Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Get it While It’s Hot! Ello Launches iOS App!

Teaser:  Ello's iOS app is Launching Tomorrow :)

A lot of you who follow my photography and blog know that I’ve been super excited about Ello, my favorite new social network on the web. Today Ello gets even a little bit better with the official launch of their iOS app. They just launched the iOS app about 10 minutes ago, but it may take a little bit of time to propagate in the app store before you will be able to download it.

I’ve been testing a beta version of the app for the past few weeks and absolutely love it.

If you are a photographer and are not using Ello, I’d encourage you to give it a spin. Put simply, your photos will look better on Ello than on any other social sharing site on the web today. Looking at my photos on a 5k iMac in extra large, full, high res glory just can’t be compared with any other photo network out there. Ello shows your photos huge, as they are meant to be seen.

I love that Ello was designed for the web first and foremost, but one is not always at one’s computer and so having a mobile app these days is really important. Ello’s initial release is for iOS and the iPhone, but they have plans to ship an Android version later on in the future.

Like the web version of Ello, what I love about the iOS app is the elegance of its design and its simplicity.

Basically the app does six things for you really well.

1. Ello’s iOS app allows you to browse content by the people you follow. You get two buckets for your contacts at Ello, friends and noise. You can browse either stream and easily love and comment on content that you find interesting and engaging directly from your iOS device.

2. Ello’s iOs app allows you to look at your own content stream. You can go to your own stream and expand comments as well as scroll through your entire stream of posts from most recent to oldest.

3. Ello’s iOs app allows you to look at your notifications page. Here you can see when someone adds you, or when someone specifically mentions you in a post by name, or when someone loves or comments on a photo of yours. This is a great tool to stay on top of the interaction on your content.

4. Ello’s iOS app allows you to discover new content on Ello’s discover page. I’m not sure how content is selected for Ello’s discover page, but there is some super cool stuff. If you run out of photos to look at by your friends, check out discover too.

5. Ello’s iOS app allows you to post your own content with or without a photo. Like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other sites, you can post messages, status updates, and photos directly from the app. Unlike Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and others, Ello does not mix advertisements or promoted posts in with your content or sell your data to advertisers.

6. Ello’s iOs app allows you to easily search for other users on Ello. You can search for users and even better you can let Ello search through your contacts on your phone and show you which of your friends are already on Ello and let you invite any who are not.

Overall I’ve found the beta version of Ello’s iOs app to be super smooth. I love the animations that come with the app. When you first load the app up, you get this cool spinning Ello logo while it loads content for you. As content streams in you get a sort of pulsating gray ball letting you know that an individual post is loading. It’s obvious that a lot of thought went into how to make Ello’s app simple, elegant and intuitive.

I’ve been using the beta version of the Ello iOS app every single day since I’ve installed it and even though it’s beta it has not crashed or locked up on me once. The app is super stable.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ello, Ello is structured as a public benefit corporation. There will never be any advertisements on Ello and they will never sell your data. Ello takes your privacy very seriously and in my opinion is the most user centered social network on the web/iOS today.

The people that run Ello are very solid. They are community focused and driven. One of the big reasons why I’m so high on Ello is because I’ve spent some time familiarizing myself with the founders and I think they represent some of the most sincere integrity in the social networking space today. They can definitely be trusted with your content and my content and they deserve our support.

In addition to a great team running Ello, the community itself is one of the most creative communities on the web. I’m continuously blown away at the talent and artistic vision of the artists, designers, photographers and thinkers that are part of the early Ello community. Not only will you find some of the most awe inspiring visual work on the web today, you will find that behind that work is one of the most inclusive, friendly and welcoming communities to date. While you can block people on Ello, fortunately there has been very little abuse thus far and people seem to get along really well.

For those of my friends who are already there, I’m really digging your work. For those of my friends who are not there yet, I hope you take a few seconds out today to download Ello’s new iOS app and I’d love to know what you think about it and see more of your work there in the future. If you want to connect on Ello you can find me here.

If you want to learn a little bit more about Ello, check out this great video below by Lucian and Todd where they talk a little more about what Ello is all about.

