Smartphones

Verizon Droid: Doesn't match iPhone, but brings Android out of beta

Here is TechRepublic's Verizon Droid review. See how one of the mostly widely hyped products of 2009 stacks up for business users.

Here is TechRepublic's Verizon Droid review. See how one of the mostly widely hyped products of 2009 stacks up for business users.

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Verizon has blitzed the airwaves with ads that extol the benefits of the new Droid smartphone and fires shots at the Apple iPhone. So it's time for TechRepublic's review of the Droid, and naturally we'll do plenty of comparisons between the Droid and the iPhone, since that's one of the big questions hanging out there.

Read more field-tested reviews of hardware and software in TechRepublic’s Product Spotlight blog and subscribe to the Product Spotlight newsletter (automatically sign up with one click).

Specifications

  • Carrier: Verizon Wireless
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.0
  • Processor: 550MHz Cortex-A8
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Storage: 16GB microSD included; upgradeable to 32GB+
  • Display: 3.7" 854x480 WVGA, capacitive touchscreen, 400K pixels, 16 million colors
  • Battery life: Talktime: 385 mins / 6.4 hrs; Standby: 270 hrs / 11.25 days
  • Weight: 169g / 5.96oz
  • Dimensions: 4.56(h) x 2.36(w) x0.54(d) inches
  • Keyboard: Slide-out landscape qwerty; on-screen portrait and landscape keyboards
  • Camera: 5.0 megapixel, auto-focus, dual LED flash
  • Networks: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, 800/1900MHz CDMA EVDO rev A
  • Tethered modem capability: No tethering at launch, but Verizon has promised to add it
  • Price: $199 ($299 with a $100 mail-in rebate)
  • CNET's unboxing the Verizon Droid
  • Photos of the Verizon Droid

Who is it for?

We should consider the Droid a converged smartphone - one that's meant to combine business and personal functions on one device. That means it can appeal to business users, who would use it primarily for Exchange access but might also want to occasionally do some personal stuff, and also consumers, who would buy the phone for its Gmail, Web, and multimedia capabilities while also using it to occasionally check up on their messages and calendar from work.

The Exchange ActiveSync integration is basically the same as what you get on the iPhone, although the iPhone also has some enterprise application capabilities from Apple and some third party security and management solutions that can make it more palatable in an enterprise environment. The Android platform is missing these add-ons for now and that makes it less likely that you'll see many companies deploying Android phones like the Verizon Droid. But, I also expect more enterprise development out of the Android platform over the next couple years, now that it has Exchange ActiveSync support.

The other thing to keep in mind about the Droid is that it is not quite as user-friendly as the iPhone, as we'll discuss more in a moment. This is still a smartphone for the tech enthusiast more than the average worker. For example, the Droid will definitely appeal to Linux zealots who have been waiting for a good Android phone that they can champion, since Android is based on Linux.

What problems does it solve?

The Verizon Droid is the first device to have Google's new Android 2.0 OS. It's also the first Android device to use a powerful next-generation mobile processor - the Cortex-A8 in this case. The combination of those two factors make this Android-based smartphone far faster and more responsive than previous Android phones, which often felt slow and clunky.

The first Android phone, the G1 from HTC and T-Mobile, was a mess - even more so than the first generation iPhone (which wasn't that great either). While the Droid is actually very similar to the G1 in form factor, it is a much a better executed product that appeal to a lot more users.

The other thing that the Droid has going for it is that the Android OS is an open platform. Anyone can develop applications for it, unlike the iPhone in which all installed applications must be approved by Apple before they appear in the App Store.

