The Droid Phone
There's a certain segment of the population that is addicted to gizmos and gadgets. They're always waiting for the Next Big Thing. Those people are anxiously awaiting November 6, 2009, when the Motorola/Verizon Droid smartphone will be released to the masses. If you can't wait to get one in your hands, here is a sneak preview of the latest in a succession of iPhone killer devices…
Verizon's Droid Phone - Yet Another iPhone Killer?
The Droid is based upon Google's Android operating system for smartphones, and runs on Motorola hardware. (See my companion article Android Everywhere for more information.) The Droid will work on the Verizon network only. It has a full QWERTY flip-out keyboard, in addition to a touchscreen, with a spiffy graphical interface. Verizon is tweaking Apple with their 'Droid Does' video and the more informative Droid website of the same name, which tout all the things that Droid does and iPhone doesn't.
Droid Specs and Features
Screen resolution is perhaps the biggest and best improvement over the iPhone. The Droid's sliding screen is 3.7 inches diagonally and displays at 854 x 480 or 267 ppi (pixels per inch). That's a big improvement over the iPhone's 3.5-inch display, which has 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 ppi. "Text is ridiculously crisp," says the Christian Science Monitor.
The Droid is Microsoft Office friendly, which will help it penetrate the lucrative business market. It comes configured for MS Exchange synchronization right out of the box, allowing one to sync contacts, email, appointments, and tasks painlessly. Support for Gmail and IMAP are built in as well. That's a good thing, because I spend half my waking hours interacting with Gmail.
The Droid's 5 megapixel camera will take big enough photos and does video, too. It includes a dual-LED flash, something every phone should have. By contrast, the iPhone has a 3 megapixel camera, and no flash. Droid's Web browser is "especially snappy," says PC World, crediting the phone's 550 Mhz processor and graphics accelerator. It even plays high-definition YouTube videos without pauses or lost audio.
The Droid's case is mostly metal, reassuringly hefty and sturdy. The screen rotates outward smoothly and clicks into place securely. The Droid's keyboard will appeal to those who like tactile tradition. The keys appear flush to the surface but are actually "humped" slightly in the middle and give a bit to facilitate touch-typing. The rubber-textured surface of the keys gives traction. But at least one reviewer found the keys too close together. If you have large fingers the Droid's keyboard may give you similar displeasure.
Other goodies include built-in WiFi; a 3.5mm headset jack; 256MB of RAM; a microUSB port; and 3G cellular technology for faster browsing and downloading. The GPS, magnetometer and accelerometer will enable developers to create mapping and game apps that have become so popular on the iPhone. In addition proximity sensors tell the phone when it's near your face during a call, or in your pocket. This enables it to turn off the display and save battery power, or disable touch input to prevent accidental butt dialing.
Battery life is reported to be the best that Motorola has ever achieved. One reviewer had no problem going all day with Exchange synchronization and Facebook updates running frequently, although Bluetooth and WiFi networking were both disabled. The battery is user-replaceable, thank goodness. One of the major iPhone gripes is that the battery is not replaceable, at least not without a hammer and an X-Acto knife.
So will the Droid "kill" the iPhone? Probably not. But if Droid is successful, it may kill any chances that Verizon will ever support the iPhone on its network. From a technology standpoint, Droid seems as good or better, and from the user perspective, the Droid looks good in feature-for-feature comparisons.
I expect that Droid and its successors will become of the top-selling smartphones, giving the iPhone and Blackberry some healthy competition. That will spur to Apple and RIM to keep improving their products, and it will satisfy those who want something different. Different is not always better, but better is always different.
Some something to say about the Droid phone? How do you think it compares to the iPhone? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Nov 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Droid Phone (Posted: 2 Nov 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved