On Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:05:35 Carl Turney wrote:
I've never had a smart phone, and probably need to
get one soon. For
the time being, I'd rather use it just as a GPS... and as an Android
learning tool, when near our home wifi. (Moving up to a voice/data plan
some months from now.)
For what you are talking about you might be better off buying a cheap tablet.
Android phones and
tablets are almost identical apart from size and the ability to make phone
1) Could I run it as a GPS to help me navigate on the
road, even though
it would not have a SIM card in it? (i.e. Load some detailed Melbourne
roadmap and a GPS application into it at home via the wifi, and then
rely solely on the GPS to help me navigate from spot to spot as I do my
part-time casual driving job.)
Many phones will refuse to boot without a SIM, but an inactive SIM will be
fine. So keeping a collection
of old SIMs is a good idea. I can probably bring one to the next LUV meeting
if you end up getting a
phone that needs a SIM.
The Open Street maps program has been mentioned, the app name is "osmand".
The "free" version
allows a limited number of vector maps to be downloaded, from memory I think
you can have 10
maps when all you probably need is the world map and the map of Australia.
Osmand wasn't very useful for looking up locations last time I tried (there
was no partial search
facility). But if you just want to look at a map of your current location
with a dot showing where you
are then it works really well.
Unless you are going to be regularly out of range of cell towers this won't be
an issue. I expect that
you will get a 3G plan that has a decent amount of data included soon enough.
Once you try a
modern smart phone you're sure to like it.
2) Do (m)any Android smartphones have removable and
available/affordable after-market batteries? (I tend to hang on to
things for a long time, and it's always the batteries that die [over
time] on such devices for me. Manufacturer's replacement batteries tend
to cost as much as an entire device.)
Most of them have removable batteries. I've bought replacement batteries from
Mugen Power in the
past and found them to be quite good. Mugen specialise in batteries that are
better than those
shipped by the manufacturer. They aren't the cheapest seller but you're
looking at maybe $35 for a
battery that works well instead of maybe $15 for one that probably doesn't.
Also you can get a case which has a battery for many of the more popular
phones, in the above blog
post I review one that I got for my Galaxy S3.
It has been noted that the LG Nexus 4 is one of the few phones that doesn't
allow replacing the
battery. It's also one of the phones that doesn't have an option of buying a
battery case (or at least it
didn't when I wanted to buy one). The battery on the Nexus 4 doesn't last
nearly as long as the
Galaxy S3 (see the above URL). So I while the Nexus 4 is cheap and full
featured it's not the phone to
get if you want good battery life.
You can get external battery packs for phones. This is OK if you want to have
a large battery in your
pocket while playing Ingress but not good for most other phone use.
3) Can one reasonably connect a REAL keyboard to a
smartphone? (I hate
the absurd tiny touch-keyboards on small devices, and the quasi-Morse
Code of using a phone number pad.)
There are a variety of Bluetooth keyboards available, the majority of them
aren't real keyboards (not
nearly as big as on a laptop) but they can be a significant improvement for
some people. I bought
one and didn't find it particularly useful, I found that a better solution to
the problem of a tiny on-
screen keyboard was to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
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