Google Up Yourself
Why Having Android Makes Me Cooler Than You

I don't know about you, but I live in a world where few things work properly.

I'm missing enormous quantities of socks, I can't open the child-proof cap on the mouthwash, and computers, in the words of Bill Maher, continue to be "huge fuck-up machines."

How then does Google always seem to make my life better, happier, and sexier with every nerdy masterstroke?

Here's how I see it:

Since the dawn of time, there has only been one fundamental business model:

We'll make stuff, and you can pay us to get it.

Then, around 2002, Google said, and I'm quoting loosely here, "Funk that noise. We'll make stuff that is far superior to anything you've ever bought, and we'll give it to you for free. And we'll make gajillions doing it."

How this revolutionary business model works is still debated by economists. Some credit a unique advertising model. I lean more towards Elf Magic, since it is the only plausible explanation for Google's incessant awesomeness in this Golden Age of disappointment.

You probably already know how Google Mail, Calendar, Docs, Photos, Reader, et al. can transform your Rolodex life into a Cloud-Computing paradise, accessible anywhere via a series of tubes.

But the long-awaited glue that will irrevocably unite your Google life is the Android mobile operating system.

From the moment its development was announced, I knew I needed it on my next phone. The question always was, what sinister U.S. cellular service would bear the fruit of Android's loom?

And then the world said, "Really, Google? T-Mobile?"

And my long nightmare of indecision began.

Should I wait for a more respectable carrier to adopt Android? Or, simply part ways with Sprint and take up the G1 now?

But the rub, T-Mobile, with its slip-shot record of dropped calls and frustrated ex-customers always loomed. I asked the opinion of anyone who had ever been a T-Mobile subscriber, used a T-Mobile phone, or walked passed a T-Mobile store.

Every response was peppered with expletives and twisted snarls of dismay, claiming that T-Mobile had dropped their calls, flushed their e-mail, and kidnapped their children from Gymboree.

Agony ensued, until I recalled the nerd, er, salesman who let my wife and I tinker with a working G1 a few weeks ago. He said I could do a free trial to test the web and phone coverage. Since my pants were peed with excitement over touching Android for the first time, I didn't think to take him up on the offer.

But last Friday night we zipped back over to set it up, and this week I've been floating in that strange purgatory between PDAs, reluctant to commit my contacts and calendar to the new device for fear T-Mobile will kidnap them from Gymboree.

The results?

I will say this: Android is the smartest goddamn thing ever in the history of technology, including sliced bread and Webkinz.

Anything you do in your Google account - say, send an email, update your calendar, add a contact - is instantly reflected on your phone, and vice versa.

This means that you could feed your G1 to a Rottweiler and all of your documents, appointments, and contacts will still be waiting for you on your Google homepage. The medieval labors of downloading e-mail and syncing your phone have finally been vanquished.

As for T-Mobile, I am pleasantly surprised to have crystal clear calls wherever I go. And when the 3G data network is connected, we're talking full Web that's Michael Phelps Phast™.

However, when the phone can only connect to T-Mo's older "Edge" network, you'd have better luck viewing Facebook on a transistor radio.

Alas, holding such awesomeness and mediocrity in my hand at one time makes my emotions hurt. I'll need to do some more lying down before I make my decision.

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Anonymous said...

i totally adore your wife, my colleague at the AP, but i just need to make sure nobody paid you to write that thing about the phone, i never heard anyone talk so gushingly about something without something in it for them.
Beth Harpaz

Unknown said...


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