In the basement of Coffman Union on Wednesday while waiting for Welcome Week activities to start, I was idly listening to an Audible audio book. I realized that I hadn’t thought to check my bus schedule for the ride back home later that day.
I had choices: find a computer, use my computer, use the browser on my phone or just ask someone. Going in order, finding a computer is easy since there’s a lab in Coffman but I didn’t need to check in just for that. Using my laptop wasn’t an option because I didn’t bring it to Welcome Week. I figured I’d be, you know, busy. Asking someone? No way.
Using the browser on my phone was the solution. My epiphany came from this moment. I attempted to look up my bus schedule. Here’s how it went down.
- Make two swipes to slide the unlock bar on the lockscreen; the first one didn’t register right.
- On the Audible control screen (where the scrobbler, pause, play, fast forward and so on are), hit home key
- On the homescreen, hit the tiny browser icon in the lower right corner
- Wait for it to launch
- Tap into the address bar, wait for the keyboard to come back up
- Very slowly and deliberately type
metrotransit.org, make a few mistakes, retype and so on
- Wait patiently for the slow Wifi-G speeds to deliver my page
- Tap the Trip Planner, target the text fields, type the proper addresses
- Attempt to scroll down the page
- Read the schedule information
- Sigh, because it took forever to do all this
Really, it’s not so many steps. But that’s when you don’t feel the bad stutters for transitions, the slow keyboard input and annoying short interface freezes. These things add up.
I wanted to write about this on Wednesday. I realized why people like these Apple products so much. In the basement at Coffman, I realized I wanted to reach for my MacBook Air and write. Just write. I wanted to reach for my phone and just look up that transit schedule, get it done and get back to listening to my audio book.
Android works well. I love using it and it’s just fine. But you know that moment when you’re doing something you enjoy and the next moment you need to actually get something done? I had that moment and I felt like my phone was getting in the way. So it’s a small epiphany. The way I would use the iPhone is probably the way Microsoft intends with their system, get in, get out, and get back to life (or a completely fictional futuristic science fiction audio book). The phone shouldn’t, at the very least, get in the way of doing something on the phone. Android is simple; there isn’t an endless amount of configuration, there is no secret about:config in Android that allows me to tweak everything. I don’t need that either. I just need the speed to get things done.
Get back to life.