When it comes to cell phones I’ve pretty much been living in the middle ground of technology. I outgrew the most basic phones the various providers offer. I now demand certain minimal basics like easy text messaging, comprehensive contact lists, some access to games, etc.
Verizon has been a decent provider for me in that regard. Their phones haven’t been the most cutting-edge but certainly more than good enough. However, I’ve noticed that lately they’ve left me feeling a bit wanting. The biggest failing is with respect to web access. Trying to do anything on the web with one of the so-called “feature” phones Verizon offers is an exercise in futility.
That was one of the only features of the iPhone that had me experiencing any envy. Well, that and a robust application marketplace.
So I’d been watching the recent “iDon’t” commercials from Verizon. If you haven’t seen them you’re just not into phones, have been away or have no pulse (call 911 immediately). The commercials are about Verizon’s newest phones and what they do that the iPhone doesn’t. Frankly, they seemed directed right at me. Nearly every point they make is one I hold against the iPhone. Verizon’s new attack comes in the form of Android phones. These are phones that feature the Android operating system created by Google.
The phone that caught my attention was the Motorola Droid. The features looked amazing and it included the kinds of things I wanted including a real keyboard, replaceable battery, lots of processing power and an open design community. I picked one up the day they came out on November 6th.
The first surprise was that my Verizon store had some sort of deal going on that many others didn’t seem to offer. The Droid is $299 (with 2-year contract) with a $100 mail-in rebate. If you order it online it’s just $199. When I told the clerk I was interested he started piling up other boxes and my assumption was that I was about to be hit with an up-sell pitch. Instead I found out that they re-priced the phone to $249 and then use the remaining $50 to give you a car charger, the $30 docking station, and a basic case/protector. There was no option to drop the accessories and just pay $249.
Another surprise is that even though this phone is dramatically different from Verizon’s feature phones it still was able to get all my contacts and such ported over. Very nice.
In another post I’ll put up shortly I’m going to talk about my experience with the phone itself but I want to mention a couple of basic things here.
First, the docking station and car mount look like neat ideas but only if you don’t plan on using any kind of protective case. Using one means the phone won’t fit into either of these so they’re essentially wasted.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the charging/data cable is a standard mini USB connector and I already had plenty of these from my other feature phones.
Also be aware that if Verizon tries to give you a PRIVACY screen protector, don’t take it. In fact, I think they can’t now as they’ve been recalled. Why? Well, the Droid—like the iPhone—uses a capacitive technology that senses your finger electrically. The privacy screens are so thick that it heavily reduces this ability making the phone nearly useless.
All in all it’s been quite a change for me. Time will tell if this was the right move but in my next posts about the phone I’ll go over my experiences in detail.
Next up: The Droid – Physically Speaking