My previous post was written within 24 hours of my purchase of the new Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone.  The key factors behind the post were:

  1. I had never experienced Android before (any version!)
  2. I had no personal experience of a true smartphone – I’d been a Blackberry 8800 user for a while.
  3. I have mostly been an Apple customer since switching from the Wintel world a couple of years ago.

The key points I hoped to make were:

  1. The Samsung Galaxy SIII is a gorgeous device to use!
  2. The learning curve for Android 4 is non-trivial!
  3. The learning curve for the phone is non-trivial!

Now, one week into my Galaxy SIII experience, I have additional reflections on my experience with this device and with Android.

Open versus Closed Platforms

Behind my key points 2 and 3 above are the pros and cons of an open platform such as Android and a closed platform such as Apple’s iPhone or RIM‘s Blackberry and their ecosystems.  Beyond the much-discussed issues of open versus closed platforms is a more subtle one of deeply held mental models. With my Apple and Blackberry experiences:

  1. I expected everything – both on the device itself, and with its ecosystem (mail, calendar, applications on my computers, etc.) – to work together seamlessly.
  2. I expected one way to do anything – one app, one button, etc.

The open platform reality blows away both these mental models.  So, I experienced some difficulty getting to my music library (iTunes) on my new phone – seamless integration was not there, and there were multiple apps and methods for getting to my music library.  I experienced some confusion figuring out where to get new apps – Samsung provides a market and an app for getting to it, and so does Google!  I experienced some confusion in finding there were multiple apps for syncing with my desktop, including Samsung Kies and Google’s GooglePlay.

Once I got my head around the fact that I had choices, I realized that I needed to do some research and experimentation to figure out the best choice for me.  The good news – there are choices!  The bad news – you have to wade through them (or at least the most highly rated) and figure out the right choice!

My New Mental Model

So, I’m getting my head around the notion that there are multiple ways to do things.  Thankfully, the Internet makes it trivially simple to do the research to help make the right choices.  It also makes it easy to find answers to baffling questions about the phone – there’s even an extensive collection of YouTube videos showing you how to do just about anything on the phone.  As an example, I was not sure what the different color LED indicator alerts were telling me (new email versus missed call, and so on.)  In researching this I found that LED assignment was totally customizable (choices again!) and that there are several apps (more choices!) to aid in customizing those choices!

The Bottom Line

One week in I am really loving the device!  I’ve got it customized the way I want (for now!) and have added a bunch of nifty apps that I think I will get great value out of.  (All free, so far!)

One thing that amazes me is that the screen is remarkably finger print resistant – you can touch it all day long and it stays clean and clear!

The Samsung implementation of Android Ice Cream Sandwich (I can’t speak for other implementations) follows a very consistent UI, so once I got the hang of how to get to and get around settings and alerts, getting everything to work the way I want has been simple.

And for those who want to read a very detailed review of the device, I found C-Net’s review to be extremely helpful!  I was especially impressed by their “Always On Tortures the Samsung Galaxy S3” videos – and how the device survived the freezing, baking, dropping, screen scratching and dunking tests!

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