Tag Archive for ‘Droid’

The DROID’s ‘1.0 Issues’ ➝

Stewart Alsop regarding the Motorola DROID handset:

The hardware (which is Motorola’s) mostly works. The keyboard is horrible and I’ve never used it, which means that it is a real design flaw given how much weight and mechanical operation it adds to the device. (The software keyboard works well enough that I’ve found it adequate but the other problems with the software make it barely useable.) The camera button on my Droid doesn’t work and never has, so I call up the camera from the home screen. The on-off button is poorly placed for one-handed operation and requires real force to actuate. But this is just version 1.0 issues that Motorola will likely fix next time out.

So, a non-functioning camera button and a poorly designed on-off button is a 1.0 issue? I’m not sure if that’s the case given that the company who designs the DROID has been making cell phones for over 26 years.

I agree with Alsop on all of his other points regarding the DROID’s software but I think the hardware deserves more criticism. It’s almost as if he’s given Motorola a free pass to manufacture terrible hardware.

Previously:
11/18/09:
DROID’s Autofocus Breaks Every 24.5 Days
11/12/09: DROID Limited to 256MB of App Storage
10/29/09: Motorola DROID

Update 12/20/09: The Motorola DROID has some serious hardware shortcomings, and apparently, the only solution Verizon has is to put a band-aid on it. Flickr user Anticitizen published an image of a Verizon sticker on the back of his DROID. From the images caption:

Took my phone to the Verizon store, and this is their solution.

It’s better than what the original rep tried to do, which is put scotch tape on it.

IMO, for a $200 phone, this is unacceptable.

DROID’s Autofocus Breaks Every 24.5 Days ➝

There were several reports on both Android Forums and HowardForums of problems with the Motorola DROID’s autofocus. Yesterday, the issue seemed to resolve itself, without warning.

At first users believed that Motorola had fixed the problem by pushing a silent firmware update which fixed the issue. But, it turns out that due to a very odd software bug, the Motorola DROID’s autofocus goes through cycles of good and bad performance. Every 24.5 days it will experience a shift in performance quality one way or the other.

We’re currently in one of the good cycles but a fix should be out by December 11, when the next shift would happen.

Google’s Dan Morrill explains it best in Engadget’s comments:

There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.

The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.

What an odd bug.

DROID Limited to 256MB of App Storage ➝

Taylor Wimberly:

The Motorola Droid will be the most powerful Android phone to date when it launches on November 6, 2009. However, the device still features the same shortcomings of all other Android phones. The Droid ships with a 512 MB ROM which contains only 256 MB available for app storage.

Google does not support installing apps to the SD card (and likely never will), so developers are limited in what they can create.

I understand the appeal of using SD cards to expand the storage of a device, but Motorola should know that 256MB isn’t going to be large enough for some users. Compared to most users, I only have a few apps installed on my iPhone and my apps are already using up 246MB of storage. I can’t imagine being constrained to 256MB.

I think the DROID and the DROID Eris are the best two Android devices ever made, but with operating system shortcomings like this, I don’t see how they expect to be taken seriously.

Previously:
11/8/09:
HTC DROID Eris
10/29/09: Motorola DROID

HTC DROID Eris ➝

HTC DROID Eris

The HTC DROID Eris has been announced and is now on sale at Verizon stores for $99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract.

The DROID Eris is the second DROID device but does not run Android 2.0, instead it runs 1.5. This choice was made so that the device could run HTC’s Sense UI.

I stopped by my local Verizon store to try out both the DROID and the DRIOD Eris and although I didn’t mind the Eris, I did not like the DROID. The Eris seemed polished, like it was really ready to hit the market, on the other hand, the DROID didn’t. Neither the hardware or software keyboard felt comfortable to use, the design of the software and hardware didn’t feel finished, and the home screen reminded me of Windows 3.1. Honestly, how am I supposed to take a mobile browser seriously when it has zoom in and zoom out buttons in the bottom corner?

Previously:
10/29/09:
Motorola DROID
10/18/09: Verizon Debuts Teaser for ‘Droid’ Handset
10/11/09: Verizon and Google Partnering on Android

Update 11/12/09: DROID Limited to 256MB of App Storage

Motorola DROID ➝

Motorola DROID

Verizon has officially announced the Motorola DROID. The device will cost $199.99 on contract (after mail-in rebate) and will be available November 6.

DROID will be running Android 2.0 and have visual voicemail. The device features a large 3.7-inch 854×480 display, 5 megapixel camera, a 16GB memory card, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Amazon MP3 downloads.

This is really the first Android device that has really made me take notice. Engadget has had some hands-on time with the device and seems to like it, mentioning noticeable speed improvements compared to other Android devices.

  • That big screen is killer. Bright, crisp, and tons of room for your icons and widgets.
  • Speed is noticeably improved — particularly when moving from app to app. We did notice that some of the home screen scrolling looked laggy.
  • Android 2.0 is definitely cleaned up — but it’s most definitely still Android

The biggest new feature in the Motorola DROID is Google Maps Navigation, which will be available to Android 2.0 devices. All of the standard turn-by-turn navigation features are there but with Google’s implementation you also get the most up-to-date map and business data (using your data connection), voice search, and street view.

