Un-resolutions update

Back at the start of this revolution around the sun, I made some New Year’s Un-Resolutions. I’m pleased to say I haven’t faltered on any of them yet, though one’s looking a little shaky.

I’d like to report on one in particular, not because I think it’ll be of particular interest to anyone, but mostly to put on record my satisfaction with the company that has provided the service.

Whilst I’ve used an iPad this year, I’m pleased to say I haven’t bought one. That might change due to work requirements, but associated with that un-resolution was a commitment to not buy an iPhone. Well, today I took possession of a nice, shiny new Sony Ericsson Experia Arc courtesy of Virgin Mobile.

So why pick this one?

I went for Android over iOS simply because I wanted to keep my options open in terms of handsets and because I didn’t want to tie myself in completely with Apple’s infrastructure. I’m an Apple user and I absolutely love their stuff, but I also like Google’s ecosystem and am very comfortable with that.

I picked the Sony Ericsson partly due to their historical connection with Saab (I’m a little sentimental) but mostly because one of my mates at Maptun had one and it looked pretty impressive when he showed it to me.

And finally, I went with Virgin Mobile because their plans were hands-down the absolute best I could find in terms of suiting my phone needs. I’m not a heavy user at all and the company plans I saw during my research all seem to be geared towards heavy users. The $29 caps I could find (with a phone supplied) all had very minimal call credits included. In fact, the Virgin plan had more than twice the call credit than my next favourite plan ($450 with Virgin vs $180 with Optus).

Virgin use the Optus network so coverage shouldn’t be a problem at all. AND thanks to a web deal they’ve got on at the moment, I save $10 a month off my account for the first 10 months.

The Virgin Mobile setup process couldn’t have been easier. I signed up online yesterday and the phone arrived by courier at my home late this morning. I assembled the phone, completed the start-up process online and my phone’s been working ever since.

It’s not often that I praise a company publicly. I don’t know if every mobile phone company makes it this easy to get going, but I’m very impressed by Virgin Mobile’s setup and service so far.


Now…… anyone got any good app recommendations for Android? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


Other resolutions:

Not compromising on my next car purchase – I haven’t bought a car yet, so this one’s OK for now. I’ve come very close to buying an old Subaru Brumby small ute but have not pulled the trigger (yet). It’d be quite handy for carting stuff around. I’ve also made some enquiries about another vehicle I’d like to buy, but talks on that one are still ongoing.

Not neglecting my family – I think I’m going OK on this one. You might need to ask them.

No internet snark – Going well, though TTAC aren’t making this one easy. The site has deteriorated so much (further) since Ed Niedermeyer took some time off.

Not dying – I haven’t exactly improved my health, but I’m not dead. Score!

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  1. WhatsApp
    Angry Birds
    Blow Up

    There….but I’ve cleaned my Android from most apps since i’m returning it next week. (company phone)

    1. Best app for international calls is REBTEL.
      It allows you to call for free to your contacts who are also on REBTEL, or call very cheaply if they don’t have the app installed.
      By downloading it, you can see how all your international contacts will be categorized into β€œFree” or “Cheap”. If they are FREE you can call them as long as you want over WiFi or 3G regardless of what country they are in. Also it links in with your existing handset’s contact list so it is easy to use.

  2. Great call there, iOS is really a walled garden, I don’t think anyone rooting for Saab would go for that… πŸ˜‰
    SE Arc is absolutely awesome – as a matter of fact this is the only phone (sans its SE/Sony Xperia successors, of course) you can use at a live concert and record a show just fine from few steps away from a blasting woofer: auto-leveling of audio kicks in in a second or so. πŸ™‚ Also the camera is *far* ahead of everything else (yes, iPhone 4S sports the same Exmor chip but they don’t have half of the software features and no autofocus in video etc etc… Apple needs to learn this side of the business, period.)
    Since you are probably around my age group (40) concerts are one of those few things we can still afford besides managing time between work, family and getting some sleep. πŸ™‚
    That being said mine was stolen just two days ago πŸ™ so off the top of my head, after spending almost a year with my Arc:
    Dolphin browser – far ahead of stock one
    Amazon MP3 client & service – not sure if it’s the same Down Under but here in the US it’s literally UNLIMITED as long as you rent 20GB space for $20 a year because they do not count MP3s. πŸ™‚ Also there was a promo, when you bought any MP3 you got the first year of 20GB space (thus unlimited MP3 space) for free . πŸ™‚
    Box.com client – they have a promo here and in Europe, upgrading people 50GB space for free when they buy various, typically mobile stuff, not sure about it; I got it with my Touchpad but friend of mine got it with his Sony Ericsson phone…
    I’m a Track ID addict and I think it works far better than free alternatives (Shazam etc); make sure you have a shortcut on your Home screen so you can launch quickly when you hear something.
    I know you are a car person but in case you are out of your car here’s my fav headset: http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/accessories/overview/mw600?cc=us&lc=en
    For Macs they just released a new client: http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2012/01/31/are-you-a-mac-user/#more-4538
    Ah and you will get a free update to Android 4.0 in April, just keep watching the product blog: http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/

