both readily snap out the hardware keyboard for anything bigger than half a tweet…

    As to the bulk, we both seem to like larger phones. Playing with Samsung’s rather svelte devices makes me think of MIB… “Feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing.”

    Three cheers for choice.

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