Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Google Android Phone

android   Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Google Android PhoneYou don’t have a Google Android phone yet?  Why not?  Going by many opinions out there, Android phones are the cream-of-the-crop. Without trying to start an all out flame war with the iPhone fan boys, I think you should take a look at Google’s prize of a mobile operating system.

Truly the Android is not just any phone.  Yes, you can talk and text on it, but it doesn’t stop there.  Your Android phone works hard to connect your digital life to your real life.

How many awesome articles have we shared with you so far talking about all of the cool stuff you can do with a Google Android phone?  Try some of these on for size:

Sold yet?  If you’re like I was and are in the market to get an Android phone, you need to know some things about the cell phone services offering them with their plans.

What Android Phones Do The Cell Phone Services Offer?

These days most companies offer at least some Android phones.  AT&T offers a few, so does Sprint. You can also get a Verizon android phone. Who should you go with?  Do some research and see which phone you actually want.  For instance, I was originally looking for the Droid 2 and only Verizon offered those at the time (screenshot from the Motorola site).

droid2   Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Google Android Phone

Then I was looking for the HTC Evo (which I finally decided on) and Sprint offered those at the time (screenshot taken from the HTC website).

evo   Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Google Android Phone

My suggestion?  Do some research and narrow down a few of the best services in the area and only look for the phone you’re looking for within their offerings.  Then and only then narrow down the phone you want.  What good is your favorite phone with a bad plan or coverage (we’ll get into those next).

What Kind Of Plans Does The Cell Phone Company Offer?

Price is a big deal for most people.  When you begin looking, you will notice that most companies require some sort of minimum data plan to come with all smart phones.  This, I believe, is because when data-centric phones began hitting the market, people were inadvertently using data without knowing it.  The problem comes when a data plan is not purchased, the as-you-need-it basis is very expensive.  Now, they make you get some sort of data plan to avoid much of the trouble.

Personally, I found a company that offered me the best deal on unlimited data.  This gives me all kinds of room to use and test all the many Android features.  One example is if you are planning on using services that stream music such as Pandora you will be using a lot of data (the app even warned me before getting too far into using it).  Also, think about how much data you’ll be using if you stream or upload a lot of video.

If you are planning on making full use of the Android Market with all of the free apps for downloading, you’re going to want a good amount of data to use.  My advice, do what I did and find a good deal on unlimited data.

Then there’s the minutes and texting.  I also chose unlimited texting because I use it all the time.  If you don’t, don’t waste the money.  You may even be able to find a plan offering free cell-to-cell and considering how many people these days have cell phones this kind of deal could be a decision-maker.  As far as Android phones go, watch the data.  You may talk and text very little but depend heavily on Internet-based apps and services.  Watch… your… data!

Coverage Can Make Or Break A Google Android Phone

You can have the best phone the market has to offer and could have even scored yourself the best cell phone plan on the planet but if you have no coverage where you are, what’s the point?  Look closely at the maps all of the companies  should have on hand.  They ought to be able to show you where you can and can’t get service and whether or not roaming charges will apply.

verizonmap   Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Google Android Phone

If you are thinking about adding 4G on your plan, make sure it’s offered in your area.  Don’t waste your precious money on something you can’t use.

My Conclusions From Personal Experience

Before I share my personal opinions, realize they are relative to my own needs and my area.  If something is not true or available in your area, it’s not my fault.

As far as coverage and service goes, Verizon rocks the Central New York world.  Everyone knows that Verizon has the largest strongest reach and the fact is never really argued.  They offer a few of the cooler Android phones like the Droid 2, Droid X and Droid Incredible.  I believe their data plan is one of the most expensive, however.

The other big player, in my opinion, is Sprint.  They offer a good plan that includes unlimited data, talk and text.  The price is very reasonable so they got my attention.  They didn’t have as good coverage as Verizon but they roam off Verizon’s towers for free so all is good.  Offering the HTC Evo sealed the deal.

Do you have an Android phone?  What kind do you have and what kind of service are you sporting with it?  Tell us what you think.

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34 Comments -

0 votes

Budly

Considered a droid, but I need a databasing program for business. Asked the Verizon salespeople. They told me there are 10,000 apps to choose from, and “Go fish.”. . . not especially customer friendly. Searched the Droid store and found nothing. Googled, “Database apps for OiPhone”. . . got 5 choices. Currently waiting for the December / January, Apple / Verizon “announcement”.

Does anybody know of a database app for Droid phones?

0 votes

Anonymous

Have you considered looking for some sort of web-based database app? That would work on any smart phone.

