Where my journey started…
Let’s travel back to the summer of 2011 – it was a great summer, and frankly I was feeling quite pleased with myself. You see, I’d just made myself the proud new owner of the latest and greatest mobile kit around: the Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGS2). Moving up from a beaten up, heavily scratched, tracker-ball-not-working Blackberry Curve 8900, you can imagine my delight. Fully unlocked with a 4.2-inch, 720p HD touch screen, with intensely vibrant colours (Super AMOLED+ they call it), an 8 MB camera with full 1080p HD video and hipster Android technology at its latest (then code-named Gingerbread). I’d done my homework – it was as good as, if not better than, the contemporary iPhone 4.
A match made in tech heaven!
This baby had everything I wanted in a phone! There was the eye candy, like the Samsung Touchwiz interface and interactive Live Wallpapers, and I was inside the wonderful new world of Android apps that, though not always as dapper as those in the iOS world, kept on improving (and some were actually even better than their apple versions). I could watch HD videos (with great free options such as BS player, VLC and MX player), and the music & radio players work superbly. If you’re into reading, there are a bunch of book & e-reader apps (Aldiko reader and Kindle being my favourites), and the usual social media portals such as Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. Not to mention a wide array of games, including all the popular ones like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Ant Smasher, and a smorgasboard of action, RPG and arcade titles like Final Fantasy and Grand Theft Auto. Oh yes, and if I actually wanted to do some work (LOL) there is Polaris Office and a pretty efficient and slick suite of pre-installed task-managing apps.
The device has also been very durable (or, as we say back home, “rahtid tough”). Through my personal stress test (constant “attention” from my pair of 2- and 5-year-olds) the phone has taken a good beating with barely more than a few scratches. It’s rock solid and seems unbreakable, in comparison to some other high-profile handsets. A plus is being able to switch batteries if I need to – it was like magic in the palm of my hand! After two-plus years, there are no dead screen pixels, no emergency calls to Samsung for a new screen to replaced a cracked one, and no real problems even as I’ve upgraded it to the latest iteration of the Android software (Jellybean). It’s the most perfect personal multimedia player I’ve ever had.
A fork in the road?
But, I must admit, I’m not feeling quite 100% satisfied . . . why, you might wonder? I’ll tell you why – it’s because of what I call “commercialized progress.” In the two years since I’ve bought my SGS2, there have been at least two other iterations already: the Samsung Galaxy S3 and now S4, not to mention various Google Nexus phones in between, and a spate of other competitors like the iPhone 5, Sony Xperia Z and the latest HTC One. All in under two years. . . . I’ve begun to get that familiar “grass is greener” feeling as I watch commercial after commercial telling me that last year’s SGS3 (and now the brand-new SGS4) should be my new life companion (wouldn’t my wife love to hear that one!). I’ve begun to consider upgrading, but do I need to or is it just the inner child in me crying for a new toy? I begin to wonder if I’m just another techie hitchhiker, eager to move on to the next best thing. Do I need that new 13 MP camera or that amazing 5-inch, 1080p HD screen? Would I even find use for the coolness of near-field communications (NFC), which my current phone will never have? It’s almost as if I’m cheating on my handset, taking looks over my shoulder at the pretty young models out there!
The journey continues…
But you know what I’ve realised? That’s quite alright. Like many other techies, I’ve realised that what I am is a hitchhiker. The journey doesn’t stop as long as I can stick that proverbial thumb out and catch a ride on the latest wave of technology. And for now, the perfect phone for me is not the popular status quo iPhone, and it’s not the latest thing in the HTC One. What fits my style for now seems to be the Galaxy S train. Once I can afford that next ticket, I’ll be on my way on the SGS4, SGS5 or whatever new ride passes me by with open arms down that information highway. Like Burning Spear – I’m on a Journey!