Standout features

  • Excellent hardware - Motorola has a history of building thin, powerful cell phones, but the company has gone a long time without a hit. The Droid looks like it will break the slump. This is a terrific piece of hardware. It has a very quick CPU. The high resolution screen makes colors and details stand out. The slim slide-out keyboard is very comfortable. And, the camera is 5 megapixels with a dual LED flash. All of those features come in a very slim, sturdy form factor that has some nice weight to it. The Droid does not have the plastic feel of the Palm Pre or the iPhone 3GS. It feels more substantial, although that also makes it a littler heavier, too.
  • Functional Web browsing - Browsing the Internet on a mobile phone still leaves a lot to be desired on most platforms. Pages tend to load slow and awkwardly when they load at all. The only real functional mobile browsing experience is on the iPhone, and to a lesser extent, on the Palm Pre. The Droid, with its strong CPU and high-res screen and Android 2.0 software, joins that club. It's not quite as snappy as the iPhone and the interface isn't as precise (you don't pinch to zoom, you double-tap), but it still offers a very good Web browsing experience.
  • Email management - As you'd expect because of the Google underpinnings, the Droid offers a great experience with Gmail. It offers full "push" messaging and makes it easy to star, delete, reply, forward, and select multiple messages. It extends this same experience to corporate email as well, with the new Exchange ActiveSync functionality. The mail interface has its own unique UI that mirrors Gmail on the Web in many ways, but it's easy to use and I think most people will take to it pretty quickly. My only complaint is that the mail folders (and sub-folders) load pretty slow the first time you access them.
  • Contact management - One place where the Droid really shines is in its unified address book. With your permission, it can pull in your contacts from Facebook, Gmail, and Exchange, and then reconcile the duplicate entries. All in all, this feature works pretty well. Here, Android has taken a page out of Palm's book, as the webOS offers a similar feature. And, also like the Palm webOS, Android offers a unified inbox view as well.

What's wrong?

  • It's still early for apps - At the time of the Droid launch on Nov. 6, Android will have about 10,000 applications for its platform. Meanwhile, the iPhone recently passed 100,000 apps. I expect that the Android application ecosystem will grow significantly after the Droid launch, since Verizon is hyping it so much, since lots of other Android phones are hitting the market in Q4, and since many of the developers who are having a hard time getting noticed on the iPhone platform may view Android as a greener field to launch new apps. In addition to not having as many apps as the iPhone, most of the current Android apps feel very raw and unpolished. Only time will tell whether that is due to the 1.0 nature of these apps or if Android has deficiencies as an app development platform.
  • UI and navigation - This is going to sound a little nit-picky, because overall the Droid user interface is pretty good. It's a huge improvement over the first generation Android OS and it's better than what you get on Windows Mobile and Symbian, by comparison. Nevertheless, the Android UI just isn't as user-friendly as the iPhone. While the iPhone requires virtually no user manual because of the locked-down simplicity of the interface, Droid is much more customizable and has many more options. That naturally makes it more challenging to use and requires some learning to figure out how things work and why. The other issue here is that the Droid UI just isn't as smooth and responsive as the iPhone, although it's much better than Android 1.0 devices. Still, there are times when you have to tap things more than once or you end up in unfamiliar menus or programs because the screen didn't correctly understand your gesture.
  • Lack of global roaming - The Droid is limited to CDMA, so it's not a true global roaming device. That will be a game-breaker for some business users.
  • Over-hyped - The other thing that could ultimately hurt the Droid is that Verizon is overhyping it with a massive ad campaign, and in many of those ads Verizon targets the iPhone specifically with a bunch of technical jargon about maps, widgets, and open platforms. Most users don't care about that stuff, only hardcore techies do.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

There's a lot more to like about the Verizon Droid than there is to dislike. It's a solid device and I think a lot of users will be happy with it - certainly happier than with a Windows Mobile or a Symbian smartphone. The integration of Exchange ActiveSync immediately opens a lot of doors for business users to get onboard.

Because of the importance of the UI and the application platform, the Droid does not quite measure up to the iPhone. But, it comes closer than just about any other device, except maybe the Palm Pre. I don't think there will be many people leaving the iPhone and jumping to the Droid - even if they do want to move from AT&T to the stronger Verizon network. And, if they do they will likely be a little disappointed by having to downgrade their app experience in going from iPhone to Droid.

However, I do expect that the Droid will stem the tide of Verizon customers leaving the fold to get an iPhone. And, I think this will be remembered as the device that got Android in the game.

