Category Archives: Droid

Droid’in

As some of you may have seen on twitter (or from my making fun of people ;)).  Yes, I am a proud owner of a Droid.  Now before I jump off the deep end either direction, let me lay out a few points.  The Droid is not an Iphone.  Stop making the comparison, please, the rampant fanboyness is obnoxious.  If you have an iPhone and love it, yeah, I get it, it’s an iphone, congrats.  If you have a Droid, suddenly you’re not holding the phone to unseat the iphone.  Here’s a few bullet points so that I don’t have an annoyingly drawn out review.

  • I started to get excited about the Droid because it looked like it could keep up in title bouts with the iPhone in all categories.  That said, it does, no questions asked.
  • Bitch as much as you want, Verizon’s network is super fast and reliable.  I can’t believe how fast the connectivity (and I use that word on purpose) is on the Droid and it’s definitely not just the device causing it.
  • Droid’s level of integration with the web is unparalleled.  If you’re an IT professional or a tech savy business / web 2.0 user, why don’t you have this phone?  Data flows naturally.
  • Trust me, I’ve been extremely critical of Verizon and AT&T historically but I have to give credit where it’s due.  Verizon…FINALLY has jumped on the open platform bandwagon.  Data is treated as data (outside of texting) and this is as close to making verizon a ‘dumb pipe’ as we’ve ever seen in the past.  Free GPS, amazon mp3 downloads, google voice for free txting / call routing / visual voicemail.  If you’re into open source then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking a look at this phone.
  • This phone is not for everyone.  I mention the user groups above intentionally because this phone is definitely not for everyone.  This phone is essentially a micro-pc that’s connected to 3G.  The operating system is a lot more like an OS and a lot less like a happy user interface for a phone.  The Iphone is mass market, anyone can use it.  I don’t think I can say that about the Droid.  It works for me because I “get it”, it definitely won’t for everyone.
  • I wish I had real numbers but I probably have replaced 50% of my laptop / desktop usage with this device as well as reduced the amount of time I’m actually on the internet.  The push based updates that I have now coming from 8 or so programs tell me when I have reason to interact with the internet instead of coming back and checking my email a few times an hour.

Here are the things I dislike about the phone / need to be changed:

  • Camera processes slow and is really inconsistent
  • There are some buttons that seem illogically placed and menus that aren’t there that seem like they should be
  • On screen keyboard (especially the landscape one) I ABSOLUTELY HATE.  I got the phone for the physical keyboard but it’s far worse then the iphone keyboard which I can actually manage (I have an itouch to play with for comparison)
  • App selection is ok. Definitely not as robust as the iPhone yet but I think that will improve over time
  • It only has 3 home screens.  While I absolutely love that you can put widgets on the screen….why the hell are there only 3 screens to place stuff on!?  I keep looking to hope there’s a way of getting an app to make more but 2 is definitely not enough.  I’ve heard the Hero has 7 which I think is a bit too many but i’d rather have too many then not enough.
  • Multitouch, while available (yes… I assure you it is cause I have an app that uses pinch gestures) isn’t being implemented anywhere
  • No way to integrate twitter to the same degree that gmail and facebook are (with contact syncing / mashing).  Twitter is hugely popular so I’m shocked this isn’t there.  There also don’t seem to be any apps that sync / mash contacts which is kinda annoying
  • Home screen is kinda jerky in animations, nothing else seems to be though which is odd.
  • Seems to have some of the same hanging issues I’ve had w/ my itouch in the past.  You’ll push a button now and then and it’ll just hang out.  It would be nice if there was some kinda processing status indicator (like the mac colorwheel when things are hanging.
  • Music player is pretty junky.  It works but that’s about it
  • No way to manage media w/ a computer.  While I love that it just mounts as a drive and you can drag and drop data freely, it needs some way of managing sync of files.  Ultimate solution in my mind — Dropbox App.

Here are the things I love about the phone and why it’s set apart from the iPhone:

  • Widgets.  No reason apple can’t allow them, they’re just lazy :p.  Widgets make life so much easier when you have the right ones
  • Notications pane.  Top menu pulls down to look at everything that’s going on and you can configure the hell out of most apps as to how it alerts you
  • L-O-C-A-L-E.  Wow…just wow.  App you have to download but it lets you down identify contextual situations.  What’s that mean?  If I plug my phone in at home it will launch a certain app to display the dock mode.  Unplug at home and it’ll disable it.  Get into the Dr’s office or two work buildings on campus it’ll switch to silent ringer and vibrate on it’s own.  You can come up with all kinda different situations and make the phone do different things accordingly (even auto tweet or wake up your work computer based on different contexts)
  • Physical keyboard.  It’s not super easy to touch type but I really like it because it’s a full sized keyboard.  I’ve already gotten pretty good at typing and can bang out full emails pretty quickly and accurately + it’s a lot better on my wrists.  Certain people refuse to use touchscreen keyboards (like me) so this is a huge benefit and requirement of a phone.
  • Google Integration — I already route everything through Gmail and voice so this is a no brainer.  Enter username / password to set the phone up the first time and it pulls everything.  It’s near instantaneous syncing too which I can’t believe, it’s almost like the phone is just a terminal to net data.  I’ve updated contact info online in gmail and had it show up on the phone in under 10 seconds.  Same with gmail.  I’ve gotten a notification of new message on the phone, deleted it on the computer and the phone recognizes it and stops the alert not too long after.  Redonk
  • Navigation / Voice Search — I’ll lump these together casue together they rock.  Voice search is on iphone but voice based, google maps enabled, navigation system?  Don’t think so.  The Nav system is awesome.  It has some issues to work out and i’ll still have a paper backup if going someplace i’ve never been before but right now I’d put it’s accuracy at about 90% of my routes taking me where I actually want to go.  For being Free and still beta, yeah, I’ll accept that :)  Especially when street view gets in the works and you can tilt the phone around to see what you should be looking at in the real world…yeah… it’s creepy cool.
  • Open Philosophy — Don’t get me wrong.  Apple does a ton right.  But have you ever realized how much their workflow makes you a slave to them?  You like their music player so you buy it.  It makes you use their program to get music on / off of it. Up until recently they made you use a format that only worked on their systems.  All the data that goes onto your ipods can’t be pulled off with any ease.  They own you in the media department.  Development is in their closed system… yeah… I could go on and on.  Even the plug to connect is something only they make.  How communist are they?  Contrast that with the droid.  Data all lives on and off the phone.  Mount as a drive. MP3 and a lot of other music / video formats. usb mini plug. ANNNNDDd an app store where google doesn’t pull stuff down to make their carrier happy (yet at least :) ).

It really makes it into a dumb terminal and I couldn’t be happier for that reason :)  I highly recommend you at least give one a look, I’m extremely happy I did and glad I didn’t get stuck with AT&T (don’t even need to go into how much I dislike them here :) ).  Thoughts? Where’d I go off the deepend?  All I know is I love it and it’s the first technology I’ve used for work purposes in a long time that directly has a positive impact on my life.  I’m so much less stressed now that I have this device (relative to not having a mobile, connected device).