At Surgeworks, we’re getting ready for the Android 2.0 powered phones wave coming in 2010, and are already able to develop custom native Android apps thanks to Rhodes.
The Motorola Droid – coming November 7th, 2009 at 199$ with a new 2 years contract – is Motorola’s first Android powered phone and one of the first devices to feature Android 2.0 out-of-the-box. Verizon’s first Android phone sports a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, GPS, WiFi, 3G data, microSD card and Android OS 2.0.
What follows is my first impression given by the videos I’ve gathered from YouTube and a couple reviews I’ve read. I’ll welcome your comments and especially any first-hand user experience!
The Droid is a pretty impressive device: Motorola is clearly putting its best effort in getting back into the game with this new smartphone. One of the main sales points of this device the media is doing buzz about is its Google Navigation app, which is like Tom Tom made by Google. It relies on Google Maps service and while this means it can’t work without an active network connection, it also means it supports all Google Maps features (such as Street View) along with all the features you’d expect form a dedicated GPS device. But don’t envy the Google Navigation app too much. According to AppleInsider.com, Google is porting the app to the iPhone. Therefore, let’s just hope Apple won’t be so blind to keep it in the reviewers limbo as it did with the previous app Google submitted…
I was impressed by the voice recognition quality you can see in one of the videos in my YouTube Playlist: it worked nicely even in a noisy room. What I wasn’t really impressed by is the physical keyboard and that sort of trackpad/joystick Motorola has added to the mix. If you owned any Motorola phones, you know they can do eye catching designs but they seldom get the best results in terms of usability.
In my opinion, this is a try-before-you-buy device. The physical keyboard looks like a great addition, however multiple sources reported it to be too flat and difficult to use.
The camera is better then the iPhone’s and the flash is great, but we still have to see the actual pictures and video quality — not to mention how fast the point and shoot can be. That’s the biggest show stopper with the iPhone’s camera to me (I never manage to catch the moment…”carpe diem”) and why I have a dedicated digital camera to take real photos and real HD videos (it’s the Panasonic Lumix ZS3 by the way)…
Now take a closer look at the videos. You’ll see the CNet Motorola Droid was very fast and smooth, but when you get to the PC Magazine’s one, the Android 2.0 powered phone has a hard time scrolling through the page and zooming in and out, returning a somewhat “clunky” experience. That’s still an amazing performance compared to all the smartphones out there but the iPhone.
I mean, you want to be an iPhone killer given they made an effort to have bigger numbers in all departments (bigger screen, higher resolution, better camera, replaceable battery, expandable memory…), you will definitely be compared to it. From what I can tell, the Motorola Droid gives the user a not-as-smooth experience compared to the iPhone and it does not cost less.
Today, you can get the iPhone 3G for much less (in Europe, you get it at 0 euros with a 2 years contract) and it’s not a poor choice. In my opinion, we’ll see much better Android 2.0 devices in 2010, featuring better design at a lower price tag so if you’re after a great mobile device to get this christmas, you should stick with the iPhone.