User rating

Based on what you've seen, how would rate the Verizon Droid? Rate the device and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. You can also give your own personal review of the Verizon Droid in the discussion thread below.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

120 comments
techmitra
techmitra

I am completely agree with harry .....when i read the title i feel that why ppl are discussing over a bad joke..? "Verizone Droid" Droid is an android based smartphone designed and manufactured by Motorola, Whereas Verizon Wireless is a telecom company......I don't know where the iphone came between......I have been handling digital marketing for http://www.octalsoftware.com for last three years and i didn't read such bad joke on a tech forum...

kerry456
kerry456

I am into iPhone apps development field and did not personally have any experience with the Verizon, but yes got to know many things about it from the great and very well explained article. And I think it have 4 marks out of 5.

Sherlin14
Sherlin14

The Motorola Droid Verizon, boasts a gorgeous display and the benefits of Android 2.0, including a faster Web browser, Google Maps Navigation app, and better messaging and contact management. It also offers excellent call quality, long talk time, and improved speed over previous Android devices. The Droid does not support Blue tooth voice dialing. Creates a nice uninterrupted work flow. I'd rather have the trackball than the directional pad. http://www.cdmacellulars.com

patclem
patclem

The native activesync doesn't support things like remote wipe and pin lock. Third party apps do it.

harry674
harry674

The fact that it does multitasking is winning feature alone. I have to X out of everything I do on Iphone?listening to Pandora..wanna do something else? Yes but close Pandora first?so medieval?!?!...is there need to close anything on droid..nope run hundred apps simultaneously. I won?t even go into GPS Navigation, unrestricted Market place?soon coming Flash which will open all Pron sites?Physical Keyboard..which allows not using virtual keyboard which takes up space..DVD resolution Video Camera Recording?etc and list goes on?. I think comparing to Iphone is stupid thing to do?it surpasses it by Mile?all these writers are have no clue what they are writing?and Verizon allows roaming international?u can pretty much use it any country you go.

MPG187
MPG187

Can it run 3rd party software without jail breaking? If so it, doesn't match the iPhone, but beats it...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I find it interesting one ad mentions the open source model for the Droid. Presumably this is for app development, although the ad doesn't go into detail. Does this mean the market for this device actually understands what the term 'open source' means and how it affects them, or is the term being used to simply to include another 'benefit' on a list without expecting consumers to know what it means?

dean.politis
dean.politis

Why do you pundits never criticize Apple for making a substandard cell phone. Yes, it has apps; but it fails at its primary purpose. But the pundits blame AT&T, but in areas where other AT&T phones work well, the iPhone still doesn't. One real question pundits should ask Apple is why don't they improve the phone on the iPhone. Apple gets you guys with the WOW factor. I really think people would be better buying an iPod Touch (with 64GB). You get all the WOW and get a device that excels at everything it does. As pundits, that is what you really should be recommending. You get most of the apps without an expensive contract. As for applications, 100,000 vs. 10,000 doesn't mean a lot. The real question is the quality of the applications. The iPhone does have a lot of nice apps, but it also has a lot of crapware. If someone wants to get a MiFi device, they can have their iPod Touch connected all the time. I have a Sprint HTC Hero and I can use Google Voice. I call Canada regularly. With my HTC Hero, I can call Canada just like a local phone call. That is something else the iPhone iDont. Also, HTC's Sense UI is great. It is a slick interface. If you want to say the iPhone is a great smartphone, please make sure it is at least a great phone.

Slang1
Slang1

Android 2.0 rocks for me, but I'm out of the country a lot, so I need a SIM card on my phone. New Android 2.0 phones are coming on GSM; Will be on the lookout for > 4" screen and 1 GHz cpu. Couldn't care less about any comparison to iPhone; But I think WinMo is the one getting killed.

jknowles
jknowles

Did anyone remember business people travel? What about global access????