  3. wordpress
    pocket auction(ebay)
    google music (sign up via US proxy)
    most of the google developed apps
    + whatever floats your boat

  4. Hi Swade, my own freeware selection:

    K-9 Mail
    Dolphin Browser
    3CXPhone (voip)
    Navit (offline gps maps)
    GPS essentials
    ConvertPad (universal measures converter)
    Remote RDP Lite (remote desktop)
    SKEye (planetarium)
    Kingsoft Office (office suite)
    Astro (file manager)

    Let us know about battery lasting…

    Cheers. πŸ™‚

    1. I forgot:

      If somebody is, as I am, a former long time Palm user, there is an alternate input method for Android…

      …yes you can have Graffiti “keyboard”.


  5. Experia Arc?
    Do they also offer an Experia Vector and an Experia Aero?
    I like how you’ve abbreviated the brand name to SE. Maybe the phone appealed to you on a subconscious level.

  6. In the US, our Brumby was called Brat. What a great vehicle. In addition to SAAB, I have a great fondness for Subaru. I see them as the Japaneese SAAB. It would make a great hauler and would keep your 9000 in better shape. While nowhere near the driving experience of a SAAB, for what they are and what they do, Subbies are a fun drive. Go get one and a classic Alfa!

  7. Wow, I’ve always been known as a techno-geek, but I think I’ve finally passed into the realm of old fogey. πŸ™
    All I can offer is advice to watch your health!

  8. The Android system is getting rave reviews over the i-Phone. However these system are vulnerable to viruses and malware just like laptops. I highly recoomend free Avast protection.


    Also your employer can get in your stuff as well!


  9. Be Well for yourself , your family will know you care enough to be well for them as a result . If you find a C900 3dr T in outstanding condition , they can last forever 91 thru 93 seem best , take your time looking . However if you must buy another make , go out with your dear wife and just drive cars for a month and decide . and whats an app. ? =) Seems your doing well tho , you care , and are kind .

  10. Satisfied phone Android user here, on HTC Desire.

    from time to time I “test” android apps for car, you can find a couple of them here : http://saabism.blogspot.com/search/label/car%20apps

    next in the row will be this : http://www.ionroad.com/tour-nav , looks interesting

    other apps :
    FX Camera
    Flashlight (different from the default one)
    Hootsuite (twitter client)
    MortPlayer (mp3 player)
    Advanced Task Killer (spares time and clicks when killing apps)
    Unit Converter (metric conversion)
    Flight Director (toilet playing)

  11. I am a big fan of Evernote, a great app (for Android and any other smartphone, IOS devices, Macs, PCs, and via the web) for capturing just about any kind of info, and organizing it so you can find it again when you need it.

    I’ll type notes into it, or take snapshots. Legible text is searchable, so if you’re handwriting is better than mine, your searches will also find words in the pictures (like that great Cabernet you had, a business card, or even notes from a whiteboard).

    I love that it’s on all my computers, my smartphone, and I can even log into it from someone’s browser if I need to. There’s a version that’s optimized for your iPad, too.

  12. The best and most verstile app for Android ever: Tasker
    It’s not free, but less than 5 euros.

    So what does it do?
    Anything you damn well want it to do! It’s basically like an ‘if x then y’ app. Where x is a state, location, trigger, app and y is an action, setting, whatever. You can automate your phone in a lot of ways. For example have wifi switch on when you come home. Or disable the lockscreen when you’re in your car and connected to your carkit. Switch to silent when you are at the office. Or more complex, trigger an alarm with silent mail containing your location by just sending a specific text.
    Google for it, sites like Lifehacker have a lot of info on the possibilities!

  13. I bought a Motorola Droid a few years ago when I decided it was time for me to get with it and join the brave new world of smart phones. I wanted an iPhone, to be honest, but there was no way I wanted to be beholden to AT&T, the only service provider in the US at the time that sold iPhones. AT&T was/is notorious for dropped calls in major markets (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago) and equally notorious for its snippy customer service. My Droid, with Verizon as my service provider, came with a truly wonderful navigation app. I downloaded a bunch of other apps, all of them free. Why buy apps, I thought, when it’s likely I wouldn’t use them regularly? Verizon, by the way, isn’t necessarily a paradigm of corporate virtue, but it’s light years ahead of AT&T.