More from: The Verge, TechCrunch, readwrite, Los Angeles Times, Engadget.

Priime, The Best iPhone Photo Editor I’ve Ever Used

Priime is Liive -- Get It While It's Hot

Disclosure, I am an advisor to Priime and have styles included in their style marketplace.

Boom. Just a few hours ago Priime went live in the Apple iTunes App Store and already on launch day Apple is featuring it in their best new apps section.

What is Priime?

Priime is the best mobile phone editor I’ve ever used. I’ve been using it behind the scenes for the past few months and am blown away by how much better it is than anything else out for mobile editing today. The free app features a powerful suite of editing tools allowing you to enhance a lot of the basics around your photos: brightness, structure, contrast, warmth, tint, saturation, sharpness, highlights/shadows, vignette and fade. The app can also save photos up to 50 megapixel in size! I don’t know of any other app that can let you output such high res photos.

In addition to these tools, Priime has currated some of the best mobile photo styles available. These are styles developed by photographers for photographers. I have two styles for sale in the Priime marketplace — Americana and Neon. Neon can be a particularly tricky thing to shoot sometimes. I’ve taken over 10,000 photos of neon signs and this is my best attempt at an overlay that works especially well for signs.

The app gives you some great free starter styles. It will also make suggestions for what styles may work best with your photo after analyzing it.

In addition to my styles, Priime features styles developed by 30 other insanely talented photographers, each with their own unique way of processing the world through their iPhone.

Daniel Krieger, who shoots for the NY Times, is probably the best working food photographer in the world right now. If you are going to take photos of food, you are definitely going to want to get his filter. Vivienne Gucwa just put out a fantastic book of New York City photographs and has some amazing styles as well.

There is no Android version yet (it is on the roadmap), but the app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

One of the things that I think makes Priime different from other photo editing apps is that it was actually developed by photographers. I have known Art Chang for several years. We went and shot Death Valley with a bunch of Google+ photographers 4 years ago. He’s an amazing photographer and has especially done cool things with mobile. His Instagram stream is here. Art has a love for photography that I think gives the app a unique photographer driven perspective and street cred. Art’s co-founders are also all photographers — Loren Baxter, Andrew Ng and Joe Pestro.

Priime is sharing the revenue for their styles with the photographers who have developed them. I think that is a really cool thing. I can’t wait to see what other photographers are added as time goes on.

Anyways, check out Priime in the iPhone App Store. Here is a direct link to the app here. I’d love to hear what you think of it. Remember it’s Priime with two ii’s. :)

My Styles in the New Release iPhone App Priime

Priime Featured in the Best New Apps Section of the iPhone App Store

Mophie… the Best thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone

Mophie... the Best thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone

I’m a huge fan of Mophie. I started using the juice pack plus about a year and a half ago and since using it have never once ran out of battery power on my iPhone 5s. Even using it during a long day out shooting, somehow the I always end up making it through an entire day of heavy use. The great thing about the juice pack plus is that it is also a case for your iPhone. I’ve dropped my iPhone a few times and was happy that I had my juice pack plus on it to help protect it.

Last week Mophie sent me one of their new powerstation plus charging units. You connect this device up to any USB port and it holds up to 2 full charges for your iPhone. It’s super small and lightweight and is another perfect complement to my iPhone. Even though I’m not worried about running out of power with my juice pack plus case on, it will be convenient to have this unit around in case my friends (right Mr. Mingus?) run out of juice on their phone while hanging out with them.

It will also be a convenient thing to have around if I’m too lazy to go plug my phone into the regular wall charger. I will keep this new Mophie powerstation plus in my photo backpack and take it with me everywhere I go.

Like a lot of places, Mophie is having a black Friday 40% off sale today. Use the code POWER. If you’ve been waiting to pick up a Mophie, today’s the day. :)

Thanks Mophie, you guys rock!

Viva Las Vegas with Keith Urban at the Cosmopolitan, iPhone Style

This past weekend I shot my first iPhone only concert ever — Keith Urban at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas with Brett Eldredge and Jerrod Neimann.