0 votes

Budly

Considered a droid, but I need a databasing program for business. Asked the Verizon salespeople. They told me there are 10,000 apps to choose from, and “Go fish.”. . . not especially customer friendly. Searched the Droid store and found nothing. Googled, “Database apps for OiPhone”. . . got 5 choices. Currently waiting for the December / January, Apple / Verizon “announcement”.

Does anybody know of a database app for Droid phones?

0 votes

Helnes

Have you tried searching for database on appbrain.com. Think you will be surprised what you’ll find

0 votes

Helnes

Have you tried searching for database on appbrain.com. Think you will be surprised what you’ll find

0 votes

Richard Minerich

Is Sprint 4G not all that good in the NYC area? What are Verizon’s plans for 4G like?

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

not sure, you’d have to check Verizonwireless.com. For me 4G is a bit over rated bc 3G works fine while traveling and WiFi is readily available when I’m not.

When coverage on general gets better I’ll probably look into a plan.

0 votes

Kdgray

T-Mobile’s 3G is better that Sprint’s 4G in New York… Just saying.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

not sure, you’d have to check Verizonwireless.com. For me 4G is a bit over rated bc 3G works fine while traveling and WiFi is readily available when I’m not.

When coverage on general gets better I’ll probably look into a plan.

0 votes

watou

Don’t forget T-Mobile! I bought my G1 phone in 2008 and I’ve been very pleased with it, although it’s now outdated and won’t run the latest version of Android (2.2). T-Mobile is coming out with a new selection of Android phones by the end of the year that will compete with the other carriers’ offerings.

Another consideration for those who travel outside the U.S. is whether the phone uses GSM networks and SIM cards, the mobile phone standard used by most of the rest of the world. T-Mobile and AT&T (formerly Cingular) are the only nationwide carriers to use GSM, which means if you go to Europe, for example, you can very cheaply purchase a SIM card from a European carrier, replace it inside the phone, and off you go with a new phone number. (You will first have to unlock your phone, but T-Mobile will do this for free after your first 90 days on the plan, or you can pay someone on the Internet to give you the unlock code.) I have used my T-Mobile G1 phone in Ireland, France, Spain and Morocco, including 3G Internet access, with no problems.

0 votes

Jimmy

Shut up. Keep T-Mobile cheap and bandwidth available by suggesting people use Verizon.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

These are some good considerations. Thanks.

0 votes

watou

Don’t forget T-Mobile! I bought my G1 phone in 2008 and I’ve been very pleased with it, although it’s now outdated and won’t run the latest version of Android (2.2). T-Mobile is coming out with a new selection of Android phones by the end of the year that will compete with the other carriers’ offerings.

Another consideration for those who travel outside the U.S. is whether the phone uses GSM networks and SIM cards, the mobile phone standard used by most of the rest of the world. T-Mobile and AT&T (formerly Cingular) are the only nationwide carriers to use GSM, which means if you go to Europe, for example, you can very cheaply purchase a SIM card from a European carrier, replace it inside the phone, and off you go with a new phone number. (You will first have to unlock your phone, but T-Mobile will do this for free after your first 90 days on the plan, or you can pay someone on the Internet to give you the unlock code.) I have used my T-Mobile G1 phone in Ireland, France, Spain and Morocco, including 3G Internet access, with no problems.

0 votes

GeekLad

I’m very happy with my EVO.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

Me too. I wasn’t sure how I’d like a touch screen keyboard but I’m very happy so far.

0 votes

Android Proxy

The only problem with android mobiles is that they lack proxy support…But some of the custom roms offers these proxy settings…

0 votes

Davidmatus

I currently have a EVO with Caulkin ROM can’t complain 4G Speeds around 6~8 MB and 3G speeds around 2~3 MB I like the fact that I can completly customize the phone whatever I want remove and install anything i want from the phone.

0 votes

ms4130

T-Mobile & Nexus one owner here. The network I would say is pretty good where I live, but I don’t have any big hopes for it if I’m on vacation or something. It’s nice to research so you can get into a plan when the deals are good. Because mobile plans stick with you for a long time, it IS worth the research. I like Android and Gmail sync. I love sharing pics and using Seesmic and the Facebook app is nice too.

0 votes

timmyjohnboy

I was pretty nervous about traveling with Sprint but roaming on Verizon towers for free made my last trip painless. Many accommodations offer WiFi so that helps for the Internet.

0 votes

Tak

I almost went Android. Then i checked out their app store. What a bunch of terrible apps. The only one I would consider buying is Angry Birds.

Got an iPhone.

0 votes

Tak

I almost went Android. Then i checked out their app store. What a bunch of terrible apps. The only one I would consider buying is Angry Birds.

