I’ve had my Android phone for almost 6 months. I have a Motoral Droid 3.
For blogging via the Jota text editor, it’s great. It’s easy to write text drafts and then copy them to WordPress.
For gaming and emulators, I have mixed results.
The best emulators are yongzh’s GBCoid (Game Boy/Game Boy Color) and GameBoid (GameBoy Advance). Those games were designed for a handheld. They work pretty well on my phone. However, the emulator does crash occasionally.
I haven’t had much success with other emulators. Adosbox doesn’t work on my phone. Adosbox seems like a dead project. I might buy AnDosBox.
Frodo64 and Vice64 don’t work for me.
Gensoid and Gearoid were OK, but I haven’t used them much. Cadash crashed a lot in gensoid.
Droid2600 was nice. I like the way they implemented paddles via the touchscreen. I had trouble with Droid800.
Mame4Droid is buggy. It’s based on an old version of the MAME core. It’s hard to play an emulator without save-states, when playing on the subway.
I tried SNESoid, and found it buggy. There is a for-pay SNES emulator. I haven’t used NESoid much. Even though I have a multi-touch keyboard, it doen’t work for games that require simultaneous keypresses. For example, the run+dash+jump combo doesn’t work in Super Mario Bros.
My Android phone works for blogging. It’s inadequate for gaming. I considered getting the Android SDK and fixing buggy open-source emulators, like adosbox. However, I don’t have much programming energy left after working.
If I spend 20 hours of my time fixing a buggy open source emulator, that’s almost equivalent to spending cash buying a better device, or buying one of the for-pay emulators. I’m considering buying andosbox and fpse.
I’ve seriously considered getting something else, and downgrading to a regular non-smartphone, when my Verizon contract expires.
Open Pandora is promising. It’s optimized for gaming, with controllers. It has a keyboard, so I could use it for blogging. There are some drawbacks.
First, it’s a bit pricey, around $500. However, that’s comparable to what an unlocked contract-free smartphone costs.
Second, it’s partially vaporware. They’ve only made a handful. They have a back-order, even for people who paid for a pre-order. They did start making another batch, but haven’t shipped yet.
Third, I wasn’t sure about the software catalog. For example, the latest MAME wasn’t ported to Open Pandora. That should be easy, because Open Pandora is Linux-based.
There aren’t that many Open Pandoras in circulation. That makes it less likely that software will be ported to the Open Pandora. It’s the “network effect” problem. If many people own an Open Pandora, there’s a greater benefit to buying one. If few people own an Open Pandora, I may be SOL, without any software support. (I don’t understand the problem. Why can’t any open source Linux program be easily ported to Open Pandora?)
Finally, there’s Moore’s law. They keep improving the specifications, as hardware gets cheaper and older parts aren’t available. That gives me an incentive to wait. Instead of buying a new Open Pandora, maybe I should wait a few years and buy a better one or a cheap used one.
Android has a large market share. That should guarantee good software support. That’s one advantage of Android over Open Pandora.
There’s another interesting alternative. I could get a PSP. With the PS Vita coming out, old PSPs should get cheap.
There’s an active “homebrew” community for the PSP. The PSP has encryption, preventing people from self-publishing. Some people cracked the encryption, and started publishing their own stuff. Notably, many emulators were ported to the PSP. Sony cracked down on homebrew by locking down the OS, via upgrade patches. There are no exploits for the latest PSP firmwares. Some games have bugs, enabling people to bypass the security via a corrupted save file.
Unfortunately, there’s no keyboard on a PSP. That makes it unusable for blogging. That rules it out, unless I want to carry both an Android phone and a PSP.
Also, I don’t want to support Sony by buying a PSP. If they’re going to be jerks and lock down their hardware, I shouldn’t support them.
Overall, I like my Droid 3. For blogging on the subway, it’s great. For gaming, it’s mediocre. I may spend a couple dollars buying emulators. I’m considering fpse and andosbox. I’ve seriously considered getting an Open Pandora, and downgrading from a smartphone to a regular phone. I’ve also considered getting a cheap used PSP, and using that for playing old games in emulators.