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I’ve become Captivated

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January 21, 2012 by falcon7204

Last week I got out from under the iPhone and got a Samsung Captivate. It’s a Galaxy S phone that runs the Android operating system, which is quite a bit different from the iOS system that runs the iPhone.

The main reason I switched was because I was tired of being chained to Apple’s way of doing things. The iPhone wasn’t very customizable. I had a lot of apps that did a lot of things, and it was a useful device for me. But I had to go through a lot of steps to do certain things, and it was a bit of a hassle.

My Android is very customizable. I was able to set up an eight-digit passcode to lock the phone (iOS only offers a 4 digit code), I changed my wallpaper out of the box (it comes stock with animated “live” wallpaper, which is cool but eats up battery power), and was able to download just about every app in Android flavor that I used to have on my iPhone.

The things I like best about it are the multiple home screens (where you can park shortcuts to apps, or widgets, or folders that contain other apps, or even shortcuts to contacts in your address book) and the Swype keyboard that allows you to type much faster than your typical touch-screen keyboard. I’m still getting the hang of it, but it seems pretty accurate and offers suggestions for words that you might not spell properly.

The things I don’t like about it are, ironically enough, the customizability – I’m obviously a little ADHD because I can’t make up my mind how I want my phone to behave and look. And I don’t like the lack of a way to go back to other open apps (“multi-tasking”), although it does offer a list of “recent applications” that is somewhat helpful. I also don’t like that you have to go to the “Task Manager” to shut down currently running apps, instead of holding down the “home” button and calling up a list of apps, then holding the app icon until it wiggles and you click the “minus” sign to close it.

On the flip side of that, when an app closes in Android, for the most part it closes completely. So when you exit back to the home screen there’s little left in memory to slow you down.

I think one of the nicest things about this phone is a slot for a microSD card. You can put up to a 32 gigabyte card into the slot, increasing this phone’s storage capacity to 48 gb. You’d have to pay upwards of $600 for an iPhone with 64 gb of storage capacity.

Another nice thing is that you’re not locked into playing Apple’s proprietary m4v QuickTime format for videos. You can play MP4 or AVI videos, and WAV audio as well as AAC and MP3. You can use MP3 ringtones, and it has the 4″ AMOLED screen that allows you to play HD videos if you want. The camera shoots 720p video and 5 megapixel stills (but no flash) and it has a front-facing camera. So you can make Oovoo or Skype video calls (with the newest version of the operating system, Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”) and not be locked into Apple’s Facetime. (You still should use Wi-Fi for video calls, though, because the quality isn’t very good over 3G and you use a lot of data.)

I’ve only had it for less than a week, and I’m sure I’ll find some issues with it, as well as discover other things I like about it. (For example, my wife says my voice sounds weird coming from my phone to hers.)

I also like the thinness of the phone, but the length and width is a little bigger than the iPhone. And I need to find a case. But overall I think I’m happy with it. If anyone has any tips or tricks they’re willing to share (or if you know where I can get a cheap Otter Box Commuter case 🙂 ) then Tweet or DM me and let me know. I think that’s the best thing about the Android operating system – it’s open, unlike iOS which is arrogantly closed, kind of like Apple itself.

Quickly, the story behind the switch: My daughter’s iPhone was malfunctioning (hardware issues) so she offered to pay for my upgrade to a Captivate if I’d give her my iPhone. We went to the Apple Store first, though, to see if there was a fix they could suggest, but their condescending attitude pretty much turned her off to Apple products completely. And I see her point – Apple assumes its customers are more interested in the flash than in the substance, and their closed environment stifles any innovation other than theirs. Whereas Android is open source, and the community works to improve it, encouraging innovation and growth.

I like that.

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