Samuel Leung
Samuel Leung

Shame about CDMA, I was hoping for a GSM/QuadBand version being announced upon release. Not sure about the comments on the G1, sure it sucked a bit out of the box but once it's customised it's awesome no matter how ugly it is. In my case I just blew away the vanilla rom and now use the latest CyanogenMod ROM. Who knows maybe someone will get Android 2.0 to function well on it, but for now 2.0 cluggs on the G1. I'm hoping the Droid comes to my part of the world as I'd happily upgrade. Android is the way forward I think.

jimduty
jimduty

Anyone who uses the term "Smartphone" doesn't get it at all. You have to stop thinking in terms of cellphones on steroids to get the big picture. Replace that with "mobile computer" and you get the idea. The desired product is a hand held general purpose computer with full time wireless high speed broadband connectivity. The phone portion is irrelevant. In fact, it is quite likely to be dropped completely from the device and be replaced with a VOIP application such as Skype. Until some manufacturer offers a full function laptop that fits in your shirt pocket, the iphone will be reign supreme. It has many shortcomings, including the fact that the screen is still too small, but anyone thinking in terms of datebooks, contact lists, and email are going to be left in the dust. Think more of a Physician coming to your bedside, attaching the bluetooth EKG probes, connecting to the Mayo clinic with his "Ephone", sending your strip via secure VPN to a specialist on the other side of globe, who analyses it in realtime, generates the treatment plan, scans the PDR for all the appropriate medicine, forwards that presciption to your pharmacy and all necessary billing information to your insurance company. Then he steps outside the room, pulls up the app that confirms his tee off time, heads to his car, puts his earbud in and begins streaming his favorite music, gets behind the wheel, where he pulls up the GPS app that directs him turn by turn to his assigned parking spot at the golf course he has never visited before. Apply the same degree of sophistication to field service engineers, sales staff, law enforcement, etc and you've got the picture. Apple gets it, Eric Schmidt gets it. The question is how many others get it.

Tarponbeach
Tarponbeach

I'm leaving AT&T and the iPhone, only because AT&T's network is so weak. I drop calls all day, due to the lousy AT&T network. Can't wait to be back on Verizon's superior network.

bigdave469
bigdave469

Well Verizon customers are luckier than Sprint customers! They don't have an Android phone that works as nice as even this from what I have read about the latest Samsung and HTC stuff!

dcolbert
dcolbert

Well, when I read the headline, I went, "of course Jason is going to rate the Droid lower than the iPhone"... But the article was actually non-biased. Maybe it was just the "will appeal to Linux zealots" crack that won me over, though. :) The ironic thing is that this is most likely to be my next phone. I can't see delaying long enough for Win Mobile 7 (my New Every Two was up at the start of October), especially on the "promise" that WinMo 7 will be a significant improvement over 6.5 My observations. A capactive touch screen with this kind of size and resolution is critical. I think when you put an iPhone along side any other modern smart phone so far, this is where the iPhone has such a tremendous visual advantage. Looks like the Droid has the competitive advantage here. The HTC HD looks like it might be a competitive WinMo phone, but it doesn't look destined for Verizon. It looks like Verizon is going to be putting their chips behind Android. App stores are the other critical issue. As a long time WinCE user I can say for certain that two liabilities with that platform that there aren't a lot of apps, and they're pricey. The Apple model of lots of free and $.99 apps is perfect - with even expensive apps being significantly less expensive than those apps are on other platforms. I never understood why someone would pay $30 for a limited cell phone game - and the few productivity apps I've bought for WinMo that were $20 or more bother me. Generally, $10 or $15 is the upper limit of what I want to pay for a mobile app. Looking at the Anroid marketplace, it seems that Android apps fall somewhere between WinMo and iPhone apps in price. I'm not ecstatic about that revelation. For Android to compete, the Android apps need to be nearer to the iPhone model than the WinMo model. Again, this turns me off from the idea of waiting for WinMo 7 - simply because I don't think the WinMo app designers are going to reazlie that they should be selling games for $3... not $30. I'm also not surprised to hear that Android apps lack polish. This is one of my biggest complaints abut Linux apps - the programs tend to be rough and lacking in professional polish compared to Win32 and OS X alternatives. I'm inclined to agree with Jason - does this have more to do with the Linux underpinings of Android than with this being an emergent software market? Modem tethering is a HUGE question, too. With the open nature of Android, even if the Android or Verizon app stores don't have modem tethering apps available, there shouldn't be anything preventing outside sources from making an app available. But I'd like a confirmation before I buy into this. I'm very wary of Verizon's habit to charge you for something (unlimited access) and then charge you again for the same thing (modem tethering of your 'unlimited access' smart phone). I'm sure some will argue this point - but unlimited access should include modem tethering. If you trend over expected "non-tethered, unlimited access usage" then I can see Verizon either charging you additional or putting a cap on your "unlimited" access (which they do, anyhow). But if I've got 5gb of "unlimited" smart-phone access, it shouldn't matter if I use that access through my phone or by tethering my phone. Charging more to allow me to hook up my netbook in this sense is just Verizon greed. I'd almost rather stick with an older WinMo phone where I can "rip off" the unlimited service I already paid for through 3rd party tethering apps.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Seriously, whats to stop someone from making an App that could crash the entire cellphone network...

