March 6, 2010

This Is The Droid I Was Looking For

My cell phone has been crapping out on me too often recently -- the battery drains in two days or less whether I make calls on the phone or not.  So it was time to say goodbye and get a new one.  Costco had a great deal that The Wife and I decided to take advantage of -- buy one Droid phone, get one free.  We've had the Droids for about a day now and neither of us can put them down.

The Droid looks and feels similar to our friends' iPhones.  The screen works the same way and the resolution is visibly better.  The 5 megapixel camera is powerful and comes with a very bright flash.  The software works the same way, too -- it comes with a pre-packaged suite of software and you download the rest of the software you want from the Droid Market, which is like the iPhone Store.  The software and support behind Droid is a partnership between Verizon and Google, and fortunately, I have a google account.  As soon as I gave my phone my e-mail address and password, it had all my contacts from Google Mail imported and it was a short project to transfer my old phone's data to the new phone.

"Phone" isn't really the right noun.  It's a mini-computer.  It only plays simple games and doesn't have a full-functioning word processor, but it is fully linkable to and compatible with other networks and computer units.  I can plug it in to my laptop at home and transfer music and photographs for use as ringtones and wallpaper.  It did take a little bit of detective work on the net to figure out how to do that -- the trick is, once the data cable for the phone is plugged in to your computer's USB jack, you need to activate the phone and then pull the menu down from the top to "dock" the phone's chip with the computer, where it shows up as a removable flash memory drive.

With a little bit of exploration, I found how to remotely integrate the phone's calendar with my computer at work's calendar, so now I have my schedule with me wirelessly updating wherever I go.  Handy for court.  I've also found a copy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure application, so I can have that with me when I go to court too.  If I can figure out how to get the California Code of Civil Procedure and Rules of Court, that would be an even hotter setup.

Pros:

  • Intuitive, easy controls.
  • Integrates with existing exchanges, on either Microsoft Office suites or open-source Google suites.
  • Reasonably high-quality speaker.
  • Wide selection of free downloadable applications.
  • Memory management is great; can switch from application to application seamlessly. 
  • Web interface fast and fluid.
  • Silencing the phone is quick and easy.

Cons:
  • Weighs about eight ounces, a little bit heavier than most cell phones.
  • Battery seems to drop through the 90% to 80% range fairly quickly with wireless network use.
  • Setup from scratch is a little more time-consuming than I preferred.
  • Answering incoming calls takes two steps (unlocking phone and answering). 
  • Touchscreen smudges easily and requires frequent cleaning.  Or maybe I need less oily fingers.
  • Google is now watching everything I do.  I get a lot of utility in exchange for my privacy, but I do lose my privacy.

The Wife likes that she can play Pandora on the Droid wherever we go.  I like the Google Maps navigation.  When we travel, we will now only need our Droids and Kindles and can leave all the bigger, bulkier electronics at home.

4 comments:

His Lordship The Gun-Toting Atheist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
His Lordship The Gun-Toting Atheist said...

I personally didn't like the Droid's keyboard when I tried it at the store, but that's just my opinion. I went with the Palm Pre. I LOVE that pocket computer (I call it a computer instead of a phone because since I've had the Pre, my PC has been collecting dust). The screen resolution is outstanding, and the linux-based WebOS operating system is outstanding. And like Android devices, it also fully integrates with all my Google accounts. I really think Palm has a superb product, and to anyone out there interested in the Droid, consider looking at the Pre also.

Transplanted Lawyer said...

I should add, this morning I found that a blog post I wanted to read contained some embedded Flash graphics, and those won't work on the Droid. It's a disadvantage, but it took me some time to realize that I suffered from it, so maybe it's not that big a problem.

His Lordship The Gun-Toting Atheist said...

I should add, Palm's WebOS v1.4 now supports Flash 10.1!

The only catch: Flash 10.1 hasn't been released yet.