With the new iPhone 5 about to be released, I'd love to canvass poddies opinions about which smartphone is best these days, and obviously any advantage one may have over another when it comes to studying Chinese will be of particular interest.
My impression is that originally when the first iphones came out they were the best, but subsequently the rest of the field has caught up and may have even overtaken, particularly Samsang galaxy android, but this is just my impression.
However, unless there were some very significant advantages in any smartphone that was out there now, I must say I'd be inclined to stick with iphones for several reasons. Firstly, I have so much in itunes [all the CPod audio files for starters...] thousands of podcasts, music, movies, etc, etc. I'm not sure how easy it is to migrate it all to another system, but this must involve some sort of learning curve, and just by the amount of data, would represent a significant investment in time. Secondly, the time involved in learning a new system....it's easier to stick with what you are familiar with. Thirdly, stuff like pleco for example which was not cheap...I'm not sure if you'd have to pay again to get it on another platform. Fourthly, even if the phone itself was better, how does the android marketplace for example compare with google store. Finally, I also have an iPad and it's convenient using itunes for both...to start splitting systems could be a bit mafan.
Any thoughts? Have I got it all wrong?
rootSeptember 14, 2012, 02:54 PM
Tough one. In past three years I've tried android, windows phone and iPods to study Chinese. In the end had to get an iPhone -- to this day it has by far the best app support.
I will list my iphone Chinese folder's most important, daily use apps. In total I have kept 18 related apps , but these are the ones that forced me into the fruit-themed company's bondage:
New chinesepod app v1.1
Only one of these has a decent android equivalent, and none on windows phone :(. For me looks like there is no choice in the matter, as of today
Hi Lechuan, it's this one http://iknow.jp/iphone, it's the one that has an owl
i've been using the website for two years now, and it's superb -- it's like Anki and chinesepod combined. In a sense that it has features of SRS and context-based inductive sentence-focused learning and review. It's rather ingenious, i would wholeheartedly recommend it. In fact, this app is the main reason i upgraded from ipod to iphone, just so that i can use iknow in transit and at work...
yeah, I too didn't know about iKnow and was going to ask, so thanks for the link.
"this app is the main reason i upgraded from ipod to iphone"
wow, that's a big rap....so I had to take your advice and I've downloaded it. I played the owl brainspeed game which was fun.
yea, the fun aspect is why iKnow is the app that provides me with motivation. The quiz-based review I also find is both more fun, and more challenging than self-scoring with other review apps. Full sentence pinyin typing is another eye-opener for recall quality. I wish the site were free so that it would be easier to recommend. Although, CPod did partner with skritter, which is not free, maybe they can also partner with iKnow, I would be totally extatic .
greghkSeptember 15, 2012, 01:35 AM
I also have an iPhone 4S, but I refuse to buy the new iPhone 5, the major reason is once again Apple refuse to follow any standard and in the change to the new connector for the iPhone 5, they have gone their own proprietary, expensive, lock out the competition, way. So if you want to connect to any existing iPhone/iPod music players, chargers etc, either you will need to rebuy these the devices (create more electronic waste) or buy an adaptor from Apple for the rip-off price of US$29.00. They say they need a smaller adaptor, maybe so, but then then should have gone the Micro USB route as is used by also every other phone company.
This is one of the reason why they are the most valuable company in the world.
Don't fall for the con...
By the way I also use Android, I recently bought a Nexus 7 tablet, which uses the latest version on Android, much better than previous version.and I am very happy, so the next phone I use will be an Android one.
"once again Apple refuse to follow any standard and in the change to the new connector for the iPhone 5, they have gone their own proprietary, expensive, lock out the competition, way"
yeah I noted that. I agree, their restrictive nature is the most frustrating thing with apple.
Interesting your converting to android. How did you go getting all your music files, podcasts, etc etc across from itunes?
lechuanSeptember 15, 2012, 01:35 AM
I personally like Android better because of their support for widgets (so I can see my calendar appointements and due tasks instead of forgetting them because I didn't look in the calendar), their price, ease of moving files between programs, etc.
But there's just hands-down better apps on iOS, probably because developers have a better chance of turning a profit on iOS vs android.
I just have a cheap flip-phone and carry around my iPad everywhere with me. The iPad is much better value for me due to the big screen (reverse for Apple since they make double the profit on an iPhone than an iPad).
Here's the good chinese learning apps I used on Android:
Yep, that's it. I tried tons of Chinese learning apps in the android market and end up deleting most of them in a few minutes.
iOS is full of poor chinese learning apps as well, but has more standouts than Android. Here's what I'm currently using on my iPad:
- Hanzi Reader
- Dim Sum Warriors
And I hope to get back into Chinesepod once the iPad app supports basic subscriptions.
Skritter, the website, has worked on my Android tablet ever since I purchased the Asus Transformer TF101 tablet (in China) last year. That is because Android supports Flash.
The TF101 is now quite 'old' in tablet terms, Asus has already released several generations of Android tablet since that time.
However, I must admit I didn't especially enjoy using Skritter in this way because I normally use a Wacom tablet with my desktop/laptop computers, which I found far superior to attempting to 'finger-swipe' characters on a tablet screen.
In fact, I didn't even enjoy using Skritter with the 'pen' on my tablet computer (an business-grade HP notebook).
Sadly, my Wacom USB tablet doesn't work when plugged into my Android tablet.
Not now, but at one time Pleco for Android included the hand-writing recognition for free. I remember the author saying that it was because there were so many good free hand-writing input engines for Android (I guess he meant 百度 Baidu and 搜购 Sogou etc.), that he couldn't really sell the hand-writing recognition on the Android platform, unlike the iPhone!
For a 'free' Android dictionary, I can recommend Bluedict. As with many MDict/Stardict dictionary programs, the actual 'free' dictionaries available may not be truly 'free from copyright', but can be found on Chinese-language forums....(rather like those rather cheap DVDs you can find in China)
bodaweiSeptember 15, 2012, 12:54 PM
Bodawei: Hey Baba, I got myself a new phone.
Baba: Yeah? Android or iPhone?
Baba: Oh … what is that, like a Lumia or something? A Microsoft phone?
Bodawei: No, just a Nokia. It’s not a smart phone.
Baba: Eh, are you joking? Who buys such old fashioned technology these days?
Bodawei: Well, I just wanted a phone and this does the job – calls, text – it’s all I need for 200 rmb unlocked. It was pitched at the Chinese market only. You can install two SIM cards at once – I can use it when I travel to and from Australia without the inconvenience of swapping SIMs, or the expense of roaming. And I spend 5 or 10 rmb per month pre-pay.
Baba: Oh boy, you could buy 25 of those Nokia phones for the price of a Samsung Galaxy S III!
Bodawei: Speaking of spending a fortune, how’s your iPhone going? You really are an Apple nut, aren’t you? All you use are Apple products. Steve Jobs must love you.
Baba: Hah-hah. What can you do? Actually Bodawei, I know you have an iPod Touch.
Bodawei: I’ve gotta say the craftsmanship of Apple is really is quite nice.
Baba: Yeah, I can’t wait for the iPhone 5 – I will line up all night to buy one first.
生词Android – 安卓; iPhone – 美国苹果公司2007年推出的智能手机; Nokia – 诺基亚; Lumia – 卢米亚 (the latest Nokia model name); Microsoft – 微软公司; smart phone – 智能机; old fashioned – 过时的; technology – 技术; unlocked – [not the same as 越狱了 which involves installing unofficial software]; pitched – eg. 这些汽车的售价定得极有竞争性 (the sale price of these cars is pitched competitively); inconvenience – 不便，麻烦; pre-pay – 预付; an Apple nut – 苹果迷; Steve Jobs – 乔布斯; Samsung – 三星; craftsmanship – 技巧.
haha, very good mate. I love a good skit, particularly involving dialogue. Just wish I could switch characters....I think you got the better part...in the smartphone skit you were "smart" and I was "phone" :)
‘I think you got the better part...in the smartphone skit you were "smart" and I was "phone"'
This reminds me of Woody Allen writing all those parts in his films with beautiful young actresses, if you follow me. (I'm not suggesting that you are a beautiful young actress.) Anyway, the skit might be the only place where I get to be the smart one!
