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It makes calls, too? 

Taking the smartphone plunge

click to enlarge GeekOut0.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the family. Weighing 5.78 ounces, at just over 4.3 inches, is my new HTC Inspire 4G Android phone.

This is a Big Deal for yours truly. For a tech writer, I’m a late adapter of technology. I’ve had the same model phone since 2005. I didn’t Facebook until the end of the Bush administration. I’ve been drooling over other people’s phones since I first got to play with a co-worker’s iPhone in 2007.

The drive home from the AT&T store was a blur. Wife was very understanding while I kept up an outpouring of geekery.

“It’s got Google Goggles* and Skywatcher and GPS … oh my god it’s got GPS directions! I’m going to plug in our address and it can tell us the way home!”

“We’re five miles from the house, and besides, we make this drive every day.”

“But now Google can tell us how to get home.”

“But we know how to get home, we make this drive every day.”

“It says get off the freeway here!”

“See, I knew that, because we make this drive ... .”

“Oooooh! I’m getting a call! It does phone calls, too!”

Like I said, Wife was very understanding.

In the midst of my joy, a sudden thought struck me: I was going to have to tell Mike.

To say Mike is an Apple (cultist) fan is putting it mildly. He’s been the Apple yin to my PC yang for as long as we’ve known each other. He’s got an iPhone 4, iPad, Powerbook, Apple TV, 24-inch quad-core G5. When I told him a few months back that I was finally going to make the plunge into smartphonedom, he saw it as his last-ditch effort to bring me into the fold.

And oh did he try.

“The Android interface is just them trying to rip off the iPhone. The app market is full of shady stuff. You’ll get a virus and your phone will catch on fire and explode.”

Okay so he really didn’t say it would explode. He did warn me about viruses, though.

To my credit, I really did consider all sides.** The guys in my office have the full gamut of smartphones, so I was able to play with the top-end contenders. I got to fiddle with an iPhone 4 and put a Droid X and Thunderbolt through their paces.

After playing phone tag all weekend, I finally got him on the line.

“So what’s the big news?”

“Congratulate me on joining the 21st century, I finally got a smartphone!”

“Right on! Hold on and let’s run FaceTime, you’re going to love this, it’s ... .”

“It’s a Droid,” I whispered.

Dead silence. You’ve never heard such unspoken disgust. It was like telling Fred Phelps his son was gay (if only).


“Yeah, I’m sorry man, but it’s amazing! I love it soooo much. It has Google Goggles!*** And Skywatcher and GPS
and … .”

In the end, my infectious (obnoxious) enthusiasm won him over. Maybe he was mollified by the fact that the Wife is getting an iPhone. I’m sure in his mind it doesn’t come near to redressing the balance, but it’s better than nothing.

And besides, it’s got Google Goggles**** and Skywatcher and GPS and … .


* I’d taken every opportunity in the last 48 hours to utter the phrase “Google Goggles.” This was the 37th.

** And by all sides I mean iPhones and Droids. Windows phones and Blackberries? I may be a grownup but I’m not that much of a grownup.

*** 38th.

**** 39th.

Nicholas Walter would like to thank his understanding wife for sharing him with his new toy this last week. Contact him via Managing Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at


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