Going Droid and Getting Smart in the RV
Despite my many years in technology and science I’m not exactly what you’d call an “early adopter”. Rip Van Winkle would likely out-gadget me and I’m usually the last of my friends to adopt the latest tech craze. My most recent phone was a black and white Nokia, the very cheapest I could buy (in Hong Kong, which says something about its cheapness) whose features included both talk and text, a technology breakthrough for yours truly at the time. As a result, you can imagine my complete indifference to the whole smartphone movement. After all, what could I possibly need with color screens, moving pages and app whatchamacallits? No, no, no…that was YEARS down the road for me.
Well thankfully hubby is nearer the opposite end of the “tech adoption” scale and persuaded me, against my better judgement, to try this new and zany trend. Despite being fully prepared to resist all integration, I have to admit I’ve been sucked in and reluctantly, but surely converted. I’ve come of digital age so to speak, and blossomed in the face of the Android movement. This may be one of the coolest things we’ve ever brought for our mobile travels and I’m now a dedicated and exuberant groupie.
We went Verizon (of course…the best coverage, no doubt) and decided on a Motorola Droid X with minimum talk minutes, but unlimited dataplan ($29.99 addition). In the first couple of months we’ve already seen a slew of benefits:
1/ We’ve saved on our dataplan – We’re locked into a 5Gb/mo plan with Verizon on our aircard which we were very close to hitting every month. We now do at least 20% of our stuff on the smartphone and never get near our 5G limit anymore. Nice savings! For those who need more you can turn on the hotspot feature or use PDAnet to tether phone and laptop.
2/ We’ve made money – Paul downloaded TD Ameritrade’s mobile “think or swim” application and has executed several trades on the road that we would otherwise have missed. Coming into Bottomless Lakes State Park, NM he was able to keep track of an option expiration (while I was driving) which he would otherwise not have been able to do. Cha-ching, indeed!
3/ We’ve saved PC time – A lot of the stuff we like to do like surf the web, listen to podcasts and read forums, we can now do on the phone without hooking up the computer/amp/antenna/aircard set-up. It makes getting online so very much more easy and convenient.
4/ We’ve managed to stay on track – When our GPS died in Roswell leaving Nina-the-directionless at a complete orientation loss, I simply fired up the phone GPS to get me back into camp. I now often use the phone to find places (grocery stores, restaurants, attractions) and double-check routing when we’re on the road.
And the apps…oh, the apps. Whoever would have thought I could become so enamoured? Here’s my top 10 free Android favorites for RVing (do comment with your own):
1/ RV Owners Community – the cool, mobile app for the iRV2 forums
2/ Google Reader – to access and read all my fellow RVer blogs
3/ Google Sky Map – the most fabulous, awesome star-gazer app ever!
4/ Compass – for orientation…always a bonus for the author
5/ GasBuddy – for finding the nearest, cheapest gas
6/ Passport America – for finding nearest PA campground
7/ Places – this one came preloaded on our Droid and is great for finding restaurants, bars, attractions, ATMs, gas stations, etc.
8/ Sanidumps – for finding the nearest dump station
9/ WordPress – for accessing, commenting & editing my blog
10/ Tweetcaster – for tweeting all our fascinating exploits on the road
Simply said the Droid X been a wonderful addition to our travels, and as a recovered smartphone aversionist I can now freely admit that resistance is futile. Go with the trend, reap the harvest of the techie revolution and allow yourself to become one with the machine.
So, are you a Droid-Borg?