Hi folks, this is Paul, one of the newer writers here at Android Police. I have to begin my meet-the-new-guy post by acknowledging just how cool it is that I’m writing for this site, one that I have long admired as just about the smartest and most comprehensive site of its kind. Admittedly, I haven’t been able to give as much time to the site as I had hoped when they first brought me on, but I’m having so much fun contributing what I’m able, and I intend to keep at it as long as they’ll have me.
I started writing for Android Police in the middle of last December, and perhaps no one was more surprised to find my byline here than me. I’m a stage actor and director, a musician and songwriter, an essayist and wanna-be academic, and I currently work in nonprofit and political communications and host my employer’s podcast. I know nothing about programming or software development, though I did once successfully make a little stick figure guy jump up and down by copying dozens of lines of code from the manual that came with my family’s VIC-20. I’ve never rooted or flashed or modded, and I more or less consider computer technology to based on magic. Who better to write here?
The thing is, as much as I am perplexed by the inner-workings of all these devices, I have always been enamored of them. From the time of my first computer to today, I’ve been fascinated by the story of technology as much as its products. And that story has never been more important than it is today. I love obsessing over hardware design choices, the impact of the addition of new features (or the removal of them), the overlap of politics and technology, how our devices and platforms are changing journalism and the humanities, what the rapid pace of change is doing to our ape-brains, and all the other big questions that just keep coming at us.
I’ve been a full-fledged Android user since 2014 after about a decade of being an Apple devotee. I had frankly gotten bored with Apple’s lack of choices and insistent hand-holding, and the Android hardware space was positively blossoming with intriguing ideas and designs. I had owned a first-generation Nexus 7 for a while, but it wasn’t yet enough to pull me away from iOS entirely. But when I saw all that was going on with Lollipop and Material Design, I decided to make the switch, starting with a Nexus 5.
I loved that damn phone so much. It was fast, it felt great in the hand, the screen was so sharp, and the interface was wonderfully fluid. But the battery life was awful and the camera was garbage (I have two small and fast-moving kids that the Nexus camera could not hope to keep up with), so I had to embark on a quest that led to my trying out several models. Over the next couple years, I became a little manic about buying and selling phones, trying to find The Perfect Device—a hopeless quest, really.
Other than the Nexus 5, devices I have particularly loved were LG’s G3 and G4 (with which I experienced no looping of boots), as well as the Nexus 6 and the Note 5, both of which replaced tablets for me for a while. The device I owned the longest was probably the Galaxy S7, mainly because I was stuck on a payment plan. It was indeed a great device while it remained fast, but that didn’t last past a year. (My wife’s S7 is so slow you have to wonder if it got switched with a fake.)
Today, I am the one guy who has an HTC U11, and I love it, with some reservations. Yes, I got the red one, and that was the correct thing to do. I might write a piece in the near future extolling the U11’s virtues and, of course, railing against its faults. But, importantly, it is very red.
I admit I miss certain things about iOS, mostly regarding Apple’s mad devotion to its AppleCare customers. Once having had the most minor of problems with an iPad Pro, I chatted online with a specialist, and the next day I had a replacement unit. Dizzying. I have, however, grown weary of my aging MacBook Pro. I’m not interested in the current generation of MacBooks’ crap keyboards that feel like you’re slapping paper, and I’m sorely tempted by that Pixelbook.
I think my favorite tech purchase without a screen on it has to be my Sony MDR-1000X noise-canceling headphones, which I bought refurbished. As someone who loves to be absorbed in music, as an autistic with big sensory issues, and as a dad with LOUD children, disappearing into these comfy cans is just about the best self-care I ever allowed myself. I also love Kindles, and I am trying very hard not to throw money at the new Oasis.
As for Android Police the organization, I can’t say enough good things. Everyone has been more than generous with their time and help, which I continue to need more often than I’d like. I’m going to keep trying to improve, and I hope my fairly novel background adds interesting new dimensions to the great work being done here.