Tech Update, October 2011

I thought I’d post a quick tech update since I’ve added some new items to my personal gadget arsenal recently.

Last month I had the misfortune to drop and break the screen of my beloved Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader. After superb warranty service from Square Trade, I was ready to buy a new device. I decided to stay with Barnes & Noble since I have almost 200 Nook titles in my library, and picked up a Nook Color tablet. I was interested in the additional features available, but I was also enamored with the ability to “root” the Nook Color, bypassing the Barnes & Noble operating system and turning it into an Android tablet.

I had fun with the Nook Color for about five days, running the Android OS from a memory card, exploring apps, and reading e-books. Then Amazon announced the new Kindle Fire tablet, priced $50 lower than what I paid for the Nook Color. I anticipated that Barnes & Noble would have to respond to this new competition, and not wanting to be locked into the Nook Color at a higher price, returned it for a full refund.

While waiting for Barnes & Noble’s next move, I had another decision to make. My old phone was fast becoming inadequate for my needs since the company I work for turned off internet access for a majority of its employees earlier this year. Apparently there were too many people abusing that access and the rest of us paid the price. Regardless of the reason, I rationalized that it was finally time to get a smart-phone. The problem? I wasn’t due for an upgrade until a week or two ago.

Early in the search for a new phone, I had decided to go with an Android device. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be getting a bleeding edge device simply because of my frugal nature. While reading over the specs of the various devices available on Verizon’s web site, I finally settled on the Motorola Droid 3. I prefer a physical qwerty keyboard on my phone, and the lack of 4G wasn’t a deal breaker for me. And it cost me half of what the newest phones were going for, which made my wallet quite happy.

Since I picked it up I’ve been learning the ins and outs of the Android OS, some of which I picked up after rooting my Nook Color. I’ve also learned how to despise Verizon’s Backup Assistant app, which eventually caused me to have to re-enter all of my contacts by hand. One other important thing that I’ve learned is that without having a dedicated e-reading device, my reading suffers a lot. Since losing my Nook in September, I’ve read maybe 15-20 pages in the e-book I was in the middle of reading. And that’s with having the Nook Color (for 5 days) and the Nook apps installed on both my PC and my new Droid 3.

Since I’d confirmed my tendency to be distracted with these multi-purpose devices, I decided to go back to Barnes & Noble and purchase the newest e-Ink reader they sell, the Nook Simple Touch. While I’ll miss the 3G access I had on my original Nook, it looks to have several advantages over the original, including quicker page turns, longer battery life and a few others that I haven’t fully investigated yet. But the most important feature is that I’ll be able to get back to my reading without all the distractions of my other gadgets!