I was there with my wife mrsth for our 18th wedding anniversary. We’re both big Keith Urban and country music fans, so when I saw he was playing at the swanky Cosmopolitan (which is absolutely the best place to stay in Vegas these days), I booked us a room there for the weekend and we celebrated 18 years in style.

A great show was made even better thanks to Jessica Northey who put us in touch with Keith’s management (thank you so much Rachel!) who were able to arrange a special meet and greet ahead of the show. There’s nothing like impressing your woman on her special day!

I’ve shot a lot of live music over the years and always with a DSLR, but this time I went sans DSLR and shot only with my iPhone. You can check out what I was able to get with only an iPhone only here. iPhone shooting in low light can be tricky. I felt like I got some good shots though.

At Coachella earlier this year my friend Sam Levin gave me an olloclip. That really came in handy for this show. If you like shooting concert photography with your iPhone, you absolutely *HAVE* to get one of these. It’s basically a telephoto lens for your iPhone and makes a huge difference in terms of getting closer than you could otherwise.

Most shows I see I’m pretty much focused 100% on just shooting the show — so much that I don’t even really have the best time. This show though it was much more laid back without my DSLR and just hanging out as a normal fan with an iPhone. One of these days I would love to shoot Keith Urban with a DSLR, but the Vegas show was perfect just like it was with the iPhone.

And about that show — WOW! if you haven’t seen Keith Urban play live yet you really should. In fact he’s in the Bay Area Saturday night in Mountain View if you want to check him out for yourself. He puts on a really rocking show digging deep into his repertoire with so many of his greatest hits. Keith has a ton of energy and he and his whole band really put on a super fun and kick ass live show — that man can play guitar!

Both Brett Eldredge and Jerrod Niemann are great opening acts. My wife especially enjoyed the fact that in Vegas Brett played a bit of Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, which was coincidently the first song that we danced to at our wedding 18 years ago.

Keith’s got other dates coming up in Oregon and Washington if you live there. You can check out the remaining dates of his Raise ‘Em Up tour here.

You can check out all of my live music concert photography here.

Prismatic Launches iOS Version 2.0

Prismatic for iOS
Prismatic 2.0 for iOS released this morning.

I’ve been a big fan of the news aggregator Prismatic ever since it originally launched on the web. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better site on the internet today for aggregating all of the news stories that *I* care about than Prismatic. It’s the ultimate personalized news feed.

On Prismatic, I enter my interests (subjects, topics, companies, people, TV shows, etc.) and Prismatic offers me up a daily feed of pretty accurate stories that I will be interested in. Prismatic has completely replaced my old RSS reader for me and is my go to place each day to view my favorite stories, personally tailored to my interests. The design is fast and elegant and easy to use. Prismatic currently indexes 5 million new stories every day and contains over 10,000 interests you can follow.

Prismatic for iOS

On Prismatic I can like or dislike stories and Prismatic uses a machine learning algorithm to tailor my future posts even more to my interests.

With the new iOS version Prismatic gets even more social than it’s been in the past. I can follow people and things that my friends like are included in the algorithm for what I’m presented.

While I spend a lot of time working on my photos or spending time on social networks when I’m on my computer, Prismatic is the perfect companion to my iPhone, where I want to quickly find great articles that interest me while I’m on my commute or walking around mobile. You can easily share stories you find and like directly from Prismatic to Twitter or Facebook.

Congrats to Bradford Cross and his team at Prismatic on today’s launch. Go get the new Prismatic for iOS in the APP store and check it out. I think you’ll be impressed by how many great stories are personalized to you — especially great photography stories. :)

More from Matthew Ingram at GigaOm here.

Converting from Android Back to the iPhone, Initial Observations

I’ve been using smartphones for a long time. I was an original owner of what I believe was the very first smart phone, the Kyocera PDQ 800 back in 2000. I had a couple of Microsoft Windows based phones after that. I waited in line down in Palo Alto with my pal Robert Scoble to get the very first iPhone when it was launched back in 2007. I then upgraded to an iPhone 3G, then an iPhone 3Gs. I skipped the iPhone 4 opting instead to give Android a run for the money. I switched to a Samsung Vibrant in 2010 and then in 2011 to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

On Friday my new iPhone 5s arrived.

