Verizon's (Stalking) iPhone killer
by, 01-02-2010 at 08:49 AM (2287 Views)
Yes, I know it is a cliched title at this point and yes it is cliche to once again promote yet another smartphone to 'iPhone killer' status however in this case it definitely sets the roots to become one. Think of the Motorola Droid as Michael Myers hiding behind a hedgerow and the iPhone as Laurie Strode slowly walking down the sidewalk, schoolbooks tightly clutched to her chest, knowing someone is there but daring not to look.
The Droid is ready to pounce and create a bloody crime scene but it hasn't done it yet. This is but the first move in what I feel will be known as the Android Assault of 2010. Chances are this time next year you may own one of these phones and after owning the Motorola Droid on my favorite and reliable wireless network for almost two months now it is easy to see why.
Being a Blackberry user for the past year I enjoyed the insane communication aspects of it. The Blackberry Messenger was the killer (There is that word again) app IMO on the phone due to its easy to use nature of sending off an instant chat or message to anyone I knew who owned a Blackberry device. Almost everyone I want to keep in touch with is on the thing, and currently is still. The instant push email was another plus but overall the idea of having this finely tuned, albeit clunky and archaic in some ways, pocket computer within my grasp on the best cell network had been a pipedream for me since the year 2000.
At that time I had owned a Palm and later moved onto a Casio branded Pocket PC device and would fantasize nightly about laying in bed browsing the web and checking my email, things that nowadays are taken for granted. I remember trying Palm's $50 a month email & 'web' service on my Palm VII for a month and canceling for obvious reasons, however I was such a gadget whore I had to check this stuff out - I mean come on, this was cutting edge! The Palm VII had an antenna unique to it that could suck down wireless connections, not WiFi mind you, but cell network type stuff.
And it sucked.
So I moved onto my Casio Cassiopeia Pocket PC.
I gotta tell you, what an upgrade. I mean look at that thing. Nine years ago that sucker was cutting edge and you know something? I still think it looks pretty damned snazzy. Beautiful touch screen, decent Windows CE OS, great media player, * it freaking played MAME *but there was always something that didn't come out and bring it all home - It lacked internet. That is unless you wanted to purchase a $100+ 56k dongle that plugged into a wall jack hereby removing the portability of the device.
So I did the next best thing; I would take websites and store them in offline status so I could read them at the dentist office or at work on my lunch break. Mind you this was before blogs, Twitter or even before RSS so it would be the articles saved onto a memory card for offline reading. I do this now to this very day however the iPod Touch and of course the Droid make it more magical because it's live. I can even admit that one of my favorite things going on within my new Droid phone is the fact I can bring up cutting edge live RSS news feeds via Google Reader at any time I wish. So my 3G signal can't penetrate the lead walls of my wok space? Who cares. I also have WiFi support as well!
It's damn good that the Droid only has a micro USB port because I'm getting very excited just talking about all this.
So where am I going with all this? Yes, I know the iPhone has been capable of doing these things for a few years now...However the iPhone is also on a horrible network and does little niggling things that make me mental. Lack of multitask is one of them. I'm listening to Pandora but I want to send off an email or read an instant message...Forget it. Wait your turn bitches because the iPhone is an ADD whore that demands attention up front. Many people seem to not care about multitasking but this is 2010 now and I know what I want and can be picky about it too because this isn't the era of the Palm VII and I've gotten very greedy over the years. My Droid can stream Pandora, collect emails, browse the web, take calls and do all this without a hitch. The Blackberry can as well however the web browser is absolute trash, once again as I said there is always somethinnggggg.