The Wall Street Journal is already reporting that shares of TomTom and Garmin have dropped dramatically after Google’s announcement. It appears that stand-alone navigation units will soon be a thing of the past.

Previously:
10/18/09:
Verizon Debuts Teaser for ‘Droid’ Handset

Update 10/31/09: Wilson Rothman, of Gizmodo, regarding Google Maps Navigation:

You might still see the occasional sale of a Navigon or a CoPilot, because of particular necessary features and because of the onboard map databases (which people who go off-grid prefer), but really, this thing would—and probably will—swallow the GPS app market alive.

Because of that, I am hoping Google’s developers pay close attention to this review, too. The app is still in beta, but there’s a lot of user-interface work yet to be done. Google: If you’re going to knock everyone else off the mountain, at least give us an app worthy of a king.

Joshua Topolsky, of Engadget, has published his review of the Motorola DROID. He likes it, especially the hardware — calling it “easily the best Android phone to date.”

Greg Kumparak published his comparison of the iPhone 3GS and the Motorola DROID on MobileCrunch. Aside from the Palm Pre, these are the only two phones I would currently recommend anyone purchase.

Update 11/6/09: Network World is reporting that the Motorola DROID will have a $30 per month unlimited (which means 5GB) data plan. If you want to add tethering to that plan it will cost an extra $30, doubling the price of data to a total of $60 per month.

Update 11/8/09: HTC DROID Eris

Update 11/12/09: DROID Limited to 256MB of App Storage

Update 11/21/09: Amazon currently has the Motorola DROID for $149.99 with a 2-year contract, that’s $50 off Verizon’s price.

Update 11/24/09: Once exclusive to the DROID, Google Maps Navigation has finally come to Android 1.6.

Verizon Debuts Teaser for ‘Droid’ Handset

Droid Does

Verizon and Google have already announced their “strategic partnership” and it may already be taking shape. Last night Verizon unveiled its teaser for the upcoming Android 2.0 powered “Droid” handset.

The device is being marketed as a direct iPhone rival. The teaser basically consists of a list of features that the iPhone doesn’t have that the Droid does.

The device is purported to be manufactured by Motorola but the “Droid” brand is going to be owned by Verizon. The handset is rumored to have an OMAP3430 processor, 5 megapixel camera (which is confirmed in the teaser), a slideout QWERTY keyboard, a 3.7-inch 854×480 touchscreen, and doesn’t seem to run MotoBlur.

John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, points out that the teaser’s small print notes “Droid” as a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and is being licensed to Verizon. Licensing this name in particular was a wise choice on Verizon’s part. “Droid” is the perfect name for an Android device and (as Gruber puts it) “sort of implicitly establishes it as the Android phone.”

This also confirms that Verizon isn’t getting the iPhone anytime soon.

Droid from Verizon Wireless.

Previously:
10/11/09:
Verizon and Google Partnering on Android

Update 10/19/09: The Boy Genius Report has managed to get some hands on time with the Motorola/Verizon Droid. According to the Boy Genius, it’s basically the best Android device ever made. Regarding the design of the device:

From what we’ve been told, Google had a direct hand in the Motorola Droid. Something to the point of almost dictating every move Motorola made when designing and making the phone.

Interesting indeed.

Update 10/22/09: The Boy Genius Report has some screenshots of the Droid on Motorola’s website. They don’t link directly to the page, so either the page has been taken down or the Boy Genius decided not to make the link public.

Engadget is reporting that Verizon has sent out invitations for a special event to be held on October 28 where they will officially unveil the Motorola Droid.

Update 10/25/09: The Boy Genius Report managed to have some hands on time with the Motorola Droid. From the preview:

The Motorola CLIQ was a pretty big disappointment for me personally, but oh man does the Droid make up for it. Sure, there’s a little hype sprinkled in because this is the first Android 2.0 device I’ve had the pleasure of using, but once you move past the initial “wow” factor, the Droid really delivers. Whether it’s Verizon’s ad campaign or Motorola’s that pits the Droid against the iPhone it doesn’t matter. The Droid isn’t an iPhone competitor because nothing at this point in time is an iPhone competitor besides the new iPhone. And things don’t have to be right now. Everyone can eat. So will the Motorola Droid be successful? Absolutely, we think. It will eat in to BlackBerry sales, Windows Mobile sales, and positively murder any lingering Palm Pre sales. It’s that good.

The Droid is the first handset that has actually made me pay attention to the Android scene. The Boy Genius notes the hype surrounding the device and quite frankly, that could be the reason I’m finally paying attention. But from what I’ve seen, the device looks good. I do agree with the Boy Genius though, nothing really competes with the iPhone at this point. Apple has found their market share and will continue to sell new phones to those customers, everyone else is left fighting for the remainder of the market.

The Boy Genius Report appears to have removed the page from their website, so I’ve linked to a Google cached version of the page.

Update 10/29/09: Motorola DROID

Update 11/8/09: HTC DROID Eris