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03 December 2012 @ 01:01 pm
Nexus One vs Nexus 4  
I really love my Nexus One. It's a great phone. But it's getting rather long in the tooth. It's almost three years old at this point.

I haven't had enough room to install new apps in well over a year, in fact probably closer to two years. It's also suffering from a bug that causes it to reboot when connected to 3G for extended periods of time, so i'm mostly limited to 2G data speeds when away from home. It's also gotten kind of sluggish, the Activity Manager or whatever keeps locking up and needing to be rebooted. (Unfortunately the Activity Manager seems to be the one process that doesn't show up in Application Manager, so i can't force-restart it. It needs to get so slow that the OS itself notices the problem and asks me if i want to restart it.)

So i need a new phone. I'm kind of resigned to the fact that i'll never get another phone that has the cool LED trackball the Nexus One does. (The trackball is great for moving the cursor around when editing text.) However other than that i'd like to get a phone that's better in all areas. I'd also like to get another Nexus phone, because getting regular updates is nice.

The Nexus 4 has several very good things about it, aside from just being a Nexus device. However it also has a couple potential downsides. The first is that it's rather large. It has a 4.7 inch display, compared to the 3.7 inch on my Nexus One. The Nexus One fits easily both in my hand and in my pocket. I'm not entirely sure how well a larger device will work. (Hey 2gouda4u and thegreatgonz, have you guys gotten Nexus 4s yet? If so maybe i can try them out for size over christmas, if i hanen't come to a decision by that point.) More importantly, it only comes in 8 GB and 16 GB versions, with no Micro SD card slot. Oh yeah, and there have been some complaints about the glass plate on the back. Some people claim to have cracked it just by holding the phone in their hand for awhile and then setting it down on a cool, highly conductive surface, such as a stone countnertop.

I have an 8 GB micro SD card in my Nexus One, and it's almost full. So if i get the 16 GB version and just transfer over the stuff i've got now it will already be half full. Then i'll install a bunch of new apps (and apps have been getting larger over time. Zombies Run! notably comes with almost 300 MB of extra data) and want to add some more music, and maybe a movie or two. It wouldn't take very long to get back to right where i am now. Wondering what to delete every time i want to add something new.

There is a theory that Google has moved away from Micro SD slots in the more recent Nexus phones because they want to encourage people to take advantage of their cloud services. i.e. instead of making the cloud services attractive in their own right, they want to hobble the phones to force people to use them.

I have a couple problems with that. First, i'm on T-Mobile (because they're incredibly cheap, especially if you're buying a phone rather than getting it on contract) which means i don't have the best service ever. I realize i've got a somewhat restricted view of the issue at the moment because of the 3G bug, but even when i do switch on 3G for brief periods there are a lot of areas where i still only get 2G, including work most of the time. Second, if i start using the cloud for everything i'm much more likely to run into data limits. T-Mobile doesn't have a hard limit, but i believe they have a soft limit of 5 GB a month, after which they'll throttle your usage a bit. Third, i just don't like being dependent on the network that much. I want to load the stuff i really want to have on my phone so i can use them all the time without worrying about signal strength or data limits. Maybe someday bandwidth (and cloud server stability!) really will be ubiquitous and reliable enough that it won't be an issue, but we're not there yet. Some people have the theory that Google's elimination of micro SD slots from their devices is actually an attempt to force the networks to upgrade their coverage. I think someone has an overly optimistic view of how readily the networks respond to customer needs, though i'm not sure if it's the people who propose the idea or Google itself.

In any case, it seems like i've got a couple options.

1: Get the 16 GB Nexus 4 and live with restricted space for the next year or two.

2: Get a Galaxy S3. It's just as oversized as the Nexus 4, but it comes in 16 and 32 GB options, and has a micro SD slot that can add up to 64 GB more. Last i checked though the US version only has dual core, not quad core, and i'd have to root it and install Cyanogen if i wanted to be sure of regular updates.

3: Wait for the Galaxy S4. The rumors are that it will come out in April or May and have a quad core (hopefully for the US as well) and it will probably have a micro SD slot as well. Of course i'd have to root it and install Cyanogen.

4: Wait to see if a new version of the Nexus 4 will be released with 32 GB of space. The Nexus 7 had the exact same issues (i was willing to compromise in that case because i didn't already have a tablet) and they eventually capitulated on that one and came out with a 32 GB version.

5: Start checking new and upcoming HTC and Motorola phones to see if they come out with anything comparable to the Nexus 4 (but with micro SD) or the theoretical Galaxy S4. Of course i'd have to root it and install Cyanogen.

I really wish there was a company that did some kind of "design your own shell" thing. I'd love to have something with the main hardware of the Nexus 4, a trackball like the Nexus One, a slide out gamepad like the Xperia Play, and external hard fast-forward, pause/play and rewind buttons like not any phone i know of.
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