I returned to the dark side of Apple for a lot of different reasons. I hated the poor battery life on both of my previous Android phones. I hated that it felt like the only way to get updates on Android phones was to buy a new Android phone. I thought it sucked how difficult it was getting updated software and I thought Google didn’t do enough to pressure the hardware manufacturers and carriers to better support Android updates in the aftermarket.

A lot of things felt broken on my Android phones all the time. Things crashed, didn’t work, etc. People kept suggesting that I “root” my phone to fix things — but I didn’t want to root my phone. I’m not a phone geek. I just want something really good that consistently works with little effort.

On my recent trip to New York City last month, I felt like I spent the whole trip apologizing to people who couldn’t get a hold of me on my Nexus because it was constantly dead. I didn’t dare listen to music on it or it would die even faster.

It’s totally unfair to compare my new iPhone with a 2 year old Galaxy Nexus, but I’m going to do it anyways. Maybe Android’s come a long way since my Nexus, but I’m not interested in shelling out $500 to see if in fact this is the case — not after feeling like I’ve been burned twice with my last two Android phones.

I’ve only been using my new iPhone for a few days, but here are my initial observations.

1. The iPhone battery is wayyy better than my old phone. Last night I went to bed with my iPhone fully charged, but unplugged. This morning it had 98% of it’s battery life still. That was amazing to me. My Nexus would have been dead. It’s so nice having a phone that actually has a battery life.

2. The internet reception is better on this phone than my Nexus. For the last two years I’ve thought that Verizon just had really crappy internet service in the Ferry Building here in San Francisco. It turns out it was my phone! All the places in the Ferry Building where I couldn’t get Verizon LTE service on my Android, now work perfectly with Verizon LTE on my iPhone. I was so frustrated all the time when my LTE connection wouldn’t work on my old phone. I was constantly blaming Verizon when the real culprit was MY PHONE! Verizon LTE works GREAT. I just needed the right phone.

3. I didn’t care about the fingerprint technology on the new iPhone. I never locked my Nexus and didn’t think I’d lock this one — I’m one of those optimists who never thinks they will lose their phone. It turns out that the fingerprint tech is so easy that I do now lock my iPhone. I totally get that the NSA likely now has my fingerprint, but I don’t care about stuff like that.

4. It’s nice to be able to hear my music again. One of the things that I disliked about my old Nexus was the music volume. It was too low at max volume. Sometimes when you are on a train or something you want the music louder. The iPhone music can go louder and that’s nice.

5. It’s nice having my iPhone sync with my iTunes. I transferred about 7,000 of my favorite songs on it. I tried downloading doubleTwist to somehow port my iTunes to my old Nexus, but I could never get it working. I think my music library was too large for doubleTwist or something. Letting iTunes manage my music flawlessly with my iPhone is great.

6. My new iPhone just feels better. I don’t know how to describe it. It feels more responsive, more accurate, faster. It feels smoother. The Flickr and Google+ apps flow easier on it.

7. The first shocker for me was how much smaller the phone and the screen felt to me. I got over this quickly and barely notice at this point.

8. I don’t really feel like I’m missing the best Google stuff from my Nexus. I can get Google Maps on my iPhone. I can get Gmail on my iPhone. I can get Google Chrome on my iPhone. All of the best things that sort of set Google apart initially for me as an incentive to go Android feel like they are now on iPhone.

9. Setting up my new iPhone took me a lot longer than I thought it would. Some of this was my fault and some was the phone’s I think. I couldn’t activate it at first. My phone couldn’t connect to the activation server. I finally got it activated and it wouldn’t connect with my wifi at home initially (now it works fine). I had to download all of my favorite apps. It seemed to take longer to download my apps than I would have liked. I had to reset some passwords because I’m always forgetting my passwords (on Flickr now your password must include upper and lowercase letters, a number, a special character AND be at least 8 digits!) I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to get my Google Calendar into my iPhone calendar. It turns out what was screwing me up was two step authentication. Once I turned that off at Google it worked.

