Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Moving to a Nexus 6

Normally I blog about RTEMS and related embedded systems topics. This time is different. I ordered a 64 GB Jedi Blue Nexus 6 on November 25 and it just arrived today (December 22).  When I placed the order, the store person heard me complain about my Nexus 4 thinking a wired headset was randomly plugged in and I had some plan feature which let me get a replacement for USD5. That turned out to be an interesting adventure but I will summarize it in a few bullets:

    Nexus 6 Box
  • November 25 - order replacement Nexus 4 and Nexus 6 which was TBD delivery. You can see the box to the right and not have to wait as long as I did. 
  • November 26 - replacement Nexus 4 arrives, migration goes smoothly, updates to Lollipop, and then I discover radio part of phone is bad. It won't connect to cell network. Back to old Nexus 4.
  • November 28 - second (or third depending on how you count) Nexus 4 arrives. This time the transition is painful. I ended up spending almost two hours the next day manually loading applications and entering passwords. Luckily, I had a spare screen protector and used the old case. Back in action again.
I have been experiencing Lollilop with all of those Nexus 4's and even got the 5.0.1 upgrade last week. It is a nice experience with my only complaint being that I somehow can't seem to stay on the screen for a call in-session. That means I have to switch apps to hang up. My Nexus 7 upgraded smoothly but it went through another round of slow down and I had to another factory reset. This seems to be a common occurrence with the 2012 Nexus 7 models as they age and the Flash memory ages. I have seen reports on the net of switching apps taking a minute. Mine got that way under KitKat before I factory reset it. If someone has a good way to speed it back up, let me know. 

Nexus 6 after opening boxToday the Nexus 6 arrived while I was blowing leaves. Somehow I resisted abandoning the yard work. The first step was copying the files off my Nexus 4 yet AGAIN. The box has a nifty embossed "6" on it and that's the top side. The first picture is what I thought was the top side. When I opened it using "that" top side, it almost fell out. Glad I had a towel on the table, just in case.

Of course, the phone couldn't stay in the box like that very long. It would take all the fun out of it. I was concerned that the high speed charger was going to be an accessory that was not included with the phone. That would mean another order and I just didn't want to have to do that a few days before Christmas. On average, I travel a week every four to six weeks and keeping a phone charged can be a challenge. Many times I am in meetings in buildings which are very effective Faraday cages. Nothing drains a battery faster than spotty or no service. I have learned to keep it in airplane mode and rely on my old Nexus 7 tablet but still I need to recharge using my external battery or wall charger. The Turbo Charger was a feature I was really looking forward to.
The phone was in a tray so I pulled the tray out. There was more in the box than was included with the Moto G or replacement Nexus 4. I am pretty sure that the Nexus 4 included a similar set of accessories when it was new though.  Inside the box, there is the phone (obviously) along with an instruction packet, what I hope is the quick charger, and a USB cable. Not immediately seeing a tool to open the SIM slot, I am let wondering if it included a tool to eject the SIM slot, I opened the instruction packet and did find a tool to open the SIM slot. Unwrapping the wall charger, I see the magic words Turbo Power Supply and that makes me happy. That makes me two for two on this so far.

Now on to migrating my information to the new phone. I had forgotten to back up my SMS and MMS so ran Backup to Gmail one last time,  When this was done, I was ready to turn off cellular data on the Nexus 4, power it off, and remove the SIM. While this was running, I decided to compare the two phones in size. On paper, the sizes don't sound that different but when you see them side by side, the difference is very clear.

Side by side, the Nexus 6 is clearly quite a bit larger than my old Nexus 4. My concern with a phone this large was (1) would it fit in a dress shirt pocket (it does) and (2) will it tend to fall out of a shirt pocket since it is taller and thus has a higher center of gravity. I tested (1) at the T-Mobile store and only time will tell about (2). I have a screen protector and case for the Nexus 6 and hope this will be enough to protect it if it drops.

Enough with the pictures already. I want to use the phone. I eject the SIM from the Nexus 4 and eject the holder on the Nexus 6. First surprise! The SIM in the Nexus 6 is smaller than that in the Nexus 4. I smile when I notice there is a SIM in the Nexus 6 already so I don't 'have to make an extra affort to acquire one. That was a nice touch. Now to call T-Mobile and get the new SIM activated.

All calls for support to any large company start with an automated system asking you all sorts of questions that eventually lead you to a human if you are lucky. T-Mobile is usually better than most companies for support and this time was no different. It took all of about two minutes before he asked me to boot the new phone. I stayed on the line with them through this. I get to the screen where it asks me if I want to Tap my old device and transfer settings. I turn on NFC on the Nexus 4 and tap the back of the devices. After a few seconds, it went on to set itself up quickly.

It immediately found an LTE tower, asked me for my Google account, and began synchronizing.  By the time I went to check on the status of WiFi, it had connected to the 2.4 Ghz channel of my access point. I switched it to the 5.0 Ghz and apps continued to update. One of the first updates was Android 5.0.1 which required a reboot. The phone had about 40% remaining on the battery when it first powered up and I expect that will be enough to finish the app installations. After clicking accept a few times, I decided to quit watching them download and begin to transfer files from my PC back onto the device. 

Then began the tedious process of entering account and passwords for various applications that were not covered by Google. I had done this a month ago when I went through the Nexus 4 swap and it is just as tedious this time. After a while doing this, I began to put the apps back on the main screen. In doing this, I noticed the Hilton app says it is incompatible with my device and refuses to load. Odd since it worked with the Nexus 4 on Lollipop. After about an hour from first power on, it is mostly setup.

I left it attached to the computer and it charged to 90% while downloading applications and updates. After the downloads stopped, I started playing with it. It is definitely large enough where it is more like a tablet when browsing. It is much faster than my Nexus 5 or Nexus 7. I am finishing this up the next morning and I have no complaints so far. I still need to tweak the notifications so I recognize the apps and go back to the ring tone I had before my phone got stolen last year but those are my problems.

If anyone cares, I will write another blog entry on what apps I have on my phone.

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