My Take on Android, and Zio

So it's been almost a month since I bought my Android-based Sanyo Zio. Here're my short reviews of both Android in general, and the Zio (zy-oh) in particular.

Android - Unfortunately, I'm stuck on version 1.6. Though Cricket says they will be updating these eventually, nobody knows when. Even so, I've loved everything about it. I love the Google contact and calendar synchronization. I'll never have to transfer contacts, so long as I own an Android-based phone. I also love the Gmail and Facebook apps. Here's a finer break-down of various applications that I've found useful:

  • Handcent SMS - This takes the stock text messaging software and upgrades it. It's fully customizable and allows message threads to be viewed as conversation bubbles. It also integrates Google's talk to text to make sending messages keyboard-free.
  • Aldiko - Reading is my favorite hobby. And with Aldiko, I can read any free online book. My favorite economics/libertarian destination, the Mises Institute, offers most of their works for free. I'm working my way through several of their books.
  • Gospel Library - Scriptures, General Conferences addresses, and the Priesthood/R.S. manual in the palm of my hand. Love it.
  • Hapi Podcast - I've used this intuitive tool to download and listen to my favorite podcast episodes.
  • Google Maps Navigation - I've used this to calculate time to destinations, and to test routes. It works as well as Garmin's or TomTom's. It's currently Beta software, and only available on Android, I believe.
  • Pixelpipe - As soon as I snap a photo, it uploads it to Picasa, instantly and automatically archiving my photos "in the cloud".
  • There's plenty more apps that I use from time to time, but not as often as the above.
Zio - The phone is pretty solid. It's on the less expensive end, which means the processor is only 600 Mhz and the camera takes 3.2 megapixel shots. I won't complain. It was only $225, and one of only two smartphones that Cricket offers (the other is the Blackberry Curve). Cricket's unlimited everything Android plan is only $55/month, no contracts. My biggest complaint would be the battery. I think the manufacturer's claims are wrong. My standby has never lasted more than 18+ hours. They claim 300+ hours. As soon as the local Cricket store has replacement batteries, I'll be giving them a visit and demanding a better battery. (Yes I've considered everything the phone could be running in the background, but it's still performs poorly with all of that disabled.)

All-in-all, I'm happy with the purchase and the value it provides. It's an eBook reader, GPS navigation, camera, mobile Internet, MP3 player, and cell phone, in one. Simply amazing.