Tag Archive for ‘Motorola’

Back Online with Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 ➝

After a few days of sporadic internet connectivity I’m finally back online. I spent far too long in modem swap hell with Time Warner Cable and decided to buckle down and purchase the Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 from my local Best Buy.

I decided on the SB6141 because it was the highest rated DOCSIS 3.0 modem on Newegg.com. Once I got it home, I made a (surprisingly) quick call to Time Warner, gave them the new modem’s MAC address, and was back online in about 30 seconds.

And now that I’m not spending $5.99 a month on modem rental fees, I’m seriously thinking about moving to Time Warner’s 50Mb down service.

Android Central Reviews the Motorola Xoom ➝

Phil Nickinson:

If a 10-inch tablet’s the size for you, and you can put up with the weight, and the headaches Android apps catching up to the Honeycomb universe, and the Xoom’s LTE radio not yet working, and making do with the 32GB of internal storage while you wait for the microSD card to be activated, and can afford the price, by all means, purchase.

That’s a lot of “ifs” for a tablet whose introductory price is $100 more than the iPad 2.

Palm Puts Itself Up for Sale ➝

Bloomberg reports that Palm has been working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer for the company.

HTC and Lenovo have both been mentioned as possible buyers. Dell is said to have also looked at buying Palm but ultimately decided against it.

Palm has been struggling for several years and I’m sad to say that, unless they find a suitable buyer, this could be the end. Palm has resorted to some desperate moves as of late, even offering their flagship device on Verizon for $49.99 with a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

So, who should buy Palm? As much as HTC would benefit from Palm’s patent portfolio in their lawsuit with Apple, I really think Om Malik was right when he said that Motorla should buy Palm. What Motorola needs is to differentiate. They shouldn’t just be another Windows Phone 7 or Android handset maker. They make good enough hardware, but why would anyone buy a Motorola handset over the Google branded Nexus One? I think webOS should be the answer.

Om Malik: Motorola Should Buy Palm ➝

Om Malik:

What Motorola needs to do is take a page from the Apple/RIM playbook and get vertically integrated.

And in order to do that, the company should buy Palm. As I’ve already noted, Palm has a great OS. It actually has a couple of other things going for it as well, including Jon Rubenstein and the team he’s assembled, many of whom are former Apple folks. The Palm team should do the software and Motorola’s engineers, the hardware. And when it comes to the hardware, again, it should be adopting Apple’s design and development principles, which Rubenstein must know pretty well.

I agree with Om. Handset manufacturers need to realize that they can’t just be another company building another Windows Mobile or Android device. HTC can do that only because they have clearly become both Google and Microsoft’s favorite hardware partner. But Motorola, with their flagship handset launching just 2 months before Google and HTC announce the Nexus One, needs to take a different approach.

Motorola should buy Palm because Motorola needs something that will help them stand out in the crowd, webOS would do just that.

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

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.