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.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
I have an iPhone and love it. Just received it the other day. Yes the apps are incredible and the pictures/videos are so easy! Enjoy your droid.
Cheers…The iPhone was on our list too, but Verizon didn’t have it at the time. Of course, now we’re looking at the iPad too!
Sandie Dixon says
Hubby has an Droid X and it is so great. I have the Vortex which I like but I wish I had gone with the Droid also. He, of course, has downloaded a ton of fishing apps. We use it all the time as the GPS and finding what we need close to where we are. Glad you were finally converted.
Yeah, I’m really happy I finally came around too. Looove that GPS function and have definitely benefitted from all the apps.
Hadn’t looked at fishing apps…hmmmm…another idea!
Bob McLean says
I don’t know. I’m still a Luddite in that department. I did have a cell phone with a monthly bill when we lived in Canada, but of course gave it up when we moved to Europe. I now have a “pay as you go”, and just as an example of just how little it gets used, I bought €20 worth of time in November 09, and still managed to have €12 left a year later. Thankfully it got carried over, but you do have to buy more time at the end of a year. Such a big spender. The phone itself was only €35.
See, incoming calls are free….so, what else can I say? Plus, my broker is “E F Nuttin’ “, so there’s no need to keep track of any vast portfolio. Well, unless I look on line of course, but I don’t need any “eye” phone for that.
Hey I don’t blame you. If hubby hadn’t pushed me into the smartphone thing we’d be doing a month-to-month cheapest-as-you-go phone too. Nothing wrong w/ it at all. The apps on the smartphone are veeeery nice tho…. 🙂
We have the DroidX too. A must have for sure. Great topic.
Our most used Apps.
Google Maps: So useful to get road maps and satellite views of places we want to go.
Navigation: Often works better than the crazy Garmin lady.
Google Places: Find stores and restaurants with reviews. Used in conjunction with Maps and Navigation.
Weather.com App and widget: We use to monitor local weather as well as 9 other cites on our planned path. Tracking where the good weather is for travel planning is so important.
Sensorly: We use this to view (and map) Verizon signal strength of potential camping spots. Extremely useful for working in campgrounds from an RV.
DoggCatcher: Download podcasts. Very useful since we don’t need to use up our aircard bandwidth
Pandora: Streaming music. The radio in our car doesn’t do anything but gather dust anymore.
TuneIn and/or FM Radio: Steaming radio for when we want local stations.
Google SkyMap: viewing constellations and stars in the night sky. Worth the price of the Droid alone. Amazing.
Sundroid: get times of sun/moon rise/set.
My Tracks: track and gather statistics on our hike/bike/jog/walk/kayak routes. Can be uploaded to Google and viewed on Google Maps.
Finance: Track market and investments.
Email: We check multiple work and personal accounts. So useful and convenient.
Seesmic: Social Networking stuff like twitter and facebook
Historical Marker Database: Ever wonder what the historical marker said as you passed it at 65MPH? This will tell you. Fantastic.
Google Translate: We are working on learning Spanish.
And of course, the web browser for research and blog reading.
Having the Droid is like having the world at your fingertips.
CHEERS for all the app suggestions. Totally agree that Google Sky Map is awesome! Can’t believe I lived life without it.
Some new ones on your list that I haven’t tried, so I will go a-downloading today!
I have been wanting the Droid X for some time now and jumped on Fry’s $19.99 special that coincided with my upgrade finally happening. Thank goodness I also bought Droid X for Dummies! The book is a great problem solver….(where do I get more Contacts widgets with the little face on them??? What, they are Motorola widgets!!!)
My sister has the Dare X and has sent me several good apps including a battery saver but I have only downloaded 2 so far. I have downloaded a barcode scanner app that along with the Google shopper app tells you where a product is sold and at what price. This saved a friend 50% on a battery she was buying! I scanned a TV at Costco and found they had the best price of several stores.
I need a few apps for the Grandkids….a coloring book one and maybe Angry Birds. I’m going slow and trying to only aquire quality apps I will use. I do feel like a kid in a candy store!
It definitely took me a while to “warm up” to it too! Lots and lots of learning coming from a regular phone.
Angry Birds is great for kids…our niece stayed with us in Jan and she loved it.
So happy you’re enjoying it!
Sis has DROID X not Dare X…sorry.
Jerry and Suzy LeRoy says
We’re still aversionists, but we’re nearing the edge. You and all your readers just about have us tipped over the edge already!
Resistence is futile…..hahahaha Nina
OK … OK … me too! Have been avoiding the smartphone snag for years, but …… I recently acquired a pre-owned Blackberry (which my old biz buddies confirmed is THE best phone for business folks) and am still trying to figure it out. Now I’m trying to decide whether sticking with the BB, or learning all over again with an iPhone or Droid is the RIGHT choice for me…. (on Verizon network, of course!) The apps are what are really calling my attention. How nice to have the power of a laptop in the palm of your hands !
Happy to see you’re coming to the dark side 🙂 I definitely recommend a phone w/ Apps. The Apps are fabulous. Either iPhone or
Droid are good and I don’t think you could go wrong with either one.
My husband’s company sells the Droid so we tested it thoroughly. We will probably never go with one. Our IPhones and IPads have way better apps. Many many more apps. And battery power much much longer. Do love our little mifi hotspot. Someday might go with hughesnet or something, but after we get on the fulltiming road June 16th, I think we’ll be too busy for too much Internet. We are traveling to every wounded warrior and VA location in the U.S. To help our fellow comrades in arms as volunteers. Glad you are enjoying the Droid. 2 years ago, we went from nokia flips to the IPhone and are both in love for good with all the apps and it’s ease of use. (and we had our unlimited plan grandfathered in)
Fixed the error 🙂
I like the iPhone, but am simply not an Apple person…maybe some day (we’ll see).
I do have a bunch of friends that rave about it. Looking forward to seeing
you start your travels!
Nina – you are talking to someone who bought her first IBM PC in 1985 and first started supporting PCs with Windows 1.0. So I am totally not an Apple person, either. My laptop is still a PC, and so is my big movie-rendering machine. Just can’t seem to switch to IMovie or a Mac laptop. The file structures and operating systems and browsers are so engrained in me.
I am excited to get on the road, too. 35 more days. 🙂
John Richardson says
I can totally relate. 30 years in the technology education business, and I have just now become a ‘droid fan. Can’t believe I kept the Blackberry so long, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy an Apple Product (iPhone). If you use Google Analytics, there’s an app for that too.
Totally with you! I couldn’t bring myself to buy Apple either, and really
delayed the whole Droid thing. Glad you’re enjoying it as much as we are!
Dan Rucker says
Hello! I enjoy your blog, and am an avid “armchair RVer”, I also use droid (LG Optimus), and really like using PDANet. It is free (pay $15 for secure websites-well worth it) and acts like a modem for your laptop. I travel a bit, and use it whenever on the road for business or pleasure.
Happy you have you along for the ride!! Yeah, we like pdanet as well. Not used it too much since we got the aircard as our main internet, but I like to have it as a backup in case we need it.