Project Fi and replacement phones: Android could learn from Fedora…

nexus2cee_project_fi_hero_thumbI’ve had really good luck with smartphones (/me knocks on wood) over the years. I’ve dropped phones a number of times, but other than a few scuffs and scratches, no permanent damage. (My first-generation iPhone did have an unfortunate encounter with a softball years ago, but since then – smooth sailing.) This weekend, though, I biffed the Nexus 6 just wrong on the tile floor and the screen got the worst of it.

This is one of the big downsides for Project Fi, in my opinion. With normal carriers, I can saunter into a physical store and have a replacement same-day. Or next morning if it happens to be 11 p.m. when the phone has its unfortunate incident. Project Fi? No such luck.

The good news: Project Fi’s support was super-helpful and efficient, and they had a new phone on its way to me right away. My phone’s unfortunate incident was last Friday, and I had a new phone in my hands Monday. Even better, they only charged me $100 to replace it. (One of the phone screen replacement shops near me wanted $249 and seven days to get parts…)

The bad news: As alluded to above, the Nexus 6 isn’t a super-popular phone. If it breaks, good luck finding parts right away. Samsung phones and iPhones are the phones that have the most market share (apparently) and finding accessories and replacement parts for those is a lot easier. (And cheaper – if I’d had an iPhone or Galaxy with a broken screen, there were plenty of specials on replacing the screen for less than $99.)

The other downside? The phone Project Fi shipped out to me is a stock Nexus 6… with the original Android 5.0-something installed. Meaning I’ve spent hours updating the damn phone. And the backup didn’t take all the way (I’m guessing because old phone had the latest 6.0-whatever and the new phone didn’t, but it forces you to try the restore first…) So when it’s all updated, I’ll need to do a factory reset and then try again to do a restore.

As luck would have it, my laptop was flaking out yesterday and I wound up doing a full reinstall of Fedora 23 Workstation. That took all of maybe an hour from start to finish, installing Fedora and then rsync-ing my data back to the new laptop and so on. It’d be great if Android were as easy to work with as Fedora!