October 24, 2014

I Really Want a Swiss Army Phone

swiss-army-collectorThis article is a guest-blogger response to a previously posted opinion piece entitled “Do I Really Want a Swiss Army Phone?” written by one of our staff members.

Not that many years ago, when I went on business trips I used to carry a whole host of devices. Cell phone, media player, GPS, PDA, digital camera, plus a few smaller items (like WiFi detector). Taken together, they took up half my bag – and although I did my best to consolidate their various power requirements, batteries and chargers added quite a bit more.

Now, guess what? Nine times out of ten, I just take my G1. Sure, if I need to do serious work on the road a laptop will come along, but for many minor tasks – including email and web surfing – I’m happy with the handset. As an Android enthusiast, it’s hardly surprising that I love my “Swiss Army Phone,” but on a practical level it has also really lightened my load.

I’m not arguing that my G1 does everything better than all of those. It will always be the case that a top-notch, optimized specialist is better at its one job than a generalist is. For example, when I go out running I like my tunes, so I wear an old (but tiny) Qoolqee X – and when it dies, a new Sports Walkman is in my sights. I’d never take my G1 running. But the rest of the time, I’m not that much of a media junkie, and I’m perfectly happy with Android’s default player. It’s taken the place of other player hardware for me, in no small part because I always have it with me.

Which brings me to the other reason why an Android handset is the convergent device of choice: If you don’t like the media player (or any other app), you can change it! The Market has a bunch of player options, SlideMe has more, and of course, if push comes to shove you can even build your own. It’s as if you could replace the crappy scissors on your Swiss Army knife with a Fiskars, or the knife blade with a Henckel, or the awl you never use with a Torx driver that’s just the size you need.

A Swiss Android Phone? Yes please!

PS: For old-school hardware, skip the Swiss Army knife and go with a Leatherman. ;^)