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Living the multiplatform lifestyle

189674_159374474115972_100001302616012_309709_6884672_nI will hardly ever admit having a problem, and even if I do, it’s not really a problem. So when people ask why I walk around with four phones, I simply ask them, “Why the hell would you walk around with one? Don’t you see that as a problem?” And so the confession/diagnoses begin.

First off, where does this problem come from? To be honest, I have no idea (yes I do.) Fine, I MUST own the latest and greatest. If it plugs in and is shiny, it must be paid for! It’s the sort of compulsive behavior that has been around since my high school days, and I have yet to shake it…. Not sure I want to either!

I can take this back to the days of palm pilots and Sony Ericson t68i’s, but I will not. Instead I’ll keep it focused on the modern day mobile platforms. So let’s start out with my multiplatform life a year ago. Back then (because it was so long ago) I was slowly beginning to realize my beloved windows mobile wasn’t up to snuff any more, and the venture to something new was at hand. So I tried Apple for a bit.

So while owning the iPhone 4 and the iPad 64gig 3G (and you make fun of HP naming conventions?) I still had a T-mobile HD2, a Blackberry Curve and a Blackberry Bold 9000. Before I get into what was best and what sucked, let me attempt to explain the dynamic of such a makeup.

Ya see, I can never fully understand why I need multiple phones, but I can hope to find individual uses for them all. And so, I’ve conditioned myself into thinking some devices are just better at or serve for specific tasks.

So the HD 2 was my pride and joy! Huge captive screen, monster processor, 2.5 mm jack and windows mobile. Back in its day this thing was a champion indeed, it actually prolonged the death of WM6.5 for most. This was the work horse, it did everything! Browsing the web, email, music, flashing roms (oh how I love thee xda-developers,) and last but not lease… bragging rights.

My Bold 9000 was my work device. Nothing special about it, but it just never left my side. My curve was a personal device and was strictly for Blackberry Messenger, and like its bigger brother, that too just worked.

Then came the iPhone 4 and its padded cousin. Not only were my habits turned upside down, but my reputation as a Microsoft fan boy was in jeopardy! Things changed very quickly. The iPhone 4 was becoming the preferred phone for texting, as its keyboard was simply better. Browsing the web on the iPhone 4 was a tad bit better, but still better. I now had access to silly ass apps I didn’t need, use or care for, but I had access to them. To maintain integrity as a Microsoft fan boy (obviously this is very important!) I will list no more “changes.” But just take my word for it when I say things changed quickly.

Then the next generation of my multiplatform life was introduced. Windows Phone was released. Much to my delight, T-Mobile did me a huge favor and signed up for the HD7, so it was an easy acquisition for me with no contract drama. So now the makeup was the HD7, iPhone 4, Bold and Curve.

It wasn’t long before things changed again. The HD7 was now the preferred phone for texting, as the keyboard was better. Browsing the web on the HD7 was better by a bit, but better. I didn’t care about useless apps I only launched once because I had Facebook integration in my people’s hub. To exercise my integrity as a Microsoft fan boy (obviously this is very important!) I will have you know the iPhone 4 was now useless! So useless in fact, it was sold along with the iPad shortly after.

Now I was down to three from four; the HD7, the Curve and the Bold. But this was alright, the Windows Phone did everything I could ever ask it to do. The blackberries, well they continued to do what I asked them to with no problems. All was well in paradise, but not for long.

I started to realize I was going through withdrawals; withdrawals from something I never even knew existed. I’ll simply call it “the itch.” Ya see, coming from the windows mobile school of hard knocks, tweaking, flashing and cab’ing was all I knew, it was a way of life. I had to be able to break it at will, in order for it to feel like it was a tech device. When I embraced the iPhone, I thought much of that would be dead, but it wasn’t. In fact, the only way to enjoy an iPhone is to jailbreak it, so the tweaking and breaking lived on. After I sold the iPhone, I hadn’t realized I sold with it the last of my ability to tweak.

The Windows Phone just worked. There was no need to flash roms, install cabs, hunt for apps on cydia to delete calls from history, none of that. It was simply amazing; but amazing at a cost. The itch was strong, something had to be tweaked, and something had to be broken! Sadly (or triumphantly if you’re Microsoft) nothing needed to be done. The phone did its job and it did it well. And so, I lived on.

