Well, after a lot of reluctance, I've finally made the jump onto the <a href="http://www.android.com/">Android</a> bandwagon. For a long time I haven't been ready to make the move onto it since I was hoping that a more Freedom-friendly platform would emerge, but alas, after Nokia's fiasco and <a href="https://meego.com/">MeeGo</a>, there's not much left.
What led me to the actual purchase of an Android-based smart-phone was actually quite interesting. On my way to work with bro, he wanted to find out what's the type of battery in my Neo Freerunner. Since I haven't had the device with me at that time, I decided to take out the Nokia 6300 battery which had a similar battery. As it turned out, the battery has become quite ''fat'' in the meantime. I think I was quite lucky it hadn't exploded and burned. Since I wasn't able to put it back into the telephone (for at least a short time until I get a new battery), and on top of that the battery in shops is three times the price of some Internet shops (for which I'd have to wait), I decided to instead invest my money in a new telephone and get the battery for Nokia 6300 later on (hey, it's still a functioning telephone!).
Luckily, previously I had been searching for a suiting Android-based device which would allow me to flash <a href="http://www.cyanogenmod.com/">CyanogenMod</a> on it. I was thinking of getting the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexus_One">Google Nexus One</a> (yes, the evil one), but gave up due to its relatively high price compared to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexus_S">Google Nexus S</a> (yes, evil as well) model. The flaw of Google Nexus S (for me, at least) is the fact that it doesn't have a micro-SD card reader, but on a positive hand it did have the NFC reader (which I might end-up using at some point :). I wanted to use the micor-SD card for storing all of my data (so I can easily take out my private things with me in case I need to bring it in for repair).
So, I started making calls to shops only to find out that the prices for Google Nexus S seem to have dropped compared to what was displayed on the websites. I found the phone in one of the shops for something like 320 euros (compared to 400 which was listed on the website). I called them in, and headed over there to get the phone later that day after the work was over.
So, all in all, I've been using the phone for about two weeks now, and I must say that I' impressed. The entire device feels quite snappy (with CyanogenMod 7 on top of it), which it has to contribute to its 1GHz CPU and 512MB of RAM. It's got 16GB (well, effectively more like 13GB) of internal storage, which should prove to be sufficient for most tasks that I can use it for. The screen is sufficiently large to be useful for reading e-books and PDF's. All in all, I'd say that due to reduced price this was a perfect buy for me.
When it comes down to software part, I really liked the fact that there was no need for rooting etc on Nexus S. Instead of wasting my time with such crap, I just had to boot it into fastboot and tell it to unlock the bootloader (this wiped-out all the user data). It's also possible to do the locking of bootloader in a similar manner (hint hint), which is quite nice. I've deployed the CyanogenMod 7 in the oncoming weekend, and since I do not like Google (which, yes, is a little bit absurd given the fact I've bought a phone ''designed'' for Google), I decided to use the <a href="http://f-droid.org/">F-Droid</a> repository from <a href="http://replicant.us/">Replicant</a>.
As it turns out, most of my immediate application needs have been met with the F-Droid repository. With <a href="http://code.google.com/p/k9mail/">k9mail</a>, <a href="http://www.fbreader.org/">FBReader</a>, and maybe some other apps installed from third-party websites (all Free, mind you), I've set-up a nice little environment for myself. At some point I might end-up writing some apps for it myself as well (provided that I actually manage to make some time for it and finish up some other projects I started :P). The thing that I'm currently missing the most is some kind of decent Free solution for phone backup. Although there's <a href="https://github.com/jberkel/sms-backup-plus">SMS Backup +</a>, it's meant for SMS and call logs and cannot back-up all the data. This might be one of the types of apps I'd like to work on (with support for multiple back-end storage options, like ssh, WebDAV, ftp, sftp, SD-card etc).
What I also lack is some kind of built-in security. For example, I'd just ''love'' to have <a href="https://launchpad.net/ecryptfs">eCryptfs</a> set-up on this device. I've seen some people attempting to achieve this, but only with a limited rate. Given that the new phones are very often containing sensitive data I think it'd be imperative to protect user data with something like this. I've been using eCryptfs on my netbook, and so far I've been loving the simplicity it brings in terms of data storage management (no need to create separate partitions, each user can encrypt/decrypt its home independently etc).
It's still quite early, but I'd definitively recommend Google Nexus S to other power-users as well. I also think it's commendable that even the official ROM has quite up-to-date software (unlike some other models from various manufacturers). When it comes down to the Android platform, I don't think we'll have anything even remotely open as this (unfortunately), so I think that we might just as well use it. It's only a pity that Google hasn't tried to put more effort into getting the changes merged into the official kernel, but oh well... You can't have everything. Let's hope they do not close-down the platform either (given the refusal to release source code for 3.x series of Android).