Thanks to everyone online on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. who gave me input on what phone I should buy next. Rosa Golijan was especially helpful. :)

Change is Good

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin Sports the New Google Glasses at Dinner in the Dark, a Benefit for the Foundation Fighting Blindness -- San Francisco, CA

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

— Woodrow Wilson

I’ve been watching with great interest over the past few weeks as the naysayers seem to have gone CRAZY overboard trying to bash Google Glass every chance they can. I’ve seen articles in Wired and on CNN and on blogs, etc., all stating how terrible Google Glass is. Oh NO, geeky white dudes are wearing Google Glass! This will never work! Oh no, someone wore a pair into the shower! Oh no, I will punch someone in the face if they try talk to me with them on — all sorts of gibberish.

There’s nothing like change to bring out the absolute haters.

It seems like every time something comes out that represents change, people freak the fcuk out.

It’s not enough to say, “oh no, this thing is not for me.” People have to go absolutely overboard, talking about how horrible some new thing is for everybody ELSE.

I remember when I waited in line overnight (with my pal Robert Scoble, probably today’s biggest Google Glass cheerleader) for the very first iPhone. Robert’s son Patrick was the very first person to buy an iPhone at the Palo Alto store.

I’m not sure I’d ever been mocked by people so much. “You waited in line overnight to pay HOW MUCH?” for a stupid phone??? People thought the iPhone was the dumbest thing ever. “Why would you ever need a phone to surf the web?” “Why would you pay so much for a phone?” They laughed at me for camping out overnight to get the first generation phone — even though camping out overnight in front of an Apple store has been one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Getting to hear Apple luminaries like Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson talk about Apple’s early days was a blast! It’s where I first met the awesome guys from SmugMug. Was it dorky and geeky? Sure, but whatever.

Read some of these early quotes about the iPhone when it first came out. Even though some of us loved it early, so many more were so “doom and gloom” on it. Now, of course, everybody loves the iPhone and the whole generation of Android and other smartphones that followed.

I remember when Twitter first came out. People hated that too. “Twitter is still a fad, and according to a study out today, it looks like it’s popularity may soon fade,” wrote BusinessWeek. People constantly mocked Twitter — “who wants to read a dumb post about what someone had for breakfast,” they’d say. I hopped on Twitter right away while so many of my friends refused to join. Those same friends now complain about how everybody else has more followers than they do.

The same naysayers took umbrage with Google+. Despite being named earlier this week as the second largest social network, the “change is bad” crowd hated Google+ when it came out. How many articles out there were written about Google+ being a ghost town? My good friend Trey Ratcliff passed 5 million followers on Google+ earlier this morning. That sure is an awful lot of ghosts if you ask me.

I’m having the best time on Google+. I’ve met some of the most talented and interesting photographers in the world, I’ve been on tons of great live hangouts and photowalks, and it’s been the best designed social network I’ve ever been a part of. I’m glad I joined it the first day it was available to the public.

When one of my heros, William Eggleston, had the first color photography show at MOMA in New York, a lot of people hated that too. Many people called it the most hated fine art photography show ever. Ansel Adams, the most famous photographer in the world at the time, even wrote a letter to MOMA curator, John Szarkowski, trashing the change that Eggleston represented. Now everybody loves Eggleston and color photography is firmly established as a photographic fine art aesthetic. Just last month the Independent called him the world’s greatest living photographer.

I remember when I first started posting my photos online at Flickr back in 2004, their first year in existence. So many photographers gave me a hard time. They kept going on and on about how my photos would be “stolen.” “Who the hell cares,” I’d answer back. Now everybody posts their photos online, everywhere — well, almost everybody.

So what is it about Google Glass, the iPhone, Twitter, Google+, color photography, photo sharing that scare people so much? What is it that brings out the naysayers and haters?

