I reckon I’ve found something better than my BlackBerry. No, really. Since the Gazette got into social media in an increasingly big way, it’s been my duty (or pleasure, or bane, depending on the day) to keep an eye on our different media ‘channels’ and interact with them increasingly regularly. As law firms make more and better connections with their clients, this is something you’re likely to face too. So I’ve also been casting around to see how I can keep up with and work on our different social media outlets and the Gazette’s own site while not at my desk, and I can tell you right now that doing that on my BlackBerry is a pain in the backside. Because I can’t tell our IT department to change its IT policy, probably for very good reasons, I can’t get a Facebook application on it and I couldn’t log on to LinkedIn at all (nor Hotmail, but I can live with that, it’s not work). Twitter does work on it, but not very well, and it looks like trash when I’m using it. Cue endless grumpy exchanges with long-suffering IT people. However, I don’t need to worry now, because I upgraded my own personal phone to an HTC Hero the other day, and it can do all these things in the most gorgeous way. After months of deep philosophical thought on the nature of customer lock-in, the price vs intangible benefits of good-looking IT, I stepped away from the O2 shop doorway for the last time and resolved that Android, Google’s mobile operating system, was the way to go. And it is. Android rocks. I’m writing this up because, a few months back, the really nice people at Vodafone’s PR company (I’m not on Vodafone by the way, and neither is the Law Society) lent me an HTC Touch Pro, which runs on Windows Mobile. I’ve never liked Windows Mobile, though I’ve always tried to laud its good parts and older HTC devices like the TyTN were great, but the Touch Pro was shockingly rubbish to use. Ponderous is a word that springs to mind. I’m glad it’s already been replaced in Vodafone’s shops. Once you’ve used iPhone or Android, you probably won’t want to go back. And loads of applications, including office applications, are free or dead cheap on Android. I’ve done nothing but play with my new phone for two days straight – and I’ve not had that feeling since I used my first ever MP3 player back in 1999-2000. BlackBerrys are still great for email – but Exchange is on Android now, and it’ll only get better. In my hand I’m looking at the next generation of mobile devices, that let me use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (though I’m not personally on Facebook) and browse the web ‘properly’, and use multiple email accounts with ease, but they’re not branded Apple or BlackBerry (both of whom use proprietary interfaces), and they don’t run Windows Mobile (which is rubbish). Let me say that bit again, because that’s why I’m so impressed: it’s a great email, social and web browsing device and it’s a phone, and it’s not by Apple or RIM. It’s a business mobile device, and it really works, and it’s built on Google. Wow.