The Motorola DROID is an impressive smartphone that looks to outperform every available competitor in just about every way. And this with a $199 price tag (after a $100 mail-in rebate and 2-year Verizon Wireless contract). Here's the low-down on the most attractive features offered by DROID. Shop Now: Motorola DROID $199
Let's start with the dazzling customizable touchscreen interface of the Motorola DROID. The 3.7-inch screen is bigger than the DROID's primary competitor (oh I'll just say it, the iPhone) by .2 inches. While that may not seem like a lot, you'll really notice it when you load webpages on your DROID and notice that you don't have to scroll or zoom out to see the entirety of them. Even better, DROID's crisp, gorgeous 854x480 pixel display is significantly sharper and more vibrant than the iPhone's 480x320 display, so you can view smaller text without zooming in. Perhaps these are little things to some, but I know how many times on the iPhone that I'm stuck zooming in and out trying to find the balance between too small to read and too big to fit on the screen.
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Speaking of web browsing, the Motorola DROID boasts built-in HTML5 support and a Flash 10 ready browser. In other words, it's fast, on the level of a desktop. Combine this with the high resolution touchscreen, and you've got a pretty powerful streaming media player. If you like streaming video on your smartphone, Verizon is touting DROID's video playback capabilities as "DVD quality."
DROID by Motorola also features the slimmest slide-out QWERTY keyboard of any available smartphone. If you haven't yet learned to type with your thumbs, it may take some getting used to, but it's a definite advantage over error-prone touchscreen keyboards. I've got thin fingers, and I still have to waste time backing up to correct words on touchscreens. Of course, the trade-off for having a slide-out QWERTY keyboard on a smartphone is additional weight, and it is true that the DROID weighs more than the iPhone--by a mere ounce. The DROID has a remarkably small profile for how powerful it is, weighing in at only six ounces, and just 1/2-inch thick, 4.6 inches tall, and 2.4 inches wide.
Possibly the most impressive feature of the Motorola DROID is the Google Maps Navigation application, which turns your cell phone into a full-blown GPS navigation system. Using the power of Google Maps, the DROID will give you real-time, turn-by-turn navigation, with voice guidance and 3D maps. It even goes beyond most dedicated GPS units by responding to voice commands, so you can keep your eyes on the road while your DROID begins plotting a route to your destination. You can also opt to add on a dashboard mount for your DROID, making any dedicated GPS system more or less superfluous. DROID is pushing the envelope for what's possible in a smartphone. Sooner or later these things will drive us to work.
The Google Maps Navigation app isn't the only voice-activated feature on DROID. In fact, voice commands are an integral part of DROID's next-gen cachet. With the touch of a button, you can launch the Google voice search function to perform web searches for local businesses or destinations, or have DROID search your own contacts--or both at the same time. With another voice command, DROID will dial up those contacts or launch the Google Maps app to point you in the direction of that restaurant you've been dying to try.
In addition to the Google Maps Navigation app, users will be able to pack DROID with up to 16GB (or 32GB with an upgrade) of cool apps and widgets from the thousands available on Android Market. Now here's the cool part! DROID will allow you to use up to six apps at the same time and easily switch between them with the touch of a button. That's pretty amazing, I gotta say. We all love apps for our smartphones, as demonstrated by the billions we've downloaded so far, but only being able to use one function at a time is a thing of the past. Multi-tasking is a crucial component of DROID. You'll also be able to integrate your business and personal emails into one inbox, and store all of your contacts in one master list.
One of the first things I noted when I saw the buzz-worthy "iDont" TV ad was that DROID boasted the ability to take pictures in the dark. Once upon a time I thought a camera on a cell phone was nothing but a novelty. Then I started using my cell phone to take pictures of everything because, well, I never have my camera. But lacking a flash, autofocus or image stablization on a cell phone camera often resulted in some pretty worthless pictures. The 5 mega-pixel camera on the DROID, however, has a dual-LED flash, autofocus, and stabilization, as well video recording with easy upload capabilities so you can post your videos to YouTube in no time. In the ever-shrinking gap between cell phone and camera, DROID is the closest thing to the missing link.
So what, if anything, is DROID's weakness? Not much. About the most glaring deficiency of the DROID in comparison to, say, the iPhone, is that Google doesn't yet have an answer for iTunes. Nor does it seem to be interested in entering the downloadable music and videos market. So the DROID will lag behind the iPhone in terms of being an all-in-one music player. But to be perfectly honest, that's what an iPod is for, right?
Also, at the moment the Android Market is still behind Apple in its selection of available applications (Apple has on the order of 100,000--albeit many of which aren't that special). There is no reason to believe that Android will waste any time in catching up, however, especially given that Google has opted to make Android an open-source platform, giving application developers free reign to create DROID products. In contrast to Apple's tight control of developed products, Android's future in the application market is wide open, meaning we may see some pretty outstanding and creative applications.