Droid Does

My aging Verizon XV6900 (HTC Touch) was again showing signs of water damage for no apparent reason and it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to keep it running for too much longer. I’d considered holding out for Windows Phone 7 phone but with MS going toward an Apple like infrastructure and starting over with no way to port my current investment in windows mobile apps it was time for a change.

My choice came down to the Motorola Droid or waiting for the Nexus One to hit Verizon. I settled on the Droid for a couple of reasons:

  • Physical Keyboard – so far I don’t regret it
  • Manufacturer – Dara and I have have not had good success long term with HTC phones.  Her tilt and my touch ( among others) simply wouldn’t last the length of a contract in normal use. We’ve never had quality issues with Motorola phones.
  • Exchange – there are significant reports of MS Exchange issue with the Nexus One and I need solid exchange support.
  • Popularity – The Droid has sold more than a million units. If an issue pops up someone else will have seen it too and hopefully we’ll have a fix.

There’s a lot I like about the Droid and the Android OS so far:

  • Plenty of apps
  • Great physical look and feel. With the Motorola case it looks like an industrial tool. Very Arnold in Terminator.
  • Great browser and mail
  • Little touches like the backlight turns off during calls when put the handset up to your head and then turns back on when you pull it back down.
  • I was able to sync all of my existing Windows Media files from within Windows Media. (None had DRM). I did have to change the format of my playlists to M3U but that was easy enough.
  • The location enable parts of this phone are fantastic.
  • Ability to run non-Android Market apps. The ereader app is not in the market but is available and works just fine.
  • Hootesuite (twitter) and Facebook apps are awesome.

There are a few things I don’t like:

  • No Oultook task integration. Nada. There’s an expensive third party that syncs tasks to the calendar but that’s not acceptable.
  • Many of the media pieces are weak. No WMV support, no streaming ASX or Quicktime or Real files, playlists didn’t synchronizes (files did, just not the lists.) I haven’t found any good third parties to address these shortcomings yet.
  • Still some missing apps like  Slingbox and  Audible.
  • Widgets seem to be next to useless. Not nearly as good as some Widgets I had with Win Mo and SPB Shell.

On the whole I’m quite happy and looking forward to using the Droid for a long time. I’ve named DRK-1 after the related Star Wars Droid. Yes, I’m a geek.

[Big thanks to Kevin Tofel for being willing to answer questions.]