The Cheap Way To Android

Still using a Nokia phone? Get irritated when users of Android & Apple make fun of Symbian?

I don’t say that Nokia phones are bad but there may be a better interface for you, that suits your preferences. Moreover, there is always a need to bring change or experience the change. After so many updates, Nokia phones still look the same. They are not able to bring any significant change to their UI.
So, if ‘good camera’ is not your most preferred feature, I would recommend you to give a try to other available OSs. If you think that the change will cost you much, the answer depends on the change.


Why Go for Android?

Android is a Linux based Free Open Source Software. That’s why Android can be incorporated by any mobile manufacturers and at a cheap rate. Because of its FOSS nature, rooting(gaining super-user access.e jailbreak in Apple’s iOS and in Sony’s PS which is illegal) a Android phone is legal.

It is not your local market near your house but it is not far away from being that. You can find the same app(product) by different developers(shops). Get user reviews, ratings, and related apps. Moreover, after purchasing an app, if you realize that it doesn’t serve your purpose then you can return it within 15 minutes and get your money back.
You enter the market with just a single tap, search your app in your way, read reviews, view screenshots and just tap ‘Download’ and you are done. Also, you can view your downloaded apps within the Android market and even update them with ease.
Also, Android Market has surpassed the Apple App Store in free app count and has the total of 250000 apps as of now.

Date Applications Downloads to date
March 2007 2,300
December 2009 20,000
August 2010 80,000 1 billion
May 2011 200,000 3 billion
July 2011 250,000 4.5 billion

One thing, that I most like about Android is that ‘Everything is in Sync’. Just add a new contact in your mobile and it will automatically add its e-mail id and photo if the same person is in your Gmail contacts. You create a new event in Google calendar through your PC and it immediately comes to your mobile. In the same way, you can sync your Facebook and Twitter. With the launch Google+, we can’t imagine the future of this feature.

With the Android v3(Honeycomb) entering into tablets, the future of Android is surely bright. There’s no signal from Nokia to enter into Tablets.
The new Symbian Anna doesn’t provide any remarkable change, Nokia should know that users will not get surprised with a few changes in graphics. Symbian belle also doesn’t look promising with just a few new features and the same old UI. But you can’t neglect the rumors about Android 4.0(Ice Cream Sandwich) which is a threat to the iPad market. To know more about Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich, click here.

A change to iPhone or a good blackberry phone will be costly whereas Android may not cost you much.
Here are some of the cheap phones featuring Android. One thing to remember is that they may be cheap but are not weak!!

Samsung Galaxy 5 (l5500) (Cheap Android 2.1)
Price: Rs 8300(approx.)/$155(approx.)

☻ 600 MHz processor;  512MB RAM
☻ Android 2.1(Eclair)
☻ 2MP Camera; 2.8 inches screen
☻ microSD up to 16GB

My Experience-
It was my first android mobile, and a good way to start with. It has a small screen but the screen resolution is so good that it doesn’t allow us to focus on its size. 7 home screens are more than enough to fit your gloomy widgets in. There is no lag while sliding home screen or menu. But became a little bit slow in opening camera or messages(if they are thousands in number) after a few months.
It has 4 Android buttons(Edit, Home, Back, Search) + 2 call buttons + D-Pad which is rare to be found on other smartphones. The pre-installed Swype keyboard is awesome and far more better than the third party Swype keyboards. Exploring your memory card is as easy – you can create a new folder, move files, share files etc.

LG Optimus One (P500) (Cheap Android 2.2)
Price: Rs 11800(approx.)/$264(approx.)

☻ 600MHz processor; 512 MB RAM
☻ Android 2.2(Froyo)
☻ 3.2MP camera; 3.2 inches screen
☻ microSD up to 32GB

My Experience-
First of all, it was hard to believe that LG builds such a brilliant Smartphone at such a cheap rate. The 3.2 TFT capacitive screen with 320 x 480 pixels resolution makes it a worth buy at this price. Playing with and even on Froyo was a great experience as much more games are available than the previous version Eclair. Optimus one comes with some of the useful pre-installed apps(apart from twitter and facebook) like Aldiko(Book Reader), AG Indian Newspaper, Bollywoodji(for movie reviews, preview etc), Collins dictionary. I thought that the touch will not be so good, but I was wrong. Samsung’s TouchWiz has its own place, but LG’s touch is nowhere less. One thing I really missed was the Swype keyboard that didn’t come pre-installed like it was on Samsung.

For those who don’t go by brand

Micromax A70
Price: Rs 7999/ $177(approx.)

☻ 600 MHz processor
☻ Android 2.2(Froyo)
☻ 3.2 inches screen; 5MP camera
☻ microSD up to 32GB

Spice Mi310
Price: Rs 7000(approx.)/$ 155.5(approx.)

☻ 600 MHz processor
☻ Android 2.2(Froyo)
☻ 3.2 inches screen; 2MP
☻ microSD up to 16GB

For those with heavy pockets

Samsung Galaxy S II
Price: Rs 30000(approx.)/$ 666.6(approx.)

☻ 1.2 Dual core processor
☻ 4.3 inches screen; 1GB RAM
☻ Android 2.3(Gingerbread)
☻ 8MP + 2MP Front camera☻ microSD up to 32GB

Cheap Android Tablets

Reliance 3G Tab
Price: Rs 12,999(approx.)
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Beetel Magiq Tablet 
Price: Rs 9,999(approx.)/$ 224 (approx.)

Android 2.2 (Froyo)

Problems, you might face after turning to Android from Nokia (Benefits are out of the scope of this post)

Poor Battery
We still don’t know who to blame for this- the OS or the apps. All the Android phones have bad battery life, it may be applicable to all the latest Smartphones but it is much a concern for Android.

As I mentioned earlier, Android phones will never serve as Camera phones. Android is just a little bit above than satisfactory in terms of camera. Only Samsung Galaxy S II has an 8MP camera, other good Android phones will never go above 5MP. So, if you are one of those who instantly starts capturing a baby’s laugh or cat’s jump, think twice about Android.

Non-Market Apps
One thing Nokia phone could assure you is that, if they are not able provide good apps through their Ovi Store(which is always expected) you could download games and software from sites like mobile9 or GetJar after a few efforts (as many apps will not work as they were described on the website or they will be corrupted). But in the case of Android, you will not be able to find good non-market apps. In case you could, you will hardly find your downloaded apk file working fine on your phone.


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