Friday, April 13, 2012

My unkillable Treo 700P

I bought my Treo 700P phone second-hand on ebay in 2008, and it's served me faithfully.  I've written enough apps for it so it works very much like I want it to work.  I only really wish it had a better web browser, but it's good enough to check my email on.

At one point, maybe a year or two into its service to me, I had to use an app to turn on the microphone and speakers to make phone calls, but this was fixed when I blew out the headphone jack--I think it was stuck in thinking that there were headphones attached. Two or three times, I've had keys become less reliable, but that's an easy fix--I just disassemble the phone, peel back the keyboard, and clean the contacts (acetone works well).

Yesterday, I thought it had finally kicked the bucket.  We had an on-campus Fiesta event, and there was a small pool of bubble solution, and my son and I were making bubbles, and the Treo slid from my shirt pocket into the bubble solution.  I checked that it didn't work, removed the battery, disassembled and dried it at home, and it still didn't work.

I then spent several hours looking at what Android options Sprint had for me.  I wanted a large screen (4.3" is really the smallest I'd want, at least in wide-screen format) and a hardware keyboard (on-screen keyboards aren't very good for typing serious technical emails, especially if you need to use braces and the like--apparently a lot of people don't use them much).  Alas, nothing met my desiderata.  The Galaxy S II had an OK sized screen (4.5") but no keyboard, and the Galaxy S had a keyboard but the screen is little too small (4").  Granted, my Treo's screen is much smaller, and its keyboard symbol support isn't great (but I wrote an app that helps with that), but if I am going to upgrade, I'd like to upgrade to something that will satisfy me, rather than make me wish for something else.

I was planning to drive to the Sprint store and get a Galaxy S this morning, when I did the last check of my Treo and found that after drying out more fully overnight, it's now back to good working order.  I wonder how many more months or years it'll last me.

Update: It's finally dead--see comments.


Dan Lower said...

I do CS work for Sprint, including basic troubleshooting. I'm glad the Treo's served you well; when you take that step the Androids are almost certainly your best bet for customization. From what Sprint has available / your requirements, looks like the Epic's your best bet. (If Sprint still had it I'd have recommended checking the EVO Shift, but they don't...)

Alexander R Pruss said...

The Shift is no doubt available on ebay, but its screen is too small.

Three things are keeping me using PalmOS devices, even though I have to use both a Treo and Palm TX to do everything I want. (1) The astronomy app that I use on PalmOS (AstroInfo) while generally inferior to SkySafari Pro, has some features that are important to me and that SkySafari lacks, and is easier for me to use (since I wrote a good deal of it!); (2) I prefer the precision of resistive stylus to capacitive finger navigation; and (3) there still isn't an Android ebook reader app that is as good for my purposes as Plucker.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I wonder if one could adapt one of the iPhone sliding bluetooth keyboard cases to fit a larger device, say by removing the phone case part, and epoxying in its place the case for a different phone. Would look clunky and be thick, but who cares about that? (Lots of people, but not I.)

Gorod said...

I am in a similar position as you: still using my Palm TX, but looking at Android phones for a purchase, one of these days.

I am very impressed with the "Swype" keyboard system I see some friends using on Android. It is so fast that it could compensate for some clumsiness with symbols (I don't know if it is good with symbols, but I'm guessing it's not).

I looked around for alternative keyboards (I use MessageEase on my Palm) and I had fun playing with Snapkeys. I could get decent results with their test app on the site, and it is very promising as a keyboard that does not take up screen space. I wonder how it does symbols too...

Alexander R Pruss said...

Last night, after trying to fix the G key on the Treo, the screen died. I might have been able to do a temporary fix, but I don't want to have an unreliable fix, so I rushed to the Sprint store and got a Galaxy S2 (no Epic 4G in stock, and I don't want to be without a phone). Very nice. I still need to root it (thank you, Library of Congress, for the jailbreak-for-phones exemption to the DMCA!), but I will wait for the 14-day return period to pass.

It has Swype built-in. I have Swype on a resistive Android mini-tablet (Archos 43), but it works a lot better on the Galaxy S2.

Now I need to make sure that I have good ebook and Bible readers. My main issues with Android ebook reading have previously been with speed of opening large books, but I am hopeful that with a faster device, it will be better.

I do wish Swype used the ATOMIK layout instead of QWERTY (I have ATOMIK on my Palm TX via myKbd, of which I am the author :-) ), but you can't have it all.