a take on the droid

motorola droid
By now, everyone has read a glowing review (or two) of the Motorola Droid, an Android 2.0 phone for Verizon, so I won’t bore you with the details. But from the perspective of someone who has used Windows Mobile (or Windows Phone) in its every incarnation, the Android OS is so relieving. It actually feels modern where even Windows Mobile 6.5, the latest version, remained ancient. The pull-down notification panel works better, the desktop with movable widgets allows for more useful customization, and downloading from the Android Market is actually a pleasant experience. Here’s the deal…

The Droid is an excellent phone. I went with it because I was tired of waiting for Windows Mobile Phone to play catch up. Windows Mobile 7 has the potential to be a hit, and Zune integration could be excellent, but all that still remains on the horizon. A Windows Phone with any Xbox capabilities at all would have been killer, but Microsoft dropped the ball consistently with their wait-and-see, complacent approach. The OS is probably still the most robust and truly capable, but it was always the developers that spurred it on and the community seems to be shifting toward the iPhone, and, yes, Android.

So now that’s where I am, and so far, so good. I will say that Verizon’s 3G has been amazing, both in terms of coverage and quality. Coupled with the built-in ability to search Google by voice and there’s no reason to ever stop browsing the web. The free Google Maps Navigation is a nice touch. I still have to get used to some nuances of the device, and the on-screen keyboard has proved tricky to master. But for those who steadfastly refuse to fund Apple’s ever-advancing smugness and superciliousness, the Droid is the best choice. Or the Palm Pre, but that’s another story.

droid running friends of mineral townJust a couple of random points: the flash on the camera is very bright, but the camera itself is hit-or-miss (a software update could help it out). See the sample shots below. And perhaps most importantly, there is a very good Android Gameboy Advance emulator available, called Gameboid. The free version seems to only limit save-state functionality, while still allowing in-game saves, and it runs surprisingly smoothly, full screen, with sound. The implication? Access to arguably the best Harvest Moon game ever made…

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