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Which Phone?

 
Stevens Miller
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This is not a Java question, but folks here seem so generally tech savvy that I'm coming for advice anyway...

I have had it with my iPhone. We are going to replace our iPhones with something running Android. My wife says the incompetence of the reps at the cell-phone stores puts me into a visible state of red-faced, clench-fisted fury, so I am thinking I need to get my guidance another way.

Here's what I need:

1. It must be a telephone.
2. It must send and receive Gmail, in sync with my desktop.
3. It must sync with my Google calendar.
4. It must send and receive ordinary text messages with pictures.
5. It must be a still and video camera.
6. It must play music.
7. It must be subject to parental controls.

That last one is what this is all about, as iOS defeats Verizon's parental controls. I need a phone that I can give to my son, while being able to limit his texting, phoning, and internet usage to intervals that impose no restrictions, and to intervals where he can only phone or text a list of numbers I pick, while having no internet access at all.

I'd love to hear people's recommendations.

(Oh, and just to add some Java, I'd be pleased to know which phone people like best for running Java apps!)
 
Stan Austin
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hi stevens

so my two cents;
if you are after flagship phones the snapdragon 830 processor is to come out soon as such i would wait until these hit the market,
for a clean UI that is more natural google and not messed around with then it has to be either a nexus (or the pixel if that is within your price range) or motorola,
HTC and LG tend to add alot of bloatware, so does Samsung in terms of fitness and lifestyle apps

I believe that nearly all the flagships are pretty closely matched but each has a winning aspect that it uses to compare against the competition,
processing power: samsung
Screens: LG and Samsung
Camera: Sony
music player: HTC and Sony

there are also the oppo, one+ and wileyfox, all very good phone for their money however do fall down in certain areas, speakers, build quality etc.

I can no longer remember the name of the APP but im sure a quick google you will find the right parental control app for you,
further more you can set-up multi log-on on android by default so you can set-up and account for your son with his own address book etc. also kaspersky and bit defender make really good security, anti-loss and parental control suites (often come free when you buy the software for your PC)

just my opinion on some brands, but hope it does help some
 
Stevens Miller
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Stan Austin wrote:just my opinion on some brands, but hope it does help some

Thanks! Looks like we will try a Samsung Galaxy J3. Low-end product, but it covers the needs we have here and also supports Verizon's parental controls.
Anyone want to buy a slightly used iPhone 6 with a lot of games on it? 
 
Stevens Miller
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Well, today was an interesting adventure. Turns out that you can't send or receive iMessages with an Android. Not too shocking, since that's Apple's product, not anyone else's. But, for some reason, my son's phone number continued to behave as though it were iMessage capable, even after it had been assigned to the Galaxy J3. We fiddled with it for hours, and simply could not make other phones "fail over" to SMS messaging. Even if we could, not all of his friends with iPhones are necessarily going to have SMS enabled. The whole virtue of iMessages is that they use internet bandwidth, not message units.

So... we found a free product that purported to give us remote control of internet access and apps on his iPhone. I tried it out and, hurray! It worked. So I blocked everything on his iPhone and went back to the Verizon store to ask them to restock the Galaxy J3 and reassign his phone number back to his iPhone. They did all that, and we went home.

That's when we found out that the blocking app could no longer unblock his blocked iPhone. Most likely, that's because they had to install a new SIM card in his iPhone, and it was blocked at the time. The unblocking server now can't take remote control of his iPhone to unblock it. The blocking-system developer is working on that now (but I think it will only require that I delete the Device Management entry from the developer that is on my son's iPhone, which also means any tech-savvy kid could do the same thing and defeat the entire purpose of the blocker, albeit only in a way that would become obvious to Mom and Dad later).

Amazingly, along the way I learned that you still can't block iMessages, even with blocking software, because, well, Apple doesn't allow it. As it is iMessages that are, more or less, the cause of all of my son's ills (that is, he texts constantly), if we can't block them, we are no better off than before.

One can locally disable them with a two-part trick involving turning them off in Settings, then enabling "Restrictions," using a pass-code, and disabling the ability to modify accounts. That turns iMessages off completely, and in a way the kid can't overcome, but gives neither scheduled time when they are available nor remote control of enabling/disabling them.

Having listened to my son yell at me for several hours over this today, I'm not sure I care much anymore if he has iMessages or not. If his phone never communicates with the internet again, I'm not sure I care much anymore about that, either.

What a day.
 
Greg Floer
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try Meizu, it's a good phone
 
Tim Moores
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Make sure the phone is not too much of a budget deal: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/15/android_phoning_home_to_china/

Update: ... and just a few days later, another vendor turns out to have included problematic software in firmware (which apparently is used mostly in low-end phones).
 
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