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Anoid by the Droid

Well, always an early adopter if it’s Mac compatible, I gave in and traded up from a Treo 700p to a Motorola Droid. I’ve had it less than 24 hours. I can return it within 30 days.

It has very good fast internet browser, great screen, reasonable email, OK phone.

But let me rather focus on the inadequacies.

The physical keyboard that slides out is cool but inferior to that on my Treo. The keys are flat and right next to each other, so you need fingernails or very small ladyfingers to hit them accurately. I end up holding it with my left hand and using my right index finger on both the left and right hand sides of the keyboard, not very comfortable, whereas on the Treo I was much faster with two thumbs. The Treo keys are hemispherical and easy to make contact with, and clearly separated.

On the software side, the Droid is an incomplete work, which is where most of the problems lie. There are a host of inadequacie, of which I mention just a few:

No password to lock the phone.

An iPhone, a Palm, or even my Newton of many years ago are integrated systems with the software and hardware built by one manufacturer, more or less, even though you can/could buy extras. They mostly came with a Calendar, Contacts, a Notebook or Memo pad and a Todo list, all the stuff you need. The hardware and basic software was built by the same company. They had a uniformity that made them easy to use. Even my Treo, which is ancient, is a single thing on which I can do email, calendar, notes, lists, memos, contacts, etc, all in the same style and easily and I suddenly have more respect for it. And the Treo and iPhone sync with a Mac, so you can work on the mobile device and then move to the computer, or vice versa.

The Droid is a hybrid mish-mash. The calendar has no Todos as far as I can tell. There is no Note Pad. There is no synchronization with a Mac — you have to sync with Google Calendar and Google Contacts, which works very very well, but which I resent — I don’t really want to have to use Google’s server to store my information — that should be optional. There are fairly pathetic 3rd party ways of then syncing Google Calendar with iCal or something like that, but they don’t work reliably, and so far they don’t work for syncing Contacts from Google to the Mac. So you have to go through two steps to get the information on your computer: Droid–>Google Cloud–>Mac.

Yes, there is an SD storage card, but no, there is no way to access it except by USB drag and drop, and when you move a file there, there is no native way to see it or access it. How are you supposed to read or write anything? Or look at attachments?

Verizon claims you can do all this with third-party stuff, and maybe you can, but you have to pay for it and there isn’t a lot of it, and worse, that stuff will likely not synchronize. The Droid, like a lot of things these days, has been released too early. Some of this will be solved as third-parties step in to provide syncing for iTunes, iPhoto, Notes, etc, but that’s not there yet and it’s unlikely to be very good.

The Droid has a spiritual feel that is techy, for Linux lovers, whereas what you want in something like this is to be a dumb consumer that has everything you need out of the box, which Apple understands. And even they didn’t provide Notes and cut-and-paste at the beginning.

I think the Droid gets maybe more respect than it deserves because of who makes it (Google has become a 900lb gorilla) rather than what they’ve made, which may be true of the Kindle too.

Summary: The Droid is more of a pain in the ass than I expected, a sort of incipient Hemodroid that may make life difficult. I will persevere for now.

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