It’s simple: most people hate change. Most people fear change. Most people hope the world around them never changes and turns into something else. They are afraid that change will take their job, or their income, or somehow hurt them. A lot of these people are also lazy. They groan about having to learn a new thing or technology. They worry they will be left behind. So it’s easier for these people to bash whatever is new and interesting and jump on the anti-change bandwagon.

As far as Google Glass goes, I have no idea if it’s going to be a hit or not. I do think it represents an interesting new tool to use for street photography and I’m excited about trying them out myself at some point. I think it’s dumb though to see article after article by scared people trying to talk the rest of the world out of them — articles that try to paint them as dorky or geeky or creepy. These are just more of the same old complainers/haters who hate on every new thing that comes along.

Change is good. Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise. The next time somebody brings up some new idea, check yourself. Instead of immediately starting to bash it, resist that urge and keep an open mind. Every so often you just might be surprised.

Oh, and personally speaking, I think journalists that like to bash change are far, far, dorkier than bloggers who like to take showers with their Google Glass on. 😉

This article also appears on PetaPixel here.

SmugMug’s New Camera Awesome App is, Well, Awesome!

Played around with this camera app on my wife’s iPhone earlier tonight. Best camera app I’ve ever seen on any phone. Check it out iPhone only (for now) and free for the basic camera and a set of filters. [Disclosure: SmugMug is a sponsor for Photo Talk Plus, a video show I host]

Why I’ll Probably Switch Back to an iPhone From Android When the New iPhones Come Out

Rumor has it that iPhone 5 will be coming out this Summer/Fall and there’s a good chance that I’ll make the switch then from Android back to the iPhone. I’d owned every new iPhone up until iPhone 4 when I decided to make a switch to the Android operating system last Fall. I mostly made the change I think because I hated AT&T so much, but I’d also heard a lot of good things about Android and wanted to give it a try. After 9 months of Android now I think I’m ready to make the switch back. Here are the reasons why.

1. The iPhone 4 is now on Verizon and maybe iPhone5 will be on other carriers besides AT&T (whose network always sucked when I used it).

2. Updating the operating system on your Android phone is a huge pain in the ass. In order to update my Samsung Galaxy Vibrant from the Eclair operating system to the Froyo operating system (keep in mind that Google’s working on honeycomb now apparently, which is two operating updates ahead of what I just updated to), I had to go through hell to get it done. No OTA for Samsung. No iTunes for Samsung. No, I had to manually find the file somewhere on the web on a confusing website, download it to a Windows machine (yes Windows only), and update my phone through a long confusing process. And this was only *after* Samsung/TMobile were sued!

By contrast, I can trust Apple that any updates available for my iPhone will be easily available to me, making my phone better and better in the future.

3. The stupid little things matter. Apple is really, really, really good about making sure that their devices just work right. They just do what their supposed to do. They’re not wonky or contain little stupid glitches.

For example. Let’s say I’m walking to my office and I have a little battery life left. Presently my Android device automatically dims my display to an unreadable level. This is fine and I can certainly appreciate them wanting to look out for me in preserving what battery life I have left. But… since I’m 5 minutes from my office, where I know I can plug my device in again, I’d just as soon go ahead and use what little battery life I have left for a display that I can actually see. So I manually go into the settings and change the brightness slider to full strength. Then I go back to my phone and start using it again. It stays bright until I hit a web page and then it goes back to the super dim screen. That’s just dumb. My manual setting should stick. But it doesn’t.

Another example. I will plug my Android phone in to it’s charger and the screen comes on. I don’t know why. The screen doesn’t need to come on — but it does. So I hit the button to turn it off — only it won’t turn off, the screen is locked — so I have to unlock the screen, *then* push the screen off button and it goes off. Of course inexplicably the next morning the screen is back on again when I go to get my phone. Did I mention that I have screen burn on my Android phone now?

4. The battery life on this thing sucks ass. With my old iPhone I’d keep it plugged in all day at work. I’d then leave work, use it on the way home, use it at home and when I got up in the morning I always had enough charge to last me until I got to work again where I could plug it in and recharge. Not so with Android.

