First Thoughts on Motorola’s Droid on Verizon

These aren't the droids we're looking for, and...Droids attack! by Stéfan via Flickr

On Friday, I went to get a Droid, the new Motorola phone on Verizon running Google’s Android operating system. Here are some initial reactions.

It’s my first Android phone. It replaces the Samsung Omnia I had running Windows Mobile, a touchscreen-only phone with too many design flaws to name. I still have my iPhone for work, which I love as an email and gaming device but never used as a phone.

As for the Droid…

Google services: I’m an avid user of many things Google, from Gmail to Picasa to Maps. For me that’s a huge plus to access these personal accounts. I easily went to Picasa, picked a recent photo from my trip to Egypt, and made it my phone’s background.

Writing email: The option of a keyboard’s great, though I found the touch screen easy to use, rivaling the iPhone, and perhaps even easier, though I’m not sure why as the keyboard’s no bigger. It was very easy to set up.my work account too.

Interface: I really like the four default buttons of Back, Menu, Home, and Search. I had no clue how often I’d use the back button until I tried it here.

Screen: The size is similar to the iPhone, but the picture’s especially beautiful. Transitions and animations add some X factor of elegance to the device.

Battery life: Nothing special here. But it is removable so you can get a spare or replacement if it totally fails you.

Maps: I haven’t yet explored all of the features here, but the basic directions – for me, via public transport in NYC – are easy. I know there are major competitive advantages over the iPhone here, but I’ll get to those later.

Sound quality: Maybe there’s some halo effect and this is imagined, but I’m convinced the sound is clearer on this device than any other I owned. When I called grandmom (and of course I call grandmom), it sounded like she was right next to me. Just great, I’ll get Androidish guilt.

Applications: A lot of my favorites from the iPhone app store seem to be available, and I’m learning (often via Twitter) about comparable ones, like Twidroid for Twitter. The app store’s easy to use, but some of the paid apps are in foreign currency like British pounds and I wish it all defaulted to dollars (or your local currency of choice). Many apps, like Twitter and Google Talk, can run in the background without slowing down the phone. Payments are synced to Google Accounts; updating Google Checkout information can be done on the phone but is especially easy from the Web.

Room for Improvement:

  • I haven’t figured out copy and paste yet. I even watched a video demo (videos are easy to view on the phone), but it seemed to pull up different menus than my phone did.
  • Multi-touch is missing. The zooming in is easy though.
  • A longer lasting battery would be nice. But wouldn’t it always?
  • Is there even desktop software to manage my phone? Could come in handy.
  • Can I take screenshots on the phone as easily as on the iPhone? That’s been very helpful for client presentations for the iPhone. There are lots of things I just don’t know if I can do yet.

I welcome hearing about your favorite features and apps as I learn what it can do.

2 thoughts on “First Thoughts on Motorola’s Droid on Verizon

  1. I looked into the Droid yesterday. It seemed like advances were making your phone also your radio and tv. I was disappointed that the Droid lacked the tv capabilities of the Voyager. I used the back button more than any other button and loved that feature.

  2. Nice write up David! I got a Droid on Friday too. I am loving it. I agree that the copy and paste is a little funky. It seems to function differently in different applications. You basically hold down the screen over the text and it will give you the option to “copy”. Then you hold down where you want to paste and select “paste”.
    Multi-touch is present, but not enabled for the web browser. Did you know that the European version of the Droid has pinch and zoom? It seems that the Droid team was not willing to challenge Apple’s patents in the states.
    PS Be sure not to install any apps that aren’t Android 2.0 friendly. They can really cause your phone to crash frequently.

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