It wasn’t until a friend recently showed up with a HTC Inspire; I realized I had it bad. I did the Android dance before, I owned the G1 when it was first released and I even ran Android on my HD2. I was no stranger to the wild wild west that is Android. I really had no interest in it at all, but something clicked. A voice deep inside shouted out “TWEAKING! FLASHING! NOTHING WORKS AND YOU COULD SPEND ALL NIGHT UP TRYING TO FIX IT!” And like the weakling I am, I was at the AT&T store 30 minutes later looking for an Android device.

So I got the Atrix! After owning the HD2 and the HD7 I decided HTC had seen enough of my money for the same 3 year old design, so the Inspire was not an option. Not to mention the Atrix had the new dual core this, 4G that and blah blah blah, so Atrix it is!

It just so happened, the very same day I acquired my Atrix, I decided to upgrade my personal Blackberry as well. Enter the Blackberry Torch. I’m not sure there is anything worth mentioning about the torch as a device, so I won’t. Why did it get it? Simple, it’s a status symbol. People judge you, based on how up to date your Blackberry is. Please don’t ask why I care, I’m pretty much that shallow.

Meanwhile, back at the Android ranch. Now I’ve got this shiny new Android Phone to break until my heart’s content. OH NO! Disaster! This thing is made by Motorola. The guardian and keeper of bootloaders until the end. All that flashing and tweaking I was itching to be a part of just went right through the door. I then had to convince myself it was okay, Android is loved by many so I figured I’d give myself time to grow accustomed to it.

The key to not making yourself look crazy in the multiplatform world is making sure each device has a purpose. So my Windows Phone handled my most important tasks throughout the day; emails, twitter, Facebook and browsing. The Torch did what it was always supposed to do, but with a bit more style; BBM. My bold 9000 for work was still a trooper and never let me down. And then there was the Atrix.

Going all the way with Windows Phone meant I was missing a few platform standards elsewhere. Things like multitasking, VOIP, and even video chat. True multitasking meant I could run instant messaging apps, twitter apps and cross platform IM apps all at once in an always connected state. So IMO IM, Live Profile and tweetcaster were the three responsibilities I gave the Atrix. DISASTER! The battery life on the Atrix would last no more than 2 hours. Dealing with the after effects of this was the most frustrating time I’ve ever spent with a device.

I did what was common knowledge to Android users; downloaded an app killing application to deal with out of control services. After doing some more research it turns out that was a bad idea for a device with android 2.2 or later. So I was stuck with one reality to help the battery; I would have to stop using the apps that were constantly running. This is an interesting occurrence, if I am not using these apps, then what would be the purpose of the phone? And if I do use these apps, the phone can’t stay alive long enough to enjoy them. To make things worse, random apps would crash for no apparent reason. I’ve even had the gmail app crash, that’s just silly! So now the Atrix has been reduced to an expensive Google Maps client. All the while hoping and praying that even that will not crash when I really need it.

My hopes for the Atrix were high. I viewed the device as the next “evo” in its own right. You see, the Evo has been around for what seems to be forever, but it is very much still a relevant device. Mainly because of the MOD community, but I saw this future for the Atrix. It has the latest dual core architecture that will surely be a standard for the next few years, a front facing cam for the fun stuff and it not a bad looking device. All of this fell through and failed miserably. Owning and using the Atrix on a daily basis made me to understand something very important and rarely exercised in technology. Hardware is the later of the equation.

What do I mean by this? Software optimization is key! Fancy hardware specs and all, the Atrix still couldn’t complete tasks any faster than my HD7. In fact, in most if not all cases, the Atrix was always slow in comparison. Simple things like scrolling through email, looking up a contact, browsing the web or even trying to take a pic really quick was all done supremely better on my HD7. Within days of owning the Atrix I already felt like it was time for a faster Android phone. After months of owning my HD7, I am not sure there is a need for a new one this coming fall. That’s a huge realization.

How am I to handle this? Well, for starters I’ll continue to rely on my Windows Phone as the work horse and prize winner. Instant Messaging, VOIP and other goodies will arrive in a few months with mango. I can live with that. The torch continues to serve its purpose; BBM is alive and well when I need it. My bold 9000 is still a trooper and I believe it will continue to be so. What of the Atrix? I really don’t know. It’s clear now more than ever, Android is NOT a solution or competitor to neither Windows Phone nor iOS. Android is far too sloppy to even dream of such. So do I replace my Atrix with an iPhone? Hardly! After using Windows Phone, iOS will never do. So I suppose I’ll just hold onto the Atrix until I get another urge someday soon.