If I don’t plug my phone in to charge both at work *and* home, I will not have a charge enough for my morning commute the next morning. I don’t think that it’s the phone or the battery that are inferior. I think it’s that the stupid operating system uses power when it shouldn’t be. When I have the phone display off in the middle of the night, there is no reason at all why the screen should come back on (but it does, like to remind me that I have low battery, doh!). The phone should hibernate similarly to how Apple’s does so that when I want to use it again the next morning I can.

5. The fact that I can’t turn off the blaring tmobile dingle sound that goes off really loudly when I turn my phone on or off is terrible. Let’s say I’m at the movie theater. And I now want to turn off my phone. Why can’t I just turn it off without that loud sound? Why won’t Android/Tmobile allow me to disable that sound altogether? Why isn’t there an app for that?

6. Speaking of apps, Android still lags here. I miss using Hipstamtic. Yeah Android has Vignette and some other photo apps, but they aren’t as good. And I’m totally missing out on the whole Instagram thing, which is iPhone only.

7. TMobile started throttling me. When I first bought the Samsung/TMobile phone TMobile wasn’t throttling me. Now they are. It’s simply unbearable. The internet is so slow, I get bitchy and go after them on Twitter constantly and it’s no good for anyone all the way around. I’m not sure if Verizon is any better, but it can’t be any worse I’m guessing.

8. The music player on Android is terrible. I want my iTunes playlists back. It’s so much easier getting my playlists on an iPhone. It wouldn’t be so bad if that’s all it was, but it’s not. The music player on the Android phone is just downright awful. The only way I can make a playlist is to do it on the phone, one by one by one.

9. Contacts are borked. Supposedly people that I put in my Google contacts will autopopulate into my Android phone contact list. Like I said… “supposedly.”

10. The whole ease of use thing sucks. I’m not a phone genius. I shouldn’t have to be. The settings on my Android phone never seem to be where they are supposed to be. Finding things is hard. Navigating the interface takes work. I’m constantly having to set some thing called USB debugging on (which so counterintuitively is under the applications menu, under development, under USB debugging) just to transfer files between my hard drive and my phone’s memory card. It’s stuff like that that I learn to do, but are just a pain. Apple seems to care more about the non-phone developer getting around the iPhone. I shouldn’t have to be an Android developer to know how the settings work or where everything is at.

Two things I’ll probably miss with my Android phone. The GMail app is really good. Also the maps are really good, the way that they interact with Google Maps. Hopefully the new iPhone has a way that I can import my custom Google Maps into the iPhone maps interface. But maybe not. If it doesn’t, this may just have to be something that I have to live with. But a plus for the iPhone is also that I can use it as a remote control for my AppleTV.

Android Vs. iPhone 7 Months Later

Seven months ago I ditched my AT&T iPhone for an Android powered Samsung Galaxy Vibrant from T-Mobile. I’d been a big and early fan of the iPhone (I spent the night in line and was actually customer #8 to buy the very first iPhone in Palo Alto back in 2007). With each new model I purchased the new phone until this switch to Android 7 months ago. After using the Android phone for a little over seven months now these are my thoughts.

Android Pros

1. I’m paying less than I paid for my iPhone. At present I pay TMobile $60 a month for 500 talk minutes (which I never come close to using) and unlimited texts and data. By contrast I’m told my wife has a very good iPhone plan from AT&T which is $85 per month for 450 talk minutes, 200 monthly text messages and unlimited data.

2. Google Maps on Android are *amazing*. With Android you can just load any Google Map that you’ve created as a layer on the phone’s default mapping software. This has been tremendously helpful for me as a photographer. I will frequently map out locations that I want to shoot in a new city on a Google Map. Being able to see these exact pin points on my phone’s mapping package (including using directions to the pins) is huge. With my iPhone there was no way to integrate a Google Map page into the phone’s mapping software. At best I could try to load the Google Maps internet page (much less helpful) and I could rarely if ever get it to load in my old iPhone.