gcoates
gcoates

Jason, thanks for the preview on the phone. I want an iPhone but refuse to switch to AT&T. Had them before and left because of the network. The Droid is a start for Verizon. I never expected them to put down the iPhone right out the gate. It will take some time to improve the UI and the OS plus get new bullet proof apps written. I have to admit that I've had a blackberry and except for mail, It's not what I want. Surfing the net sucks and I look forward to see a phone with a Google browser and a way I can use google maps. I am impressed with the iPhone, but I am not impressed with the fact that it locks up and you have to totally reload the software. An employee of mine had his phone lockup and it wouldn't reset. Not being able to swap out batteries is something I find very poor design logic. I love having a backup battery fully charged and ready to go. I'll check out the droid with its cons for now. Again, thanks for you preview.

rolandcw
rolandcw

Your review seems to ignore the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment, both from Sprint, and both already on the market. Are there any comparisons available between them and Verizon Droid?

bmossberger
bmossberger

Quite frankly I think the major benefit to the Droid is that it uses Verizons network instead of AT&T. I have had virtually no dropped calls on the Verizon net, whereas AT&T's network performance was infuriating to say the least.

lividmonkey
lividmonkey

There is some good information in there, but the review sounds like it was written by an iPhone fanboy. I couls sum up the review as: "Oh the features are good, but not as good as the iPhone." I mean, is there a problem with the interface or functions other than it's different than the iPhone? I'd rather see a review based upon the pros and cons of the device itself rather on how it compares (biasedly) with another device. As an EiC you should know better. Unless you're jockeying for a position with Apple, then WTG!

Shatter Points
Shatter Points

The iPhone may have 100,000 apps but only runs one at a time..... So to say haha yay IPhone has more apps is not exactly a winning argument. I think the Droid is the better product for personal use. This is whole comparason can be summed up like this.... MCdonalds is successful because of it is cheap easy and made accessible to everyone, that doesn't mean its better than a mom and pop burger joint. The same can be said for the iPhone, its cheap, and easy to use, but does not make it better than the droid.

bgould
bgould

I cannot believe that they won't allow the Droid to be used as a tethered modem. This is the only reason I need to maintain my Windows Mobile phone.

mjpfaffe
mjpfaffe

As has been stated earlier, this article was clearly written by an iPhone user. I had the iPhone for a year, and it was OK--a nice iPod that happens to make calls too. Now I've had the Droid since it released and I feel crippled trying to use my wife's iPhone. The Droid is a vastly superior device on a vastly superior network. To tip the scales for the iPhone because it has 100,000 apps to Android's 10,000 is incredibly naive. Give Android 2.0 a year and it'll have 99,000 useless apps too (that's generous to say there are even 1,000 useful apps for the iPhone).

