What is in the blurry picture to the left is my old Motorola W755 cell phone and my new Motorola Droid. In the past several months I had pretty much ignored my W755. As a phone it was decent enough. However when I wasn’t in a location where I could be reached via a land line I was often conversing with people via IM or Facebook more than phone. So when our contract with Verizon was up and they bribed us with new free phones I look more towards the smart phones than a replacement simple phone. I decided to get a Droid partly because of the geek factor but largely because it had the latest Android OS and a hardware keyboard. My wife also got one because it was Buy-One-Get-One free even though she was eying the Blackberry Curve (because it was lavender!).
It arrived yesterday. I was expecting for it to be a fun little gadget but in the first 24 hours it has completely blown away any expectations I had for it. Here’s a short list of things I’ve done since getting it activated (which was a chore, but not because of the phone).
- Configured it so that it uses my WiFi for data when in the house. Even though we have unlimited data on the phone this provides a nice speed boost.
- Downloaded an App for playing Pandora. Within 10 minutes of activation I had Within Temptation streaming to my phone. Nice!
- Set up my Facebook account with the built in app. Found it to be quite nice and let my Facebook friends know the Droid was live.
- Played around with Google Maps and cackled with glee as the on-board GPS was identifying where I was inside my house.
- Found an app to measure the strengths of local WiFi signals. Found out they are all on channel 6, including mine. Which means pretty soon I’ll be bumping mine to 11.
- Configured built-in email app to use my personal email that I run. Finally found a reason to allow SMTP time authentication.
- Imported all my contacts… from Facebook. I only had to add a few numbers from my W755.
- Plugged my Droid into my Dell Mini. Got it to be recognized as a USB drive by the Mini. Copied Within Temptation’s “The Silent Force” onto my Droid. Started playing it shortly thereafter. Not too bad considering I ripped the CD to OGG and not MP3. Take that, iPod Nano!
- Installed Seesmic, test tweeted, worked perfectly.
- VNCed into my Linux server and manipulated the torrents running there.
- Found an application, Layar, which tales GPS and tilt coordinates and overlays a layer on top of the picture from the camera. This layer superimposes data from different sources. The first one I checked? Tweets with geoloc. What I found? My neighbor across the street and 3 houses down was looking for someone to split the cost of Carrie Underwood tickets. She tweeted right about the time I had installed the app.
I am simply agog at all I have been able to do with this little machine. It’s more a mini-computer that happens to be a phone. The interface is quite intuitive and dead sexy. The best part is that it replaces several pieces of gear.
- While my wife’s Cannon PC1355 has better picture quality the camera in the Droid easily beats what my W755 had for on-the-spot quick pics where spontaneity is more important than quality.
- Aside from DRM enabled tracks the Droid can replace my Nano. Heck, it does Ogg which means I can dump all my duplicate MP3s. While I am not happy that I can’t strip the DRM from the iTunes tracks I legally purchased I’d rather have to repurchase those tracks than have to forgo ripping to Ogg.
- On-the-go Youtube & Pandora platform. Be even better if Hulu and Netflix worked, too, but I ain’t complaining.
- Facebook, Twitter, IM and email on-the-go.
- Oh, and it’s a phone…
When we were going to order the phones my wife was worried that this would be as used as the W755. I think it is safe to say with all it can do that the chances of that are quite low. 😉