    The Droid was a good phone. But not long ago, at the end of my two-year contract, Verizon started selling the iPhone 4S. So I bought one at a greatly reduced price for being a “loyal customer” of Verizon. All things considered, even though I have to pay Verizon for its VZ Navigator app, I prefer the iPhone to the Droid I owned. I’ve downloaded some free apps. FYI: Siri is a nice feature. She/it even has a sense of humor. I asked Siri, for example, to tell me a joke. She/it said, “An iPhone walks into a bar. (Pause) I forget the punchline.” πŸ™‚

    Re apps. There are so many free apps on both the Android and iOS platforms that every man, woman or child who uses a smart phone should be able to find more than enough apps to stay perfectly contented. A great app I recently found and installed on my iPhone – TuneIn Radio – gives me access to radio stations from around the world (my favorite NPR stations, the BBC, rock and classical music stations in the US and elsewhere, etc.). I don’t know if it’s available for Android phones, but it’s worth a search.

    I have nothing to say about your other resolutions, Swade, though all of them sound perfectly reasonable, especially the one about staying in touch with your family and the one about not dying. Internet snark? It’s awful. Worse, on occasion, is the wild speculation frequently found on “friendly sites.” Cars? Sometimes I look back on the cars I’ve owned during my life (a couple of Porsches, an Alfa Spyder, an Audi TT, a few Saabs, etc.) and rue the fact that my current car is a nice but totally boring 2003 VW Passat V6 4Motion wagon. In truth, the Passat is good enough. To date, it’s gotten me where I’ve wanted to go. If it breaks, I’ll replace it with another car that’s good enough.

    I, too, have avoided jumping on the iPad bandwagon. The Kindle I bought when they were introduced meets my needs for e-book reading, and my MacBook Air is a great computer. I’ve got a feeling that somebody, probably Apple, will come along with something new that’ll get me juiced up and ready to open my wallet.

  14. I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy since May ’11 and have tried to be selective what apps I install. The ones below are all free and all pretty good.

    My favs:

    Silent Sleep – Set a time to turn of audio notifications so I can sleep at night, then automatically turn them on in the morning so I don’t miss calls. I couldn’t live without this one.

    Software Data Cable – Access your phone via ftp from your PC browser (your phone on your wi-fi network)

    Dolphin Browser


    Flashlight – Because I’m always crawling in the dark behind someone’s computer

    GO Keyboard – Seems a little better than standard Android issue, but still not as good as the iPhone keyboard, IMO

    IMDb – because it’s always right there when I want it

    Netflix – don’t use too much, but it works

    Pandora – can be great on a long trip, play through your bluetooth or iPod jack

    TuneIn Radio – Stream tens of thousands of radio stations worldwide

  15. Had this phone for a year now, got a really good price on it just when it was released. The hardware is slightly old by now and some would say it feels a bit plastic. But compared to the phones the one’s saying my phone feel plastic owns, this one feels good and balanced in the hand and as big the screen is, the phone is extremely lightweight. The camera still is second to no other mobile camera and the arc is getting the hot new Ice Cream Sandwich update this spring. The only real complaint i have about it is the battery bug. The battery rests on the back cover of the phone, that’s not unusual but in this case the back cover is to soft and flexible which with time results in the battery disconnect and make the phone restart if you are a bit uncaring when you place it on the table or wherever. This might be solved in later generations but anyhow the not so sexy way to fix this bug is to fold something like a 3M note two times and place it on top of the battery before putting the back cover on.

    Well.. the phone has one more bug to. It’s the last in line of great SE phones.
    I guess the Sony-only one’s will be just as nice but Ericsson once built not only all the roads -they also built all the vehicles populating it. Now they sold the vehicle business to be all road building and i hope they can continue staying on top doing this engineering stuff.

    The Arc is actually my first SE phone, before this one i only had Nokia phones before but since Nokia completely ignored the Android-train they was not an option when i bought a smartphone. I’m also skeptical about their new Microsoft endeavor but i will continue look for a reason to buy a phone that looks like their latest smartphones. Those phones are real design and not only what is perceived to be design.

    1. Are you sure you’re talking about the Arc?
      Early Xperia X10s had a problem like that, never heard Arc having that especially when it’s an ‘arc’ backpanel…

      “The battery rests on the back cover of the phone, that’s not unusual but in this case the back cover is to soft and flexible which with time results in the battery disconnect and make the phone restart if you are a bit uncaring when you place it on the table or wherever. This might be solved in later generations but anyhow the not so sexy way to fix this bug is to fold something like a 3M note two times and place it on top of the battery before putting the back cover on.”

