Friday, April 29, 2011

On Selecting the Droid

A week ago, Verizon informed me that I was eligible for a new cell phone at a discounted price. I was happy, for the most part, with my Blackberry, but it was clear that the Blackberry is becoming the red-headed stepchild of smartphones, with all the cool apps being developed for either the Droid or the iPhone. Being the tech-lover I am, I wanted to get in on that action.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I just kind of assumed I'd upgrade to an iPhone if it ever became available for Verizon. When that finally happened, I started looking into it, and I was dismayed by what I found out. One of the chief attractions of the iPhone, for me, was the opportunity to combine my iPod and my phone. However, as my 40GB iPod is already nearing its capacity, the largest (32GB) iPhone was already too small to hold all my music, to say nothing of downloading apps, taking photos, or whatever. If they offered a (much) higher-capacity iPhone (say, 80GB), I likely would have considered it more. Although a model like that would probably be cost-prohibitive.

Another factor that weighed against the iPhone is that I really like having a physical keyboard instead of just the touchscreen version. I very much prefer texting and email to actually talking on the phone, and my (admittedly limited) experiences playing with the iPhone showed me that the touchscreen keyboard was way too much of a pain to be a viable option for me.

So I eschewed the iPhone, opting instead for the Droid 2. I got it on Monday of this week, and I absolutely love it. I'm using it to compose this post, as a matter of fact. It won't replace my iPod, but with Amazon's Cloud Player and the Pandora Radio app, it'll do just fine in the music department. And the web browser is light-years better than what I had on my Blackberry.

It's turning out to be pretty handy in other ways too. I downloaded a Couch to 5K app that will help me build up my running endurance and (hopefully) avoid the injury issues I experienced last year. I've already done my first successful run with it. I can also access Google Docs when I want to do some writing on the go. At some point I'll probably even give the Kindle app a try. I'm a little resistant to the idea of e-books, but they probably have their place. I don't yet have a subscription to, but I love the fact that I can watch games on my phone if I do sign up; and eventually I assume Netflix will offer a streaming video app as well.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the battery life, which, to be blunt, is laughably brief. I understand that it's a pretty powerful machine for something so small, but having to recharge it during the day as well as overnight is pretty ridiculous for a device that's ostensibly designed to be used on the go. It isn't a huge deal for me since I work at home anyway, but I'll definitely have to remember to give it a fresh charge anytime I need to go somewhere and actually might use it while I'm out.

Of course, I understand that battery life is a common strike against all smartphones, not this one in particular, so that's something I'd be dealing with anyway. That being the case, I highly recommend the Droid 2 for anyone looking for a new phone. It's a pretty sweet little gadget.

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