My decision on what phone to get was an easy one: I got the new Amazon Fire phone. I’m sure some of you are groaning, especially the tech geeks who would love to drone on and on at me about why this was or was not a good choice. I’m not interested.
I am not a techie person. I am almost never an “early adopter.” I like technology to get around the block a few times, work out the kinks, get tired and old, and then make its way into my life. But I decided on the Fire phone for the following reasons:
1. For better or for worse, I’m already on AT&T
2. I’m cheap. And since my contract was up anyway, I could get the Fire phone for 99 cents.
3. You get a free year of Amazon Prime with the phone, which saves me $99. See above, re: cheap.
4. Since I’m not very technologically inclined, pretty much any smartphone will do the basics of what I need it to do…mostly (more on that below!)
So now that I’ve shared my totally legit decision making process for how I chose my smartphone, let’s get into the Love/Hate part of this post. You wouldn’t think I’d have so many strong opinions after a little over a week of usage, but I do. Believe me, I do.
LOVE: Talk Texting
I adore that there is a little button that will allow me to talk and my words will magically show up in a text message for me to send. My last phone had a sad little keyboard where I was constantly hitting the wrong button. Granted, I’ve had to add just about every bad word I know to my dictionary – telling your potential booty call that you want to duck will only confuse them.
If it’s called auto-correct, why is the fucking thing always wrong!? Apparently my “colorful” vocabulary is confusing to the phone. Besides the example noted above, I also texted one of my besties, Angie, about a particularly unpleasant trip to the bathroom I had while I was at work (sometimes we text about our pooping experiences – don’t judge us!). Without getting too graphic about the message itself, Angie thought I was texting her to tell her I was taking shots at work and called the Betty Ford Center. Not that I probably wouldn’t have ended up there eventually anyway, but I like to work on my own timetable.
HATE: Amazon’s App Store
Ok, so this is on me: I clearly should have done some research before just jumping into this thing. But I assumed that most of your very basic apps would be available for the Fire. And a lot of them are. But if you want to SnapChat, then the Fire is NOT your friend. The App Store in general is a little bit sad in terms of selection. There are lots of free apps, and I am now happily playing about 5 versions of Angry Birds (I’m simple folk), but I would like a bit more selection. The biggest disappointment? No Grindr. How am I going to be a big gay slut without access to the GPS coordinates of free range dick??
HATE: Internal Conflict
This is probably a minor quibble, but I’m still gobsmacked. In addition to being a fabulous drag queen, I am also a craftsperson and a tarot reader, both of which are activities that would be enhanced by being able to accept credit cards. So I was excited when I heard that Amazon had their own card-reader, the Amazon Local Register. I ordered it (with my two-day Prime shipping of course!) and received it only to find that it wasn’t compatible with my phone. Yep. That happened. Let me say it again for the disbelievers: the Amazon card-reader is not compatible with the Amazon phone. Aca-scuse me? Aca-believe it!
LOVE: Bling Cases
I know, I know: cases should protect your phone from damage, blah blah blah. I was just super excited to find that even the Fire phone, new as it is, has access to big, tacky, drag-queen-worthy, Jerseylicious bling cases! The selection is still fairly small, but I’m encouraged and trust that soon I will be able to get a plethora of bejeweled monstrosities in which to clothe my new gadget.
LOVE: Dumb Ways To Die
If you haven’t played this game before, you really should. You basically try to save little bean-shaped people from certain death. It’s addicting.
HATE: Mark Zuckerberg Going Through My Trash
Ok, so I don’t have actual evidence that Mark Zuckerberg is actually going through my trash (and let’s be real – he’d probably hire someone else to do it) but Facebook’s obsession with collecting as much private data on you as possible is bordering on stalking. I already think it’s creepy that using Facebook from your phone can post your GPS location to everyone on your friends list and possibly to the world at large, but now the Facebook Messaging App is basically acting as your personal online biographer, except that instead of crafting your life story it’s just pumping out your personal information to any and every corporation that will pay for it. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You should – check THIS out. And THIS.
NEUTRAL: Dynamic Perspective
This was fun for, like, 30 seconds. Yes, it’s cool that it makes your lock screen 3D and you can play with a little animated monkey. But I don’t need to sit and stare at my phone, twisting and turning to see every detail of the lock screen. Because it’s the fucking lock screen. Who cares?! This has some potential for games and such, so I’m withholding a final hate judgment on this until I see what they come up with.
LOVE: Firefly (The App, Not The Joss Whedon Show)
This is where Amazon definitely got it right – Firefly will scan tv shows, listen to music, and help you identify products. It will also give you a link to purchase them from Amazon. Obviously this is intended to be a revenue stream for Amazon, and I’m sure some people will dislike it for that reason, but finding out what something is and then going shopping for it is my usual process, so I don’t mind at all. And with the free year of Prime I got with the phone, I have 12 extra months to get all of that stuff delivered to me in 2 business days, fo’ free. Gotta love capitalism!
HATE: Firefly (The Joss Whedon Show, Not The App)
This isn’t really relevant to smartphones, but since I brought it up: a Western in space is still just a Western. And I hate Westerns. Let the nerd rage commence!
LOVE: “I Wish That I Could Be Like The Cool Kids…”
Even though I’m not super techie, I would still sometimes feel little pangs of jealousy over people being able to check movie listings, find phone numbers, update their Facebook page, tweet their mood, and more from wherever they were. Finally, I get to be one of the cool kids!
HATE: Reduced Battery Life
Say what you will about my dumbphone, I only had to plug it in every 3 or 4 days, sometime 5 depending on how much drunk texting I was getting myself into. With all the apps and bells and whistles, and even after turning off dynamic perspective, I still have to plug my phone in every night…right around 9 pm I get that first “Low Battery” warning. That’s fine when I’m home on my regular scheduling, but I’m notorious for forgetting cords when travelling. I imagine I will turn into one of those people that has 17 chargers for their phone, and can’t find any of them.
Overall, getting a smartphone was rather anticlimactic: I can do a few more things, I have a few more games, and I’ve found a few mildly useful apps, but my phone habits haven’t really changed all that much. I’m confident that Amazon will beef up their App Store and the experience will get that much better; maybe I’m destined to become one of those “phone faces” who is perpetually glued to their touchscreen, but I don’t see it happening.
At least not until Grindr is available. There is something intoxicating about knowing how many feet it is to the nearest meaningful overnight relationship.
Tags: Amazon Fire, Amazon Fire Phone, Amazon Prime, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Stella, Dumb Ways To Die, facebook, Fire Phone, Firefly, Firefly App, Grindr, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Joss Whedon, Mark Zuckerberg, Miss Jaye, Privacy, Privacy Concerns, Smart Phone, smartphone, World of Champagne