Since owning a Blackberry I quickly got greedy about what I wanted. Push Email simply wasn't enough, streaming Pandora or Slacker wasn't enough, either was using Viigo for RSS newsreading...I demanded more. I wanted a capable web browser now. I didn't want to have to have three different web browser apps combined to get my web browsing duties done less horribly than another, and on top of all this I wanted it to be quick too. So I started toting around an iPod Touch to cover up for the lack functions in my Berry and reaffirmed to myself that this is how it will be, and that it worked and to live with it. Then after months of carrying both devices with me in each of my work pants pockets I simply got sick of it. I was catering to the tech instead of the tech catering to me. Technology is supposed to help man, not be a burden. I decided I was tired of feeling ridiculous at lunch with an iPod Touch on the table browsing the web on work WiFi while I was sending Shane a message on my Blackberry and I wanted what I had wanted all along - An all in one device.
So I'm watching the World Series because I jumped on the Phillies bandwagon (I loved baseball and the Phils when I was a kid) when suddenly I am assaulted by the 'Droid Does' ads from Verizon. Yeah OK, whatever...I'm not one for hype and I was happily in love with my Blackberry Tour, regardless of what I've written so far. Besides I was jonesing for this Tour since the beginning of the year to upgrade my Blackberry Curveasaurus and it was great! There was no way I could even imagine being awestruck by this....Droid....A phone that Verizon had to seek copyright permission from nostalgia killing George Lucas to use as a name. But being the gadget slob I am I had to check this bitch out in person. I wasn't sold on touch screens at this point, the Blackberry Storm was laughable and typing on the iPod Touch digital keyboard was like Vietnamese bamboo 'tiger claw' torture. Right off the bat the fact the Droid had a slide out keyboard put the ball in its court - A physical keyboard and a touch screen? OK, you got me now...What else can you offer me? Whoa, that screen is gorgeous...:::starts to type monroeworld.com::: Wait, what is this microphone icon? :::says "monroeworld"::: Wow...Google just gave me monroeworld.com instantly via voice input! What can I say, I'm greedy and even very picky but I'm also easily amused and this adorable thing just made me grin inside. It doesn't take much and I thought this was damned cool.
My next box to check in this phone was the web browser and after being head over heels in love with Safari on the Touch I knew it had a lot to live up to. My fears were for not. Not only does it meet the Touch's Safari but thanks to the Droid's insanely dense pixelicous screen resolution, it surpases the portable web browsing experience. You can hold this phone in horizontal position without zoom in many cases and still have a full readable website. Of course since I'm nearsighted this isn't an issue for me but it blew me away. Simply awesome.
Apps. Apps. Apps. Everyone loves their apps. Since Apple created this surge in apps everyone is now playing catch up and says that Google Android nor anyone else has a chance in hell of catching up. I cry total BS at this. If you go and dwell deep enough through the Apple App store you'll find a plethora of great apps and games, and yes, there are plenty to choose from. The problem is, just like everything, there is good and bad and the ratio is damned 50/50 IMO. The Android Marketplace is shockingly decent. I went in with a low expectation threshold but was surprised to find that everything I could do on my iPod Touch in concern with functionality, the apps over on the Droid met them head on.
Some of the biggies being...
* Ebook reader - Check
* Podcatcher - Check
* RSS reader - Check (Google Reader!)
* The Weather Channel - Check
* Slacker & Pandora - Check and Check
* XBOX Live Friends list - Check and free for that matter unlike on the Touch.
As for games? Well I hear Nintendo makes a great little handheld that has actual controls on it.
So moving on....
Throw in the Google integration, the insane 2.0 OS GPS Google Navigation (Garmin should be shaking in their boots, no joke), and the fact it is on a super reliable network and you have yourself a lot of potential here. With Google's big announcement of the Nexus One on January 5th, I can honestly say that 2010 will be the year this Android OS will mature and people will take notice. Thanks in part to this Droid phone being the flagship in getting the ball rolling.
That ball is being passed back to Apple now - It's your move Steve, and I'll give you a hint: If even the 4th generation iPhone screen doesn't meet or beat the Droid's alone, you are in trouble. Going back to the iPod Touch screen after using the Droid all day is like that first time you saw Super Mario 64 in action in 1997. Was great wasn't it? But looking at it now things start to look a bit rough. And quite frankly I cannot go back.
P.S. I'm hoping to start using this blog more often. :P