      My Arc was an early retail one and never had this issue.

      1. AFAIK Ericsson never built a single Sony Ericsson phone. Not one, nada, nil, zip.
        SE was always a completely separate entity, owned by Ericsson, a network vendor, and Sony, a consumer electronics and entertainment giant – but they operated completely on their own (eg I remember when they couldn’t build enough of one of their hit phones due to the lack of parts (panel?) because Sony just sold their stocks to Samsung.)

        All phones are built in China, as far as I know and actually it’s a good thing Sony is taking over: now they can focus on a lot of missing feature integration that they couldn’t/didn’t do due to the shared nature of SE (think of IP issues.) At the same time Ericsson will continue to share its patent pool with Sony (for money, of course :)), so I think things are just getting better.

        1. I wasn’t really talking about SE phones as much as i was nostalgic about the times when the phones was called Ericsson only. well..

      2. Well, you have to trust me, it’s not a X10 πŸ˜‰
        If the fit is not tight enough i cant see why it helps whatever shape the back panel has. But also this might be an isolated problem and i was just unlucky when i bought mine

  16. The war between iOS and Android. I love it πŸ˜‰
    We use as company smartphones Windows Phone with Exchange Active Sync. Private Smartphones can be used if they’re iOS based. What should I say? The iOS devices have the less problems than Windows Phone, much more less. We just started a pilot rogramm with 50 Androids in a special environment, where we can control them (own cell net). For any other case a android smartphone can only used as a phone or PIM device but not a sync device. Enterprise support with Android is able with a Samsung as it’s best supported by mobile device management systems.
    Android is open, a reason why it’s – I personally call it – unsecure. Why.
    o Google has no formal process to test/ check apps against policies
    o reports from Symantec and Juniper Network shows the spread of malware on Android in opposite to iOS and WP. Android is top of he line πŸ˜‰
    o as iOS has the biggest share in Webusage of all devices (75% ?) it as the most less problems with malware.

    For the private usage an Android phone is nice and cheap. But keep it clean.
    I never will use Android, I’m full Apple minded – with success since 2 decades. Never change a winning team.

  17. It was only on certain carshows that Saab and SE cooperated. There where also a coop with Nokia if you remember.

    1. If Nokia had released their new phone here, the Windows one, I’d have definitely taken a look at it. They haven’t though. All you can do is register your interest on their website. The latest Nokia available here is on a platform they’re about to abandon, which is not somewhere I want to go. Maybe when it comes time for renewal….

      1. Yes, they abandoned that platform even before the started to sell the phone. Its a shame since its such a beautiful and well built piece of hardware. it’s going be interesting to se what luck they have with that windoze platform but it’s gonna take some real effort and spending for them to even have chance to compete with the two big ones. The Times They Are a-Changin, its not more then a few years ago Microsoft dominated the world and now they are struggling to keep up. With everything that isn’t “office related” at least.

    1. Pete, there’s only one vehicle experience I’d be willing to repeat at the moment – the 99T. I’ve made some enquiries about that, as you know. Otherwise, I’d like something I haven’t had before.

  18. Cel phones are evil ; the End of Western Civilisation. Period.
    Sometimes circumstances force vehicular compromise – hold on/out as long as you can tho.
    ‘ttac’ is also evil and symptomatic of the end of Western Civilisation. Avoid at all costs.
    Family time is good, and imperative to Western Civilisation’s [tentative] survival.
    Swade’s survival is also good for Western Civilisation – take care! πŸ™‚

  19. Swade,

    I too have abandoned by iPhone and gone the Android/Virgin Mobile route. Virgin mobile offers an unbeatable deal in USA, with unlimited data and text and plenty of minutes for less than half of what the major guys charge. And since Sprint owns Virgin, it runs on their network. I’ve had it for several months now, and while its not a polished at the iPhone, its certainly worth the approx $70 savings each months.

    One of my favorite apps is Kayak for Android. I rely on it quite often…


  20. “Not compromising on my next car purchase” – I with you. Also, …

    I’m not dead yet.

    Thought you would want to know.

  21. Well, good luck with updates, good luck with hardware extensions over poor USB (versus rich dock connector), good luck with interfacing with other devices, and good luck with malware.

    I note that while Android now is on more phones sold, also in Germany, I virtually see only iPhones in public transports or places. This led me to assuming that iPhone users are permanently actively using their devices, while Androids remain in the pockets. I wonder why.

  22. Hi Swade
    what happened to the beautiful 900 you got in Sweden?
    R u shipping it back to Oz?