mathewpower.net

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My New Phone: The Galaxy Nexus

As much as I love computers and technology, I’ve never been overly wealthy and as such have usually had difficulty justifying phone purchases that cost more than nothing on a three year contract. This generally meant getting phones that were rather old and not particularly useful for anything outside of using it as a phone.

Things are finally changing a little, though. While I’m certainly not rich, I definitely have more money available to me now than I did while I was in school. This has allowed me to finally get a phone that I’ve really wanted to get since it was announced – the Galaxy Nexus. The GNex is the latest phone in Google’s Nexus series, which, as with the Nexus S, was manufactured by Samsung.

The Galaxy Nexus is the flagship of Android phones. It’s comparable (and I’d definitely say better than) to the iPhone 4S, Apple’s latest version of the iPhone. Currently I’m running Google’s stock ICS 4.0.2, though once the GNex is supported, I’d like to give CyanogenMod a try, as it provides a few features I’m interested in. Most specifically, it allows you to grant permissions to apps granularly and allows applications to toggle GPS on/off.

These are both rather important features for me and I’m disappointed that they aren’t included in the stock OS. Google may introduce more granular permissions in the future, but they’ve stated it isn’t a priority, though they may add it in the future. Prior to Android 2.2, apps were capable of turning GPS on/off, but since version 2.3 it requires user interaction. This is problematic for me as an app I’ve been using, Tasker, allows you to create various profiles which are made up of contexts and tasks to help you automate your phone. It’s a very cool and powerful tool. A couple of the profiles I’ve come up with would certainly benefit from being able to control GPS. For example, I don’t like the idea of GPS always being on. It requires more power from my battery and I don’t like the idea of my whereabouts being trackable at any time. However, it is inconvenient to have to remember to turn GPS on to launch apps that require it (for example, Google Maps). Creating a profile that would turn on GPS when specific applications were opened and turned it back off when they were closed would be immensely useful.

Granular permissions seems like a no brainer to me and I’m surprised that Google would not have included it from the start. Too many apps request permissions they simply don’t need to operate and I don’t always feel comfortable providing that control to those apps. Unfortunately, if there is no alternative, you may not have a choice if you want to use it.

Either way, I’m loving this phone. It has been an awesome user experience and it’s simply nice to finally join everyone else in the 21st century. Time to go discover new apps!

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