Bought a Droid

Wow, a blog post. It’s been a while.

If you read my Facebook wall, or follow me on Twitter, you know I have a Droid now. I love it. One of my friends asked me (in an email) about it and this is the reply I sent. I thought it would make a good blog post, so here it is.


I love my Droid. One major thing I like is the real keyboard. Also check the 3G coverage map, AT&T’s coverage sucks ass outside the major corridors. Normal cell coverage works, but no, or slow data.

As far as Droid vs iPhone, I have nothing against the iPhone as hardware, it’s a nice piece of kit. It’s Apple’s business practices that will keep me from buying anything from them.

The other major plus as far as I’m concerned is the tight integration with Google – my contacts are stored in my Gmail account – edit them on the phone and they are instantly (more or less) updated on Gmail and vice-versa. It made moving my contacts to the phone really easy – I exported a CSV from Outlook, massaged it in Excel and imported it into Gmail. Viola – my contacts were on the phone.

Also I started this reply on my Droid, saved it as a draft and am now working on it on the Gmail web interface. I think that’s pretty stinking cool.

As for battery life, yes, it depends. Like all cell phones, if you are in a poor (or no) coverage area it will burn through the battery really fast. But you can disable the cell radio and just use the local apps if you know you are out of coverage for a while. Under normal daily use I get about 16 hours out of it (I unplug it at 6:30am and plug it back in at 11:00pm or so – and there is still battery left.) No smart phone is going to match the battery life (days) of a normal cell phone. You will want a car charger. You will want to retrofit a charger to the motorcycle if you go on long trips (I plan on getting another car charger, tearing it apart and putting it in my tank bag.)

The GPS is pretty nice – but so is the one on the iPhone. Having Google Maps is cool, but if you have no data coverage it can’t d/l the maps while you are on the go. They are talking about caching the Google maps, but it’s not there yet. Also, you don’t appear to be able to modify the suggested route at this time although forum posts suggest you may have been able to in the past or maybe can on other phones.

I bought ($30! – so far the only app I have paid for) a GPS program called CoPilot Live that has maps loaded on the phone and interfaces with a PC based app. I’m not sure if I want to try and use my Droid as a GPS on my motorcycle or not. There is a weatherproof case I found for $35 online…

As far as the apps go, there are tons. So far I have found everything I wanted to do (and more.) Some apps are great, some are good and some you uninstall after trying them once. But there are lots of free ones to choose from.

I have taken photos with it and uploaded them to Twitter and Facebook – it’s dead simple. I have not looked at the photos in an image editing program yet, so I don’t know what the quality is – I’m guessing not great. It’s a 5MP camera, but it’s got a tiny lens – and the low-light photos suck. But it does have a “flash” that is really, really bright. (No flash on the iPhone.)

It has an MP3 player built in, but doesn’t interface with iTunes. But it’s certainly easy to get the songs on it – you just plug the USB cable into your PC, mount it as a USB drive and drag and drop the mp3s onto it. You can even drag them out of iTunes right onto it.

The Droid comes with a 16GB SD card. And a 32GB card is starting to become available. And it’s user swappable, as is the battery. (Neither are true on the iPhone.)

There is not much fuckery involved. It just works. It’s pretty simple to use.

It seems pretty sturdy – I’ve dropped it twice: once in the grocery store – about three feet to the concrete, and once at home – about three feet to the wooden floor – and no damage. I do have one tiny little ding in the screen (probably from one of the drops) so get a screen protector right away – I have one on it now.

I would recommend it. As a matter of fact, I suggested my cousin buy one and she told me she didn’t want all that stuff on her phone and bought something else (not an iPhone.) She hated it, returned it and bought a Droid. She loves it. 🙂

There are other geeky reasons to like the Droid, but I know you probably don’t care that I can open a terminal on my phone and run linux commands, or the fact that I can tether it to my laptop and get internet access through it. And the fact that I can do all this (and more) without having to “jailbreak” or “root” the phone…

As far as should you buy an iPhone or a Droid, that’s something I can’t answer. Obviously I chose to buy a Droid.


After writing this email I went looking for information about iTunes and the Android phones and found something called DoubleTwist that is supposed to read your iTunes library and sync it with anything. I think it’s supposed to be an iTunes replacement actually. I’ll be downloading that at home and trying it.

Oh, and you know that Steve Jobs said “Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.” right?

That might be the deal breaker for some people. 🙂

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