Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Days With The Motorola Droid

I've had my iPhone for almost 2 years. I was ready for a new device, but not an iPhone upgrade. For anyone that doesn't know, I stayed with the original 2G iPhone for the duration of my AT&T contract. When the 3G model was released, I opted to not spend $99 and upgrade the device.

I bought a Motorola Droid the other day, which means I'm now under Verizon Wireless. Wireless carriers need to simplify pricing. It's unnecessarily complicated right now. I just want to know how much it's going to cost me per month. I don't care about the breakdown.

Verizon was pretty nice to me in the store. I came in asking for a Droid and they asked me if I was switching from the iPhone. They were pleased that yet another customer was switching over to the Droid from the iPhone. They asked what I disliked about the iPhone and/or AT&T and what features of the Droid caused me to choose it over other smartphones. That was fun.

My contract with AT&T is not up until some time in January. I want to keep my cell number, but I won't be able to port it over until the contract is up unless I want to pay a $155 early termination fee. Verizon gave me a temporary number in the same area code, which was nice.

With AT&T, I get a discount on my monthly bill because I work at Red Hat. I mentioned this to Verizon when we were going through the complicated pricing options and they said, "Oh, we probably give you a discount too. What's your work email address?" They looked it up right there and it was in the system, so I get a discount at Verizon too. Nice.

So enough with Verizon, what about the device. What do I like about the Droid so far?
  • Physical as well as onscreen keyboard. I like having both. The physical keyboard isn't the greatest, but it's usable unless your fingers are too fat.
  • Sync with Google for phone data. I absolutely hated having to use iTunes to sync data to/from the iPhone. The Droid just pulls my info from Google. I keep my contacts current there and all is good.
  • Pulls OS updates over the air. Again, skip the iTunes step here to upgrade the phone.
  • The Droid works as a USB mass storage device, so plugging it in to a Linux system actually means you can do something with it.
  • Support for Ogg Vorbis as well as MP3 files. I just drag the music I want to a folder I create on the Droid and the music player finds the files.
  • Notification area. I like this Android feature. Running multiple apps at a time and each dumps info in the notification area. I like it.
  • Camera with a flash. Cameras on phones generally suck, but they added a flash, so pictures end up sucking just a little less.
  • Video recording capability. Apparently some phones have had this for ages, but this is the first phone I've had with video recording capability.
  • User-changeable microSD storage card. It comes with 16GB of storage on a little card about the size of an almond sliver, and the user can upgrade that to 32GB.
  • MMS support. Apple only enabled that for 3G iPhones, so my 2G hobo phone still couldn't do MMS.
  • A real headphone jack, as opposed to Apple's special narrow diameter countersunk headphone jack.
Is there anything I dislike about the Droid so far? Yes:
  • Some of the built-in apps on the iPhone I had gotten used to having and the Droid is missing a few. For example, there is no built-in app to track stocks. I can find one in the app market, but I don't want to go through the many available to find the one I like and that works reliably (anyone want to recommend a good free one?). Another I can't find on the Droid is the world clock and timer. The iPhone's clock program was a world clock, which was useful for me. The timer functionality is super simple, but was handy for things like laundry and whatever we just put in the oven.
  • No "Old Phone" ring tone. Stupid, but I liked that my iPhone rang like an old MaBell telephone.
  • The eBuddy IM app looked really cool at first because it sounded similar to Pidgin, which I use on Fedora. eBuddy does work, but it drains the battery like crazy. I want AIM capability, but not something that tanks the battery.
  • I liked the iPhone weather app for traveling. I just need to find one for the Droid, unless someone wants to recommend one.
  • The Droid doesn't actually come with headphones, so I guess I have to get those (or stick with the iPhone ones). Not that I want new headphones, I just think phones should come with some sort of hands free device to encourage people to be slightly less stupid with their phones while driving.
I would like to have sshd running on the Droid so I could scp things back and forth more easily.

And that's it for 3 days of having the Droid so far. I like it.


Caleb said...

My mother got a Droid ERIS, and one of the Andriod widgets served as a clock and temperature monitor. It changes with your location, and you can view the weather in other areas by accessing the full-screen interface of the widget.

Glad you like Droid and Android; Chris Pirillo thought it was worse than the iPhone, and had a bad UI. Not in my experience. I can set the on-screen keyboard to Dvorak! But, when I pause the music-player using the menu on the locked screen, I can't unpause it later once I move from the locked screen to the web-browser and back to the locked screen. It's quite annoying.

Fico said...

i have it two months ago.. i don't like the dashboard menu . so i sell it again.

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