Got an iPhone.

0 votes

bb

you kids still making justifications to yourself for NOT jumping on the iPhone?

android is garbage.

0 votes

bb

you kids still making justifications to yourself for NOT jumping on the iPhone?

android is garbage.

0 votes

KW

bb is just like every other moron on the apple bandwagon. Keep giving them money to make crappy products “kid”

0 votes

kyle

When I heard Google was discontinuing the Nexus One, I bought mine. I’ve got an old grandfathered plan on AT&T that I’m very hesitant to give up. For $52 after tax, I get my 600 daytime/5000 night and weekend minutes with rollover, 1500 sms with additional costing one cent each, and 200 mms. I’m in the DFW area where AT&T coverage is good and isn’t too overloaded.

Another plus…GSM. If I’m ever going out and doing anything physical, I can put my sim in a more rigged phone and not worry about breaking it.

0 votes

Bigjim

they arent iPhones, nuff said

0 votes

Tanya

I agree, iPhones are the superior race

0 votes

Bisonwerks

I have a Sprint Samsung Moment. What strikes me as the most important phenomenon is that it runs too many background apps that chew up the battery. Even when you use Advanced Task Killer, it seems that I can’t browse on it for 30 minutes without the battery dying. I always have a spare battery with me as one is simply inadequate.

Likewise, I had to replace one phone that would not completely reboot after changing out the battery. Had to have a new phone sent to me–the techs at the Sprint shop couldn’t identify the problem causing this.

Moreover, this reboot problem, which is intermittent, can be a real pain when traveling, especially when one uses Sprint Navigation. Sprint Navigation is slower than pond water. Often, after turning the program on, it will take 15 minutes for it to find a proper GPS and by then, at highway speeds, you can get a long way off.

Additionally, some pockets in cities will get no coverage at all. Was traveling in downtown Houston over Labor day weekend and could not get service. Houston is not exactly the boonies.

I hope as models evolve, that they find a way to balance the power consumption of background functions so that you can use the phone for hours at a time, instead of a half a hour or less. The main G3 signal is intermittent as well and often does not work indoors in office buildings.

0 votes

Bisonwerks

I have a Sprint Samsung Moment. What strikes me as the most important phenomenon is that it runs too many background apps that chew up the battery. Even when you use Advanced Task Killer, it seems that I can’t browse on it for 30 minutes without the battery dying. I always have a spare battery with me as one is simply inadequate.

Likewise, I had to replace one phone that would not completely reboot after changing out the battery. Had to have a new phone sent to me–the techs at the Sprint shop couldn’t identify the problem causing this.

Moreover, this reboot problem, which is intermittent, can be a real pain when traveling, especially when one uses Sprint Navigation. Sprint Navigation is slower than pond water. Often, after turning the program on, it will take 15 minutes for it to find a proper GPS and by then, at highway speeds, you can get a long way off.

Additionally, some pockets in cities will get no coverage at all. Was traveling in downtown Houston over Labor day weekend and could not get service. Houston is not exactly the boonies.

I hope as models evolve, that they find a way to balance the power consumption of background functions so that you can use the phone for hours at a time, instead of a half a hour or less. The main G3 signal is intermittent as well and often does not work indoors in office buildings.

0 votes

Chris Hamann

This article should be named “Here’s How I Chose the Carrier for My New Phone.” It contains absolutely nothing you “need to know” before purchasing an Android phone.

0 votes

A4paperwhite

Got me an HTC Desire running on android 2.2. Happy with it. Lots of free apps on the market. And also lots of “free” apps on the torrent ” market”. Battery life comparable to iPhone, Wow factor is a bit less, but I can do whatever I want with “my phone”.

Sick of jailbreaking, so gave my iPhone 3GS to my son. Perhaps will have a look at iPhone 4 in January after getting feedback from my buddies

0 votes

A4paperwhite

Got me an HTC Desire running on android 2.2. Happy with it. Lots of free apps on the market. And also lots of “free” apps on the torrent ” market”. Battery life comparable to iPhone, Wow factor is a bit less, but I can do whatever I want with “my phone”.

Sick of jailbreaking, so gave my iPhone 3GS to my son. Perhaps will have a look at iPhone 4 in January after getting feedback from my buddies

0 votes

augustamauastor

You should take a look at all the bugs and missing features in Android:
http://code.google.com/p/andro
to know if it fits your requirements or you are better of buying an iPhone.

0 votes

Anonymous

You should take a look at all the bugs and missing features in Android:
http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/list
to know if it fits your requirements or you are better of buying an iPhone.