My primary PC is my phone

Long time readers will recognize this has been a goal of mine for many years. It finally dawned on me recently that it finally happened. My default device for most of my computing tasks is now my Android smartphone, not my laptop running Windows.

Reading

While Amazon’s Kindle app gets better and better, it still doesn’t offer the control over typography I want. So instead I use MoonReader+, and tie it to my Dropbox-hosted Calibre library where I’ve converted all my Kindle (and Fictionwise) books. Not a solution for the faint of heart, but it I weren’t such as nerd about typography, I wouldn’t need it and could get by just fine with the Kindle.

Now that Google’s Currents has been updated to sync much faster, it’s my go to news reader. Again, presentation matters, and Currents’s magazine-style layout is a more comfortable read than anything on my laptop.

For other stories outside my favorite blogs, I use Reddit News, an ICS Holo-themed app that beats the pants off trying to read Reddit on my laptop. The Reddit website is a mess, and I can’t find any good Windows clients for it, so reading on my phone, especially the 1280×720 display on my Galaxy Nexus, remains my ideal. And of course, for regular web browsing, I have Chrome for Android.

Writing

I’m writing this post in WordPress for Android, with the help of my Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard for Android Tablets (which, despite the name, works just fine with Gingerbread and ICS phones). The WordPress app has a few rough edges, but it’s gotten much better over the years and is easily as nice to use as the web interface. And with a solid bluetooth keyboard, I can type just as fast as on my laptop.

For longer works, I use Epistle, which syncs Markdown-infested text files to my Dropbox. This has the advantage of being lightning quick and distraction free, working at least as well as WriteMonkey on my Windows laptop, if not better.

Actually, let’s talk about “distraction free” for a minute. The key advantage of working on a smaller screen is that I’m forced to focus in tight on what I’m doing. I’ve seen lots of people mention this as an unexpected perk of working on tablets, and it works just as well on phones, provided you have a phone with a large enough screen. My Galaxy Nexus’s 4.6″ screen is just about the lower limit I’d really be comfortable with as my primary computer. The 4.7″ screen on the HTC One X would work just as well, and the over 5″ screen on the Galaxy Note would be even better. But even a 7″ tablet, like my old Nook Color, is too big to take everywhere.

Productivity

I’m deeply sunk into Google’s ecosystem for all of my personal data (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Voice, etc.), so Android fits me just as well here as anything else. I use the stock ICS Calendar app, Gmail, Google Voice for all my calls and texts and the Tasks app to tie into Google Tasks.

Entertainment

My phone is also my personal entertainment hub. I watch Netflix on it (again, this works better on the Galaxy Nexus than on most Android phones, so ymmv). I use it to stream music in Google Music, Rdio and Pandora. I listen to podcasts via DoggCatcher. And when I do watch Netflix on my TV, I use my phone for the Roku remote and to look up stuff on IMDB.

I’ve really grown to like Instagram for taking and sharing pictures, and thanks to Google+, all the pics I take on the phone are automatically uploaded to Picasa for safekeeping.

Social

It’s probably least surprising that my phone is my social hub, but I rarely actually talk to anyone on the phone. I use it far more for texting via Google Voice (which costs me nothing, Verizon!), and lurking about on Twitter via Plume and on Google+.

Conclusion

For the first time, I’m really coming to believe that an average, non-geek person could use a smartphone as their only computer. The app experience is strong enough and constant connectivity to the internet is more important than computing platform. With the rise of cloud-based data, local storage becomes a nice offline feature rather than a necessity. The only use I have for my PC, really, is high end gaming like MMOs, and those are coming to mobile platforms more and more. It won’t be long until most people don’t need a traditional PC at all.

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