My Life with the HTC EVO

The HTC EVO 4G is not the best Android mobile phone out there but Sprint is the only carrier that gets reception at my house. Six months ago I began a rather extensive trial of a few different phones and carriers and balked at the EVO after a 30-day trial.

Certainly Verizon would have service in my area, everybody raves about VZW and after all it’s been 5 years since I last did my trials and found that I live in a cell service black hole, in spite of living roughly 3 miles from downtown LA and just over the hill from Dodger Stadium. This was not the case. Verizon service was equally as non-existent for voice calls as was AT&T. The difference being that AT&T offered me a femtocell signal booster (the 3G Microcell) for free whereas Verizon wanted me to pay $250 for their extender. In fact, when I talked to their technical department, I learned that my area is a known trouble zone and that NO TOWER upgrades were scheduled — it would be at least two years before there was any [better] service.

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The Sprint HTC Evo 4G: Fun Toy; Great Distraction; Much Too Big

htc evo spring 4G android phone mobile cellphoneI was thinking about trying the HTC Evo — Sprint’s latest offering which was rumored to rival iPhone. And I’ve never had iPhone nor do I care much for the platform (not to mention the principle of needing to plug something in to iTunes). So I walked into the Sprint store on June 5th and heard about the Sprint Free Guarantee. 30 days. Try it out. You don’t like – you get everything refunded (new Sprint customers only). We’ll see if this is actually the case – I still have about ten days left to play with this toy — and it really is a toy.

I still have two devices (a Blackberry and a Sierra Wireless Laptop Connect 3G USB card) on AT&T that I would add up to about $200 in ETFs so it’s just not practical to switch. Not for the Evo. The Evo is less than perfect.

1) It is too big to function as a phone. I feel like I’m walking around with a mini-iPad and STILL

2) I can’t type as effectively with a virtual keyboard as I can with the Blackberry Bold’s physical QWERTY.

3) The battery life is unconscionable. Completely unacceptable and unheard of. This is simply not a portable device — it must always be plugged in or on its way to being plugged in. A two battery approach MIGHT get you through the entire day with minimal internet and app use. NOTE: The software update pushed out this week has improved battery life quite a bit (relatively speaking). I was lucky to download it OTA before it was halted.

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TechCrunch Disrupt Day 2

mike arrington vic gundotra tcdisruptFull house of tired startup geeks and aspiring entrepreneurs and VCs at 9am for the first panel — The Mobile Disruption–What’s Next? — with Chris Cox, VP, Facebook, Dennis Crowley, CEO, FourSquare, and Vic Gundotra, VP, Google. Moderated by Mike Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch.

Proclaiming the panel and 1,000 or so in the audience are not waking up, Arrington cues the YouTube video of Gundotra with Conan O’Brien when O’Brien visited the Googleplex earlier this month. Arrington then gets the crowd involved by declaring Facebook needs a better Android app and then prompting a Question Queue in which 3 HTC Sprint Evo phones are given away to the best questions. Only about 10 people line up to ask questions. Second question elicits some great under-breath commentary from the stage:

Q: “Is facebook evil?” Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley to Facebook VP Chris Cox: “this is where you shoot laser beams from your eyes.” Cox, after a long pause, answers “no.”

Later, Arrington interviews Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL. “I got a little down yesterday,” Arrington slips in. “Something happened on this stage.” “Oh really, what happened” counters Armstrong… “do you want a hug?”

Steve Case and Mike Arrington:
steve case mike arrington

Click here for the Day One post. Follow the action live below:

UN Report: 4.6 Billion Mobile Phone Subscriptions Worldwide, Cell Penetration Doubles in Developing Countries

Amazing to read this latest report from the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (emphasis mine):

By the end of 2009, there were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, corresponding to 67 per 100 inhabitants globally (Chart 1). Last year, mobile cellular penetration in developing countries passed the 50 per cent mark reaching an estimated 57 per 100 inhabitants at the end of 2009. Even though this remains well below the average in developed countries, where penetration exceeds 100 per cent, the rate of progress remains remarkable. Indeed, mobile cellular penetration in developing countries has more than doubled since 2005, when it stood at only 23 per cent.
Internet use has also continued to expand, albeit at a slower pace. In 2009, an estimated 26 per cent of the world’s population (or 1.7 billion people) were using the Internet. In developed countries the percentage remains much higher than in the developing world where four out of five people are still excluded from the benefits of being online.

Can only hope that broadband internet penetration access is the next to take off — in the U.S. more than one-third are without it, largely due to cost, according to a Pew Study also released today. Hopefully the U.S. FCC’s National Broadband plan, due to be formally announced March 17, is aggressive enough to make a difference. It’s our future.

The executive summary of the UN report:

Measuring the Information Society 2010 – United Nations International Telecommunications Union

City Life in a Black Hole (for Wireless Voice services)

sprint.jpgIf you follow me on столовеTwitter, you know that I do have opinions. When appropriate I’ll post long-form rants on LAist. My latest is about how pathetic it is that I can’t make a wireless voice call from my house no matter what the carrier is. And it’s been that way since I moved here four years ago!

Oh yeah, the data coverage is fine. I’ve been spoiled by AT&T’s 3g data coverage since 2006 and never turned back. Did it bother me to only have nine keys and #0* on my LG CU500 and a small screen? No. It was 3g. Did I at least use T9 predictive text or would I actually make 10 entries on the keypad just to spell “s-h-i-t?” Hell no, I became the fastest texter in town. Why? Because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t hear more than scratchy sounds and broken words coming from the other end of the handset. Didn’t matter where or how I stood in the house or on the block. I was in a black hole. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile. You can’t NOT lose. It’s 2010, and I still find myself going to the mall just so I can have a coherent phone conversation with Mom.

Read the full article at LAist.