Droid X

Bytemarks LunchAt this month's Bytemarks Lunch, I invited Paul Dickey and Edward Wright from Verizon Wireless to talk about Motorola's new Google Android phone, Droid X. I did get to see (and touch) one back in June but it wasn't until now that I actually get to play with one. On first appearance, the feels big. I am used to the iPhone 3GS and the Droid X is about 10% bigger in size, but the two phones weigh about the same. The 4.3 inch 854x480 display is much better than my 3GS screen resolution but iPhone 4 users are already enjoying crisp viewing with their new hardware. The Droid X comes with an 8 megapixel camera with flash and can shoot HD movies. It also has an HDMI port that you can plug into your television for content viewing. Paul showed us a video he took with his Droid X of an F-18 landing on the USS Ronald Reagan. It looked as good as any hand-held video camera. Moore's Law, which states that computing power will double every 18 months seems to apply directly to smartphone capabilities. The Droid X demo unit I have is running Android 2.1 (Eclair), not Froyo (Android 2.2) which is not slated to come out until late summer but I also heard as late as November. A couple of cool features with Eclair is the Live Wallpaper. Instead of a static photo you can now have clouds wafting across your screen or in my case autumn leaves floating in a pond. But this is just eye candy. More interesting is the voice to text feature. As an input option, you can speak your messages into the Droid X. Where ever the keyboard comes up, there is a selection for microphone. The key to its operation is short, well articulated phrases. You can't as an example dictate this blog post. The speech recorder is sensitive to pauses so will automatically stop once a second of silence is encountered. It works great for phrases like "are you available for dinner tonight?" or "where is the nearest Starbucks?" The translation feature is cool too. You can speak Japanese to it and it will give you an English translation. Great for the next time you are in Harajuku ordering sushi. You can also use the voice feature for navigation. GPS knows where you are so when you tell it where you want to go, it will give you directions on how to get there. Another feature of the Droid X is Motorola's integration with Swype. Thank goodness Motorola dropped the physical keyboard. It was built into the original Droid and I thought it make the phone heavy and the keyboard, to me, was unusable. Swype is a text input selection and allows you to draw the words on the keyboard. Well, when I say draw, it more like connecting the dots or letters. So if you were to want the word "lunch" you would connect the letters with your finger. For those of us that are used to typing with two thumbs, it takes some getting used to. But, if you a new to these screen keyboards, Swype beats the one-finger hunt and peck. Right  now I am enjoying Pandora on the Droid X. Downloaded it from the Android Market. Droid X is a fun phone which we will be talking more about on this week's Bytemarks Cafe (Wed. 8/4 at 5pm on KIPO 89.3FM) when we talk about smartphones in general with Angela Keen and Brian Dote. In the meantime I am going to kick around the tires and see what else the Droid X has to offer.

3 thoughts on “Droid X”

  1. Actually, Froyo is available for some platforms now. I watched @kennedy808 install it on his Sprint EVO on Friday after the Bytemarks lunch.

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