I was one of those people that stood in line on the day the Motorola Droid (Amazon Affiliate link) came out at Verizon. In fact, I was on a business trip and I couldn’t even wait to get home to get it. I tried to get it the night before at Wal*Mart, but they couldn’t handle doing an upgrade there. I was the first person in the Verizon store at the Mall of America. It’s not like it was the release of a major Apple product and there was a huge line, there might have been two other people there with me.
In any event, I never thought the Motorola Droid was the iPhone killer, but I did really enjoy the Android operating system. So much of the customization you could do was great. I love the way you can configure notifications with different sounds and the notification bar.
Some of the applications for the droid are a bit lacking from their iPhone counterparts, but that is understandable with how new the operating system and marketplace are, at least relative to the iPhone and App Store. However, there are some apps that are better on the Droid.
One of the things that I really enjoyed using the Droid for was navigation. Now, I have a Garmin nuvi mounted in my car, but it was so much faster to find new destinations with the droid and being able to speak the names was very nice and great when driving. I love that Google Maps/Navigation lets you choose the route to take from a few options. They need to improve on the options and figure out that they should route you the way that is the quickest, but it is great for the first version out of the box. It would also be nice if they had other items you could choose to avoid like you can on the Garmin.
For the most part, I found the GPS in the Droid to work quite well. It got a fix quite quickly and didn’t have much of a problem keeping up. It would have issues in the places you’d expect, like in tunnels. One feature I did miss from the Garmin was showing my current speed. I’m a tall guy and I can rarely actually see the speedometer in a car, so the digital printout is very nice. The biggest drawback of using the GPS navigation option is that it drains the battery very quickly. I wish the car mount had a built in power connection, similiar to the way the dock works on your desk.
Another feature that Google got that no one else seems to have: When you’re looking at an event in your calendar, you can click on the location field’s text to search Google maps for it! I never understood why you couldn’t do this on the iPhone or Windows Mobile. Obviously that seems like a no brainer to me. The Droid does!
The Droid integrates well into Exchange and it is great that like the iPhone you can keep work and personal contacts and calendars separate if you desire to do so. The major drawback I found with corporate email was that you couldn’t move messages to folders and there was no option for a signature in your outbound emails unless you use the gmail client!
There is a hidden option that many will not know about inside of contacts where you can select to send certain incoming calls directly to voicemail. I never used the option, but I sure could have thought of times where it would be useful. I could think of times where this option would be nice, along with the option to possibly send incoming calls to voicemail during certain hours or via a manual control something like the airplane option. Actually, some levels of control would be nice. For example, there could be people that you want to be able to wake you up at two in the morning, but typically you don’t want someone calling you. This is especially great if you travel and they don’t know what time zone you are in. Alas, maybe Google will implement my desires in a future version of the OS.
The browser is nice and seems speedier than Safari on my iPhone 3G to me, but I never performed any actual speed tests.
Multitasking is nice once you get the hang of it. In case you didn’t get the memo, push and hold the home button to bring up a list of currently running apps.
I had the same problem as many with the battery cover falling off randomly. Hopefully they will get this fixed – or you will choose to use another Android phone that doesn’t have that issue.
The camera on the Droid is great. I think I took some pretty good pictures with it and even stopped carrying around my 12 megapixel Nikon because it was just so easy to use the Droid. It isn’t going to replace a camera for any kind of real pictures, but just to have something it sure is good. The flash is great, and you can even use it as a flashlight with an application.
I am said to report that after five months, I’m going back to the iPhone. I love the Droid, I really do, but from a cost point of view, AT&T is cheaper than Verizon (yes, the quality isn’t the same) and since I had to pick one device to keep and one to toss, the iPhone just won. There are some things that you can’t do on the Droid, like control iTunes. The Yelp application is quite different on each platform and you can’t check in to places from the droid.
If you’re not running iTunes and using the remote app on the iPhone, I can’t honestly think of a really compelling reason why you wouldn’t be happy with an android phone. In fact, someone may even have finally written an application to allow you to control itunes and do iTunes DJ, but it is too late for me. My Droid is going on eBay to the highest bidder.
What are your thoughts on the Droid or other Android phones? What is your favorite app?