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Waiting For A Samsung In A City That Never Sleeps - Techlab

Waiting, Waiting! *

By Rosalea Barker - for Scoop Techlab

[Scoop Editor's Note: Today two new writers join the Scoop Techlab (People Centered Technology Reviews) crew to write about the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Both are Scoop Independent News veterans.

Rosalea Barker is Scoop's long time US based correspondent. George McLellan is a former part time Scoop duty editor who has recently started work as a lawyer in Wellington. The two writers join Brenda Leeuwenberg to write about the tablet/phone Galaxy Note II smartphone.

In her first column Rosalea muses on the period waiting for her new phone to arrive. Scoop Techlab is delighted to report that it has now arrived and Rosalea will shortly start exploring San Francisco testing Telecom's new breakthrough flat daily rate international data roaming plans which went into effect last Friday Dec. 21st in time for the Christmas Holiday Period. - Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson]

Waiting, waiting! *

The pic above is of one of the many bus shelters in the university town where I work that has been emblazoned with Samsung Galaxy Note II ads since the phone was first released here in the States a couple of months ago. The golden glow in the background is the sun setting over the Pacific as seen through the Golden Gate on the opposite side of SF Bay from Berkeley.

While I’m waiting for my New Zealand Telecom phone to arrive, I thought I’d do a quick recap of my tech trajectory since I first started writing for Scoop, and take stock of the uses I make of my current gizmos.

Back in 2000, I used to type my articles on an electronic typewriter, transfer them to a floppy disk (remember those!), then take that to a nearby copy shop that had internet access. Eventually, of course, I got a home computer and internet access, and when I went to DC in 2007 as Scoop’s foreign correspondent, I took a laptop. While in DC, I got my first smartphone, a qwerty Blackberry Bold, which I could use as a tethered modem for a mere $10 extra a month on my unlimited data plan. Coulda got an aircard, I suppose, but why cart around three things when two did the trick? I transferred really big files—hi-res photos, video, audio--from the camera or audio recorder and took a USB stick to the nearest Kinko’s to use their super high-speed internet access.

The other advantage of using my phone as a modem was that, even though the communications people at conventions, for example, give credentialed media sign-ons to the WiFi network set up especially for the event, reporters tend to all file their stories at the same time, overloading the WiFi capacity. In 2011, I added a WiFi-only BlackBerry PlayBook to my inventory. Besides syncing via Bluetooth to my phone, the tablet offers a better viewing experience than the tiny Bold screen, but I don’t usually carry it around with me.

So what do I do with these new necessities of daily life, and will the phone/tablet combo of the Samsung Galaxy Note II be able to replace them?

First up, I use the phone as an alarm clock. After dismissing the alarm, I check to see if there are any text notifications. On my way to catch the first bus of my daily commute, I check real-time arrivals on NextBus, so I know whether to hurry or amble. Once on my merry way, I check email and my Reuters news feed, Facebook, and Twitter. Maybe I listen to stored music or internet radio, or watch videos I’ve been tipped off to. On the way home, I’m likely to be playing Klondike to pass the time.

My observation of other transit commuters is that they use their smartphone primarily for all those same things—keeping in contact, staying informed about what interests them, sharing the photos or video they’ve taken, listening to music or watching video/TV/movies, playing games, or (heaven forbid at the end of a long tiring day when I’d like some peace and quiet!) actually talking on their phone. It’s also common for people to use their phones for getting driving directions, reading restaurant reviews, booking travel, buying movie tickets, and banking. Since all of this is done using apps, it is handset-independent, so it’s difficult to anticipate where the Note II might stand out.

I’m guessing it will be in the browser and in the user interface. It took me a while to get used to touchscreen keyboards, so I’ll be interested to see if I prefer using the stylus. And there is at least one thing the PlayBook does that I’ll be measuring the Samsung phone against: the little book icon that quickly turns an article viewed on its browser into a plain text overlay (but with pictures and URLs), making for easy reading. I don’t anticipate any problems downloading and using the Android version of the apps I already use, like Kobo Books, and I’m looking forward to finding new ones.

As you can tell, I’m mainly a word person, but I’ll also be evaluating how the Note II handles photos and AV files, testing its Skypability and how useful it will be for navigating where to go and what to see while in a strange city.

I’ll be putting myself in the shoes of someone who has arrived in San Francisco Bay Area for a holiday, but who wants to keep in touch with back home. And, of course, I’ll be testing out the network connection experience here in the States for those who have gone a’roaming on Telecom NZ's breakthrough flat rate data roaming plans.

* NOTE: The Samsung Galaxy Note II with a Telecom NZ Sim in it configured for roaming arrived in San Francisco on 27 December. Rosalea Barker will report on her first impressions with the device early next week.

Content Note: This post has been enabled by Telecom NZ , but the thoughts are the blogger's own. Scoop TechLab is a project of Scoop Independent Media. Find out more about the Samsung Galaxy Note II HERE and more about global roaming as a Telecom XT network customer Here. It is edited by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson.


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