Motorola Droid

Motorola DroidFor the past week or so I've had the pleasure of using a Motorola Droid courtesy of Verizon Wireless. It's a loaner so I have to return it shortly. As these are my first impressions, I am going to make the obvious comparisons to the iPhone 3GS which I will admit I am in love with. The first question I have is without an iTunes like interface, how does one sync all the content to the Droid? At first take it is not intuitively obvious. Neither is it on second take. I thought I might be able to drop content into the Droid if I plug it into my laptop but Finder on my MacMini did not see any Droid device or storage. The Droid did recognize the Mac as a power source, though. So loading music and podcasts will have to wait. The next thing I did was search for applications. The Droid menu includes something called a Market launchable from an icon that looks like a little briefcase. Clicking that brings up the Android marketplace. From here you can search and select from thousands of Android apps. The big difference from the iPhone is Google is not restricting any apps from being made available for the Droid. The vetting process that Apple subjects all the apps getting into the iTunes Store is a big sore point for many developers. As will all things there is a plus side and a downside. For Google Android it is open to anyone wanting to develop for their Droid phones.  The downside is that there exists the possibility for some nefarious applications to be downloaded to your phone. In the Apple case, they control access but with the promise that it will be a user friendly environment. Once you find an application you like in Market you just click on it and Install. The app gets downloaded directly to your phone from the Verizon 3G network. I tried a few of the popular titles like Seesmic for Twitter access, Yelp for restaurants and ShopSavvy for barcode reading. All worked fine except Yelp did not have the augmented reality feature as found on the iPhone version. I did like the Google Goggles app just announced last week. With it you can snap a picture of a book, a product, a landmark, even a face. Goggles will then scan the image and return search information based on your image. Very cool. The Motorola Droid phone is solid, even a bit heavier than the iPhone 3GS. I've heard a lot of people complain about the physical keyboard but people complained about the iPhone screen keyboard when it first came out. My only comment is since the Droid has a screen keyboard, it could do away with the physical keyboard and reduce some weigh and complexity. The screen for the Droid is very crisp making for clear images. I also like the Voice activation capabilities with the Droid. I must also mention, last week there was an upgrade to the Android operating system to 2.0.1. The phone automatically prompted me of the update and proceeded to download it. Quite seamless. All in all a very nice phone. One that will be a major player in the smartphone market. Right now though IMHO, the Droid is more suited for the early geek adopter. The true test is the Mom test. Moms are more incline to get immediate benefit from the iPhone before the Droid. I'll update this post as I get more information. Unfortunately I will have to return this phone shortly. Stay tuned to the Dec. 30 edition of Bytemarks Cafe where we will have a couple of gadget geeks on to talk about their impression of the Droid.

3 thoughts on “Motorola Droid”

  1. all…
    please explain/define further the ‘mom’ factor you are talking about – how/why it is used to determine popularity of a product.
    also… is this a ‘young’ mom, or more mature one?

  2. Hey Brian, thanks for the comments. I did fail to mention that the Droid does not have multi-touch capabilities for zooming in on a page. I agree with you that I found the double tapping a bit hit or miss, mostly miss.

  3. Nice article. I played with it for a while too. Coming from the iPhone you expect the droid to do certain things. i.e. The iphone Safari browser is much better at navigating around the page. double tapping to a specific area of the page is very intuitive in Safari. On the droid it was hit or miss as to how it chose to zoom in/out with taps. very frustrating.

    also the to me it seems you really have to “learn” how to navigate around the phone vs the iphone being easy to just pick and and figure out.

    Based on these things I agree that the droid is really a geeky early adopter type phone. I don’t see very basic consumers, moms, etc attracted to the droid. Heck, even Verizon is saying this phone is only for “manly men” with their advertising. Their advertising seems it’s alienating prospective customers.

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