Motorola Droid: Part 05 – 9 month update

So it’s been 9 months since I joined the smartphone revolution and I have to say, “Mine eyes have seen the glory!” Going from a dumb phone (calls and text only) to a smartphone (apps, email, calls, text, gps, etc.) would be the Plato’s Cave of technology.

Of course I had the option between iPhone and Android. I choose Android because it was not on the AT&T network. I was a loyal (if not foolish) customer of AT&T for several years but felt burned by my last customer service experience. So I moved to Verizon once the Motorola Droid was released. Best decision ever!

I lived in Los Angeles at the time I got the phone and had no issues with any of the 3G or voice networks. I have since moved to Las Vegas and the network is still strong. People who visit and use the iPhone have trouble making calls and getting text messages. To be honest, that totally blows, especially in a 24 hour city where you are bound to get separated from your main group. In the past 9 months, I have also visited Seattle, WA, the coast of Alaska (via cruise ship), and Portland, OR.; in each location there are strong data and voice networks.

The Android OS has had two major updates in the past 9 months. The most recent version being Fro-yo (Android 2.2). Here is where I can start to complain. The Droid is on the Verizon network and monitored by Motorola. So when an Android OS update is released, I have to wait for Motorola and Verizon to modify the OS and make it “Droid Ready”. This usually means the disablement of certain features and OS functions. For example, the current version of the OS allows for wi-fi hotspotting, but the Droid OS does no. This is a carrier issue as the Nexus One (T-Mobile) does offer free wifi hotspotting. Overall, it’s a small concession and something Apple US users also deal with. But I would rather have the Android OS be released by Google and not have to wait for the Moto-Verizon version to be “released”.

The Droid is an amazing phone overall. As I mentioned before, the audio is fantastic. Even when using the built-in speaker, it’s crystal clear. The camera takes amazing pics (especially during the day; at night, not so much). There are a few issues I have with the hardwear. First, there is no line-out option. When I bought my phone, I also purchased the car mount kit. That kit came with a dash mount and power adapter. However, unlike the iPhone or iPod, the USB plug on the Droid does not pass audio. This means that I have to plug an mini-jack audio cable into the headphone jack of my Droid. Then  I have to crank up the volume. I would rather have an audio source that is not pre-amplified by the device.

My second complaint is getting music onto the Droid is not a pleasurable experience. This disappointment stems from the 5 years I used iTunes. Although iTunes is a resource hog, it does what it does real well. Getting music onto my iPod was easy. No drag-and-drop needed. Just tell it what to sync and it did it. There are several apps in the market that try to replicate this, but I think they all fall short and that is disappointing.

Currently, I carry my iPod (fully loaded with music, video, and misc. audio books) and my Droid (loaded with the music, podcast, and audio books I am currently listening to) with me on road trips. I no longer carry a point-and-shoot and don’t need a separate GPS device. If you are on the fence about moving to a smartphone, I have to suggest getting an Android based phone on the Verizon network.

2 thoughts on “Motorola Droid: Part 05 – 9 month update”

  1. I’m loving Droid X. Yet to get Froyo though.

    Only downside in my opinion is that so far, battery life on the Droid X is fairly crap. I’m going to say it’s actually worse than iPhone 3G.

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