alfielee
alfielee

Wait a minute, no it's not

rob.edkins
rob.edkins

GSM Version launching as the Motorola Milestone on Vodafone and O2 in Germany pretty soon.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and the cost is most often subsidized by a voice phone contract, and the apps run over a network operated by a phone company, it's a phone.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

It is a phone, first and foremost. All other features are bonuses. The reason it is in your pocket or in your man purse clipped to your belt is so that you can call people. If Apple would select a different carrier other than AT&T they would get far more market penetration. Outside of large cities in rural areas, suburbs and medium to small cities/town across the US AT&T has shoddy coverage at best. In areas like these that make up a large portion of the cell phone market, nobody is going to buy a phone that just doesn't get signal reliably.

jimduty
jimduty

Everything I described is already passe' and was used as an illustration of the transistion we are going to be making. While these two may not see the paradigm shift that is coming, the gate has been opened and nothing can hold it back. If others are still sceptical, may I suggest you google "iphone medical apps" and see what you discover.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

sure, and I know a guy with a bridge for sale.... "the iphone will be reign supreme" First of all teh i-Phone is NOT a smart phone, as it does not allow for thiird party development and release of applications that are not approved by apple and available from a single online store. Secondly, 7% market penetration is what you call sepremacy? :D I have a phone nearly 3 years old now that does more than i-Phon does today and could EVER do unless they drop their old touch screen and utilize capacitive touch instead. The i-Phone is a toy for teens and businesman wannabes who are trying to look hip, trendy and important. I suppose that works if you conduct business at the arcade or school lunchroom.

glenmy
glenmy

I have to disagree. I prefer to sit down when I'm using a computer. I want a PHONE to be a PHONE. If I can have a backup method of communication (text? email?) on there, that's nice. The rest of it is just window dressing. And that stuff about a doctor coming to your bedside... that's funny! In my experience, doctors don't make house calls. And if the doctor is in an office/hospital, the "bluetooth EKG probes" wouldn't need to communicate with a device in his/her pocket. In fact, it makes much more sense for the recipient computer to stay with the patient.

jk2001
jk2001

It's not really as true as it used to be - Ubuntu 9.10 looks nicer than Vista IMO. The reason why interfaces look bad is because interface design and software design ability don't always (or often) go together. They sometimes do, but they are different skills. The normal way to deal with this is to hire one person to do the programming, and another person to do the graphic design and maybe the overall user experience. The well funded FOSS projects like Firefox can hire like a for-profit business - they hire programmers and artists, and good ones. Many FOSS projects are partly or wholly volunteer-run, so, they have to find both artists and programmers -- and these are projects run by programmers. They just don't know that many artists who have time to volunteer labor. There are FOSS artists, but, they aren't so numerous. There are FOSS projects run by artists, too. They tend to be built on richer platforms like Adobe Air, or are "widgets" or video games. When they get bigger - they tend to fall apart, kind of like Miro (the Democracy media player). Great ideas, but, these mega-mash-ups generally don't work well. GNOME made progress with interfaces by copying what Apple did back in the 80s: they wrote a book explaining to programmers how to make better interfaces. These were simple "how-to" articles explaining how to place buttons and fields on a form. The lack of polish on Android is probably due less to Linux than to Java, which is the development environment. Java UI focuses on Swing, but, with J2ME and these new mobile apps, there aren't many strong rules, so, things get inconsistent. Android is still developing UI guidelines, according to their site. So, UI, while important, isn't getting all the priority. This is an opportunity for UX people to contribute to the platform.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

It's a solid performer. Verizon is over-hyping Android a little too much, but if it keeps moving forward and the iPhone stumbles in some way, then Android could sweep in and conquer the smartphone market. Even if Apple doesn't stumble, Android devices could essentially replace feature phones for consumers and grab more market share than the iPhone, which would then be relegated to a premium audience (similar to the Mac). However, there are a lot of cards yet to be played. In 2010, the new and improved Symbian and Windows Mobile devices are going to make their appearance. We'll see if they can come up with something powerful enough to reverse the momentum of BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone.