I'm a bit torn on the Android/Samsung-Apple 'debate'; for some people it is highly emotional - you either like the Apple image or you don't - it's the old motor car argument: for $2,000 you get a perfectly functional vehicle; for $20,000 + you get a brand.
I'm interested that people would choose a mobile device on the basis of current Chinese learning apps - I am so out of touch. Like you I am concerned that we might lose the website.
Although I have an Android tablet, I actually used a Nokia Symbian 3 Belle 'smartphone' (Nokia N8) when I was in China earlier this year, with fairly good success.
The major advantages...
1. Nokia Maps - Absolutely free. Quite detailed Chinese maps, including walking paths inside the old Summer Palace 圆明园. Maps can be pre-loaded (so no Internet connection required). I don't know if turn-by-turn navigation works...
2. Baidu Maps - Also absolutely free, and available for Nokia Symbian. Unlike Nokia Maps, all the 菜单 menus and place names are in Chinese 汉字, which might be useful for intermediate Chinese learners! Able to give public transport advice (e.g. which city bus to take in Xi'an if going from one street to another). Maps can be pre-loaded, but it is a little tricky...
(Of course, Baidu maps is available for Android, iOS and probably various versions of Windows Mobile OS)
3. Baidu Shouji Shurufa 百度手机输入法 - Free, and a good Pinyin or 'stroke' input method. Actually, I use it to input all my English texts as well!
(Baidu Shuru is also available for Android and iOS)
However, my next new phone will be an Android phone Xperia S. Despite being released more than a half a year ago, and available outright for about $400AUD (and free on a $30AUD plan), its technical specifications all seem equivalent, or superior, to the iPhone 5. Technically, I am giving it away to a family member to use, but I might give it a whirl in China when I next visit...! Perhaps I'll give the Xperia S the heavily Chinese-modified MIUI version of Android to help it blend in with the locals...
'the heavily Chinese-modified MIUI version of Android'
I don't know about this - interesting post, thanks. Particularly about Maps, which I use a lot. I use Google Maps - and there are limitations to the bus information (and there are other minor irritations.) I didn't know there are other choices - I wonder if they all use the same basic information. My approach is to find the bus route I want and then just Google the bus route - this I think gives the most reliable information, stop by stop. It would be nice to have it all on Maps - I wonder why they don't keep it up to date?
I don't really use my phone for 'learning', certainly not apps - too limited. You just need a dictionary I think.
I have experience with a totally Chinese android, and a foreign android, and although my (Nokia) phone is Chinese I think I will next get a foreign Android - because my experience with the HTC was that I was limited to the Chinese store - not good. I could download other aps from websites, with some mucking around, but I could not access the Google app store (now called Google Play).
The HTC (which I wrote about here in glowing terms maybe a year ago) disappointed in the end because they would not update Android, very annoying.
I will go for the Samsung Galaxy now I think - let it bring out the adolescent in me.
I purchased my first Android device (the Transformer TF101 tablet) in China, and the lack of the Google app store drove me absolutely crazy! In the end, I re-flashed the ROM to a non-China ROM. A very popular activity on forums such as xda-developer, as well as among English speakers who use custom Android ROMs such MIUI (en.miui.com) or Cyanogenmod. Obviously, re-flashing the ROM requires a level of technical savvy...and the written experience of some-one who had exactly the same phone/device that you want to update.
I agree that, as far as learning goes, an English-Chinese and Chinese-English dictionary with the ability to enter at least 汉字, and preferably Pinyin, is the most essential language learning tool on a mobile phone.
In this regard, Android is well served by BlueDict.
Nokia Symbian is very poorly served in this regard, except for the 百度输入 input method. TeeDict works, but being a Java app, with great difficulty. Even Nokia Maemo/Meego has better Stardict dictionary programs.
My suspicion, but not confirmed, is that 百度地图 Baidu maps downloads its bus information using the phone's Internet connection. I could easily be wrong.
james137January 25, 2014, 04:33 PM
after having both i am 100% for the galaxy s4. replacable batteries are the rage! not to mention the wider screen and the fact you can simply drag and drop files onto and off the phone on any computer. Its so practical for organising chinese pod files.
I cant go back to an iphone now.