Having been a long-time Symbian user (E70, E90, N97 - spot the QWERTY keyboard theme), I had a heavy investment in Symbian and apps that I was used to and had paid for.
However, I was also a heavy Google user (with a Google Apps account, and a significant investment in Gmail, Google Reader and Google Calendar, with a sprinkling of Picassa, Google docs, and a bit of Google Blogger thrown in for good measure), so it seemed reasonable that an Android phone would suit me well. In fact, when I got my N97, the G1 was available ... but at the time, Android and the marketplace just didn't have the tools I needed on my phone for day-to-day use. As well as getting used for the occasional phone call and text message, my smartphone also needed to be my podcatcher and player, occasional music player, camera, notepad, reference library for snippets of useful information, eBook reader, and a whole bunch of other things that Android and the G1 just couldn't do at the time.
A year on, things have changed ... a lot. I've really been holding out for a full Google Experience phone (i.e. one that will get updates directly from Google) with a QWERTY keyboard. And besides, I still have another year of a Vodafone contract left to run. However, with no sign of said mythical device on the horizon, and following a Twitter tip-off from Steve Litchfield, I decided the time had come to jump ship and try Android anyway. I bought a Motorola DEXT - a QWERTY slider Android phone available at a sensible price on an Orange PAYG contract. Within a day I had unlocked it for use with my Vodafone SIM card. It took me a little longer to find out how to configure it to use Vodafone's data network, but since then it's been working a treat.
Calendar was always going to be easy. I'd been using the paid version of GooSync for years to keep a dozen or more Google Calendars in sync with my phone (and HandyCalendar on the phone itself). Swim has finally come to 5th edition, so it was all automated. So, nothing at all to do here except tell my Android phone my email address and which calendars I wanted to sync (which was basically all of them).
Contacts would be more tricky. Although I'd previously been able to keep my E90 in sync, based on Steve and Tim's experiences with syncing between Symbian and Google contacts (as discussed in the Phones Show Chat) - and some of my own too, I'd given up on attempting to keep my N97 and Google contacts in sync at all. So, I took a brute force approach, and used PC Suite to hook up the phone to the PC. From there I exported all my phone's contacts, tweaked the columns to match Google contacts requirements, and imported to Google. Then I used Google's duplicate detection and merging to tidy up. The only issue that left me with was a bunch of contacts (visible on the phone, but not in Gmail contacts) that are shown as numbers, rather than names. (They're contacts for businesses that only have a business name, not a person's, which have no doubt been lurking undetected on a succession of phones for some years. Of course, as I presumably never missed them, I could probably just delete them and have done with it, but I can't help feeling I want to do a quick bit of spreadsheet wizardry sometime to make use of them.)
Podcasting was my next target. Listen wouldn't work at the time (although it's been fixed now) because my main email address is for a Google Apps account, and Listen uses a vanilla Gmail account to access Google Reader and there was a bug affecting users in that situation. I kept it installed, waiting for a fix, but went looking for something else in the meantime. Having tried a few alternative podcatchers and players, I eventually settled on ACast as my podcatcher for the time-being. It has an OPML importer, so I just needed to export from the Symbian Podcasting app and import into ACast. It also has hooks into Google Reader, so could act as a stepping stone to get my feeds into Listen too.
The major sticking point was a replacement for HandySafe Pro. There were plenty of apps in the MarketPlace that would store encrypted passwords, but none that would import HandySafe Pro's only output format of XML, and only a few that would sync with some sort of Desktop version. More on that in a separate post.
Data was easy. I just needed a bigger MicroSD card. I copied the data from the N97's mass storage and from my older (smaller) MicroSD card to the new card, removed the Symbian system folders, and put the card in the DEXT. Job done.
Next came the ongoing fun of finding Apps I want to install on Android.
Please note that in general I do not accept friend requests from people I do not know in the real world. It's nothing personal!
I've been a bit of a geek for as long as I can remember. I love gadgets - I just wish I had the income to support my habit!
I have a BSc in Computing (more years ago than I care to contemplate), and worked in software support for Hewlett Packard for 9 years after I graduated. I had recurring back problems, and left HP to join Back in Action, having been impressed by the service they provided to me as a customer. 13 years later, in January 2006, I repeated the pattern of happy-customer-turned-employee when I joined The Veterinary Centre in Henley, having become a bit of a fixture during the last year of my dog Jazz's life while he was being treated there for canine lymphoma. I am now Office Manager there, looking after day-to-day admin and the computer systems. In addition to this I have had a part time job since June 2012, helping to support BeyondPod for Android.
My first PDA was a Psion 5, followed by a Psion 5mx - possibly the most advanced handheld gadgets of their time, and with a QWERTY keyboard that in my view has still never been beaten on a pocketable device. I could actually touch type on it. I ran my life on that thing, with no thought of synchronising with anything else - nor any desire to.
I'll post here sporadically (and definitely not regularly) about things that interest me enough in to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard).
Current smartphone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact I also have a Hudl2 and Sony Z-Ultra in regular use, and a variety of other Android devices (most notably an original Moto G and original Nexus 7) which occasionally get used for testing.
How to say thanks
If you've found any of my posts useful (or even just entertaining), there are a number of ways you can say "thank you" in practical terms. Some of them even benefit you too.
GiffGaff offer PAYG SIM cards which can also be used as if they were contract SIMs ... but without being tied in for the long term. Call rates are generally pretty good as a PAYG, and for £12 per month you can get genuinely unlimited data, plus bundled minutes and unlimited text messages. If you need more minutes, you can go up to £25 per month. Oh, and if you're using it as PAYG, you can set up automatic top-ups from your credit card when you get below £3 credit, but with limits on the number of top-ups per month to make sure it's not possible to rack up huge bills without knowing about it. If you use my link, I get a £5 credit, and so do you.
Those of you who follow Kev Wright or listen to Tech Talk UK will already know about Quidco. It's a site where you can earn cashback on purchases. If prices are otherwise the same for an item that you're planning to buy, you might just as well earn cashback on it too. There's no charge to join, but the first £5 you earn each year is retained by Quidco. So, if you don't use it, it doesn't cost you anything. And if you register your credit cards, some stores give cashback when you use that card for in-store purchases too. Oh, and there are Android and iPhone apps that will earn you a few pence just for checking into some stores. I'm afraid using my link doesn't gain you anything, but it does earn me £2.50.
Dropbox is a cloud synching service that has PC applications to automatically sync files in your Dropbox folder to the cloud and all of your other PCs with the software installed. In addition to that, there are mobile apps which allow you to download and upload files from and to your online storage, and folders may be shared with other dropbox users or made public. In February 2012, Dropbox released a version of Dropbox for Android that does automatic uploading of photos to your Dropbox too. You get 2GB free (or can pay for more), plus we both get an extra 250MB if you use my link to sign up.