sabreeblackmon
sabreeblackmon

Apps developed for Android are written in java, which is executed by a virtual machine. The virtual machine runs each app in a "sandbox", and apps are restricted to a very small subset of memory space and have limited device access. The virtual machine has very strict security policies for what an app can and cannot do, and there's no getting around that. It's no different than other phones that use java (lots... except iPhone). There's also some hardware limitations built in the the phone itself to help prevent malicious use. What makes this phone "open", is that the tools and frameworks to develop an application are free, and anyone can distrubute the app they write freely. No corporate approval process, no fees. Also, the Android OS itself is open source and anyone can contribute to it's development.

gadgets
gadgets

Neither of these other phones have Andriod 2.0 yet. Without 2.0 they don't have the full Exchange AcitveSync and they don't have the turn-by-turn direction Google GPS app.

Shatter Points
Shatter Points

Agreed ! ATT has network and service issues all over the place, but their phones are more flexible. Where as with Verizon you are paying for great service with locked down phones. Its the saying you gotta pay to play.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

"How does it compare to the iPhone?" I feel like too many reviews are written by looking at each product in a vacuum. That's why I tend to write reviews by comparing the product to the other products that users and businesses will be comparing them with when making a buying decision. I think that's far more helpful for readers.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

the Verizon executive I spoke with on launch day said that tethering will be an over-the-air upgrade to the Droid that will be coming before too long.

kalelg
kalelg

I can?t believe that a site as this can be so bias in favor of the Iphone. the Iphone has such old hardware people who pay that much for it should be shot(me included), I have both an I-phone (which i use as an Ipod touch since I got my Milestone (same as android but with diff. radio)I just updated to firmware 2.1 and believe me there is no way I?m going back to using my I-phone. better hardware, its lightning fast, and I can say that Regarding apps what good is it that iphone has that many if they are useless. I Use RDP, Mail, diff Admin apps and I found all of them for Android and more, and being open I can even make my own with out Steve Jobs Approval as no Iphone will do anything Steve doesn?t want it to do. I felt so fullish after realizing I paid money for an Iphone that would never be mine to do as I wished.

jetpowercom
jetpowercom

What began as underwater echoes, then on land as smoke from mountaintops, is what's moving. "It" is all about how we communicate - ever faster, ever denser. Technical issues abound. As signal and content delivery improve, we will be buying the device that projects the image, provides choice of virtual keyboard or personalized voice rec, does the tedious thinking, etc., while we continue to become virtually closer. While eventual loss of multiple languages disappoints me, the fact that we're moving toward easier and better communication is basically a good thing. The companies that develop products with this in mind - rather than prioritizing market share retention - will prevail. Until a client finally forced me to procure a cell-phone, I used to say that I'd get one when it would fit in a tooth. We're slowly getting there, with various real implants that do various brainy things. The Blackberry isn't designed for humans. The iPhone, Pre and Droid are the nodes on the highway toward the time when all of these connectivities and content commanders will meet my specified form factor. In the meantime, I plan to stick with my Nokia 3220 until that day when, dropped again, it doesn't bounce.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Already existing, maybe. Passe? Not yet. I don't see doctors returning to house calls in the Western world. House calls involve wasted travel time for the physician. A doctor can see more patients in a given time period when they come to him than the other way around.

