Droid Does

droid

Those of you who know me might be surprised that I got a Droid less than one year after I got the Blackberry Storm. Those of you who really know me aren’t surprised one bit. As soon as I saw an Android phone come to Verizon, I was interested. I’m highly dependent on Google (Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, etc. etc.), I missed a physical keyboard, and I did my thesis on Android, which means I can program on the platform. I’ve had it for about 3 weeks now- here are my thoughts.

Disclaimer: I may compare this to the Blackberry Storm a lot, as it was the best phone I’ve used up until now. I’ve also used a Gen 1 iPod Touch.

What I Like:

  • The UI– The interface is much better on the Droid  than any phone I’ve used (or the iPod Touch for that matter). There are 3 screens that you can add widgets to (which is AWESOME) and nice pull down menus for the notifications and apps. My screens have a calendar, search, news, tasks, my most used icons and my music player on the home screens. It makes accessing my information much easier. This is the biggest improvement over the Storm I’ve seen as it’s incredibly customizable.
  • Automatic Sync with My Google Account– Sign in once, and sync everything. Calendars, Contacts, GMail (which I have direct access to), GTalk, and YouTube. I find the management of my email and calendar especially better on this than the Storm because I use my Google Account so much. But the Droid also comes with the ability to sync with any POP3 email account or a Microsoft Exchange calendar.
  • Contact Sync with Facebook– That’s right! I can sync your contacts right with the address book. That means I’ve got links to everyone’s Facebook profile, and their profile pics as the contact pics.
  • The Android Marketplace– This is a very well managed app store with a huge amount of apps to choose from. I’ve downloaded calendar and weather widgets, a remember the milk app, a sports widget and most recently, Google Goggles. The development process is much more open than for the iPhone App Store, and cheaper, which makes for a great selection.
  • Voice Recognition– The Droid does voice search for contacts, Google searches, AND GPS locations. Simply say, “navigate to…” and it will find the address you want and get you there.
  • Google Navigation– Free turn-by-turn directions from Google. Really great program! And did I mention navigation by voice?
  • Superior Web Browsing– The Android browser uses Webkit. That means aside from Flash, everything you get in Firefox or Chrome, you get on the Droid. The javascript even works well; it was lacking (or crashed) on the Storm.
  • The virtual keyboard is great. Much better than the one on the Storm or the iPod Touch/iPhone.
  • The Car Dock Home– The 4 main functions of the phone, Search, Navigate, Maps, and Contacts as huge icons to make them easily accessible while driving.

What Could Use Changing:

  • I really wish there was a way for the phone to stay unlocked, even when the phone’s screen turns off.
  • Icon management- I want to be able to hide icons I don’t use.
  • Sound Profiles- I want a native way to manage sound profiles, like on Blackberry. Right now it’s either all on, or all silent.
  • Button reassignment; any button wakes it up.
  • The physical keyboard takes some getting used to.
  • Better media management. There is no native desktop app for the Droid, which means I need to use a 3rd party app to sync my music, videos, and photos.

Note: An upgrade is coming soon. There are some other grips I have that will be fixed in the coming days via an OTA (over the air) upgrade. The most significant being fixes to the camera. Read more about that here.

All in all, I’m very happy with my Droid and my change to the Android OS. In the coming weeks I’ll post reviews on accessories and apps from the Marketplace. PS- This would be a great gift for anyone looking for a smart phone this season.

3 thoughts on “Droid Does”

  1. Yes the Blackberry Storm is absolutely horrible compared to any of the droids. It looks like the droid 2 will have android 2.2 with flash support, a much better keyboard, more memory, true 720p video and a more rounded design. I still think the droid x might be better than the droid 2, we’ll see.

  2. I just had a chance to use the Droid X by Motorola and I have to say that I am impressed. I was ready to swear off any Motorola products after my last phone (one with the bad MOTOBLUR UI). I am pleased to say that the Droid X is a solid performer and compares favorably with the iPhone. In fact, I believe that the Droid X has overtaken the iPhone in many ways.

    The carrier (Verizon) has no dropouts, at least where I live. However, my best friend is on his second iPhone and frequently complains of dropouts and sluggish response. I am sure that this is mostly due to the carrier (ATT). He also sees the value of the Google Mobile Services integration – it is seamless. In fact, my cousin visited a week ago and we used the Droid X to navigate to a tourist location. Once there, we selected restaurants nearby and were provided with numerous choices with ratings! We selected a restaurant based on my cousin and his wife’s desires and found the restaurant to be as advertised or better.

    Overall, I don’t believe that you can go wrong with the Droid X.

  3. I tried using Blackberry Storm before but i kind of disappointed with it. At first, I thought it works perfectly but then after some time it started to pisses me off. After that, I don’t like to use such product but then my friend offered me this new Blackberry Pearl, and I kind a like it. More apps are available and functions well for me, I don’t know for anyone. What do you think?

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