I booted it up out of curiousity... And after having a look around and checking it out a bit, an idea struck me... Not a very good one...
What if I tried using this as my actual phone?
Well, I do currently use quite a recent smartphone, but I really only need a couple of functions in my day-to-day use: I need to be able to access my school's online platform for access to timetables and stuff, I need to be able to check my email, I need Discord for communication and it would be nice to have a YouTube client. Oh, and music playback, but that one's covered.
So what works, and what doesn't?
First, my school's online platform. The platform has a very nice mobile client, but the minimum required Android version for it is Android 4... I'll have to try to access it through an internet browser.
The preinstalled one did not work at all... It would not open any website. I grabbed a really old version of Firefox from a play store archival website and... It worked! The platform worked as it should. I added a shortcut to the home screen and it was as good as using that client. Almost... I do miss the notifications a little bit.
Well, most important thing is that it works!
For email, I use gmail, and... The gmail web client works super well here, actually? You can read, reply to and send stuff, and do everything you'd want to. I didn't know gmail web still supported Android 2 devices. Might be the only Google service that still does.
Does not support "Google Chat" (to me, it's still called Hangouts, dammit), but I don't use it much anyway.
As for Discord... the client requires a minimum Android version of 4, so I can't use that. The web version won't load on Firefox either... So that's a no go.
Youtube? Well, the official app isn't an option, since I can't use the newest version on this, and can't use an older one since it forces you to update whenever a new major version comes out. Unofficial clients won't work here either, they require Android 4. So, maybe the web version will work, even if it'll be a bit inconvienient? Well... In total, that's 3 out of the 5 things I needed. Not that bad, but it still isn't enough for me to seriously use this as my day-to-day mobile device.
doesn't mean I didn't try to use it as such ...
I took this phone around with me for a week. It was quite a pain. It worked well enough when it was just school, but when I was out and about with my friends, it became a huge bother. I did take my more recent smartphone with me as well, just in case I really needed it, but the SIM card was in the older one, which means whenever I wanted to do something like check if I'm going the right way (navigation apps are a necessity for me. I'm great at getting lost) I either had to tether my newer phone to the older one's mobile data via bluetooth or wifi (which rarely even worked), or I had to ask my friends for a hotspot... Plus the whole thing of, you know, carrying around more than one phone.
The novelty of this little experiment kept me going through with it the whole week, but in the end... It isn't really worth the trouble. Maybe if I were in a different situation, this would've worked out. But for now... I'll have to stick to my current phone.
A shame, because I love this tiny thing. It has a trackball!... And the form factor makes it so nice to hold...
Apart from the physical stuff, I really loved the system GUI, but I dunno if I should attribute it to Cyanogenmod or Android Gingerbread (2.3). I loved the choices for different lockscreen styles and visuals.
An interesting function on this phone is lockscreen gestures. It's a really neat thing, and I'm surprised it didn't catch on to other Android devices (at least to my knowledge). You can draw a line of a specific shape on the lockscreen, and assign it to almost any action. For example: I set it up so that when I draw a straight line down, it pauses/plays music playback, when I draw an arrow facing right, it plays the next song, and when I draw one facing left, it goes back to the previous one. It's really cool, especially so when you can just reach into your pocket, wake the phone and do stuff without looking at the screen. Really great for when you're listening to music on the bus, for example. Lol.
I was surprised to find that a lot of apps that are in active development work on this device. Of course, not all of them, not even that many of them, but much more than I expected. I installed a couple of them, as well as older versions of certain other apps. Stuff that I've tested and works:
- Acrylic Paint
- Fruit Ninja (older version)
- Neko Atsume (older version)
- VLC (old version)
Who knows? Maybe I'll return to this little guy someday, even if I'm just gonna use it as a music player. Unfortunately, for now I'm a tad bit too busy with life to play around with this and my other old Androids that I've accumulated over the years (I have quite a lot of them...). But when I'm less preoccupied, I'll definitely mess around with them, and maybe write a little about the devices and the experiences I've had with them.
Thanks for reading!