dcolbert
dcolbert

But ultimately, the end result is in apps and interfaces that look a little rough around the edges and lack fit, finish and polish compared to slicker, non FOSS (Linux became - Open Source became - Gnu became - FOSS... why do we keep changing what we call it, btw...)alternatives like OS X and Windows. I haven't seen 9.10... I'm still on 8.10 and 9.04 on my Ubuntu boxes - but my complaint on Ubuntu isn't sooo much about the GUI interface as it is about the apps. I think that with Compiz and the Expose and Spaces alternatives available in Ubuntu, even 8.10 - looks pretty darned sharp against either Vista or OS X. The problem is that when you get into individual apps, as you point out, and for the reasons you point out, the experience is not consistent and begins to fall apart. I doubt 9.10 has addressed that, or can, for that matter. It is just "the nature of the beast" with *nix/FOSS. The other problem is that, Vista looks pretty dated next to Win 7 - which has nifty features for GUI desktop management that threaten to replace Expose and Spaces as my favorite desktop management utilities. So saying Ubuntu 9.10 looks sharper than Vista really kind of illustrates one of my points, when Linux "moves ahead", it is almost always moving ahead compared to the *last* generation of Win32 platform. They're always playing catch up. I'm starting to explore Win 7 pretty aggressively, and I'm strongly considering jumping back from OS X as my main desktop OS to using a Win 7 machine day-to-day instead. The way I see it now, for a lot of users, for most situations - most of the time, the OS is purely personal preference these days. The difference remains - running *nix or OS X, you still are likely to find yourself running into professional or other "Win32 only" scenarios that are at the very least, a hassle. The reverse isn't true. This is why even long-term die-hard Linux advocates admit that they maintain Win32 access, either through different machines, VM, Wine, or some combo of the 3. You can run Win32 and not need OS X or Linux access, but for many, many people, the reverse claim just simply isn't true.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think we're in the middle of a tech criticial inflection point right now, and it surrounds mobile communication technology. Netbooks, tablets, and other mobile convergence technologies are going through a stage right now that isn't unlike the 8/16 bit PC era in that there are a lot of different players and a lot is up in the air. That might not be a bad model to use when forecasting futures for the Smart-Phone market. To be honest, when I think of Android, in this light, the first thing I think of is the Commodore Amiga. :)

alfielee
alfielee

A program built on Malware may get through a couple of times but it won't take long before it gets seen as Malware & shunted as rubbish. Everytime it comes up it will have a black mark against it & the writer will be identified as well. Does the writer of malware want to be identified? I think not. Submission of one of these apps has a fairly stringent identification process & so submission will require proof of ownership as well as initial signage. Without this there will be no proof of the software's guards & will not be accepted.

tomn
tomn

have had the hero for just a couple of weeks and do have turn by turn with g-maps

TexasRose
TexasRose

I have read so many comments on the Droid and the iPhone, and AT&T and Verizon, but nothing about Sprint and the HTC Hero. Personally, I have used the Sprint network in all areas of the country without incident, and have gone from simple phone to Windows Mobile to the Hero. I have to say that by far the Hero is the best in every aspect.

pbock
pbock

I don't think that it is Verizon saying you can't use it (that's a tender spot among Verizon users where Verizon liked to turn off phone functionality) I think there just isn't an out of the box app yet to setup the Wireless to act like an access point. I bet some manipulation of linux's iptables command could set this straight. At least for a quick ad-hoc network with a specific laptop.

MPG187
MPG187

And this is coming form a person with the name "iPhone Lover" Yes, it sucks that you can only run things from the App Store. Android and Pocket PC can run programs. I have an HTC Touch (WM) and love it and maybe will try Android)

TexasRose
TexasRose

I had the HTC Mogul with the Text to Speech directions, and tried it once. Why? Because I pay for OnStar for the same reason. This is not an issue for those that have GPS already in their vehicles (which is most new vehicles on the market). But again, this is a Beta version and it will continue to grow and develop as have all phones. I can say the Hero is a great improvement over the Mogul...leaps and bounds!

hueta
hueta

I think he meant to say that you are missing 'text to speech'. You know - an artificial voice which talks you through the map directions, turn-by-turn. That said, Google's new Map Navigation app adds several functionalities which are even more impressive and compare very well with apps costing $100. Two, quick examples: (1) Real-time traffic view, with congestion warnings that use a flashing color-code system; (2) Navigate via Voice Search, alone - no menus or text input. Just say, 'Navigate to Starbucks'. Google finds the nearest one, then provides the usual map & directions, etc. There are more, but to my mind, #2 is by far the stand-out feature. And, let's recall, this app is only a beta version. :)

rob.edkins
rob.edkins

TetherBleu and TetherWifi are both available (But need root on the phone) PDANet works fine for USB tether and runs as a normal app.