3. T-Mobile’s service is better than AT&T’s. I get much better coverage with my Android phone than I did with my iPhone.

4. I can tether on my Android phone *AND* have an unlimited data plan. Although T-Mobile “technically” doesn’t allow tethering unless you buy a tethering plan from them, my Samsung phone tethers just fine without paying for one. I tether two ways — with a USB cable and the PDA Net Android app or wirelessly through the built in software which allows me to turn my phone into a wireless hotspot. The service on my laptop while tethered isn’t as good as a regular wifi or broadband connection, but it’s certainly useable.

5. I was able to purchase the phone without any service plan. I can quit at any time and owe no penalties.

6. The gmail integration is pretty good. Search especially is strong. I can easily find any email that I’m looking for.

7. I get a lot of cool apps. The Twitter app is pretty good. I’ve got the Facebook and Yelp apps. The Android Market seems to be pretty rich in terms of the apps that I like and am looking for. I probably use the Vignette camera app the most of any of the camera apps.

8. The Gallery function is really slick. I like how it keeps my photos segregated by camera type that took them and also allows me seamless integration with Google’s Picasa.

Android Cons

1. There are some apps that are not on the phone that I want. I miss Hipstamatic from my iPhone. I feel like I’m totally shut out of the current Instagram craze that’s going on because it’s an iPhone only app. I’ve tried picplz on the Android as an alternative, but it doesn’t seem to have near the engagement from other users as I’ve seen from my friends using Instagram on their iPhones. I also can’t use my Android phone as a remote control for my AppleTVs like my wife can.

2. Music on the Android sucks. I don’t really like the music player. It doesn’t sync at all with my iTunes. I tried double Twist, but it just didn’t work. Getting music on it is just dragging and dropping the mp3 files with no sort of playlists or organization etc. via iTunes.

3. Once you buy the phone you are *totally on your own* for upgrade support. The upgrade support from Samsung/TMobile has been *horrific.* They made us wait and wait and wait and wait to get the Froyo update and when they finally let us have it, the only way to upgrade my phone was to go through a complicated upgrade process that required me using a Windows based PC (as a Mac guy that sucked). Literally a class action lawsuit was filed to twist the arms of TMobile and Samsung to finally make them release this update. By contrast, updating your iPhone to the latest and greatest system upgrades is as easy as hooking it up to your iTunes and Apple never makes you jump through the hoops like TMobile and Samsung do.

4. Unlimited really isn’t unlimited data on T-Mobile. I was disappointed after signing up and using T-Mobile to get this text message from them. Throttling me because I’m a heavy user seems chump on their part. I understand that unlimited *never* really means unlimited, but I guess I feel like it should.

5. The battery life on my Android phone is a little bit better with the Froyo update, but still not as good as my iPhone was (and I hear iPhone 4 is even better). I could go a full day with my iphone from sun up to the next morning and still have battery life left. With my iphone if I don’t charge it at home at night it’s going to be dead for my commute to work the next morning.

6. The Android phone just seems quirky and buggy all the time. For example. At night I’ll turn the screen off and connect it to my usb port on mac so that it can charge while I’m sleeping. But in the morning when I get up the screen is back on full blaze. I’ll try to push the button to turn the screen back off but it won’t let me press that button unless I first swipe the phone screen to unlock it and then press the button. It shouldn’t be coming on at all when I press the button to turn it off at night, but it does without me touching it in any way and then it’s hard to get back off.

Or I’ll be low on battery and it will dim the screen to a super low level that is hardly even usable. If I go into the settings and bring the screen display back up to full strength, as soon as I try to load a web page it goes completely dim again to where I can’t see it. While I can appreciate their efforts to save my battery, if I’m walking 5 minutes to my office where I can recharge it, I’d rather go ahead and use what little battery I have left on a screen that I can actually see than try to conserve battery life at that point.

There are other quirks as well, but overall the phone just doesn’t feel as user friendly as an iPhone.

All in all, I’m glad I made the switch from the Apple iPhone to the Android powered Samsung Galaxy. I’m a heavy tetherer and really enjoy having my own network to use whenever I want/need it. It’s cheaper. The maps make travelling as a photographer way easier. But it does have it’s tradeoffs as well.