GeekTalk: The Droid

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Last Friday I donned my black suit, pinned my hair, and stepped into my conservative heels; it was time for my second interview.  I’d been through the first appointment with a company that really piqued my interest.  This time I was interviewing at a different branch some twenty five miles out.  And I had no clue where it was.

Not to worry, I had my faithful Garmin GPS in my trunk.  I’ve been happily dependent on satellite directions ever since one wrong turn found me lost by the South Boston docks during the wee hours of the morning and it took me until 7 am to find my way home (yes, I am that hopeless).

I hopped in my Honda, plugged in the GPS, and cheerfully wiggled my nose in anticipation of plugging in my destination.  All signs pointed to a prompt arrival until the GPS rolled its eyes, gave me the finger, and died.  Isn’t there some kind of law that states that technology is bound to sputter out when it’s most needed?  Oh. Yeah.

That’s why I was so intrigued when Brandon (fellow resident of the Staycation Lab) brought home his shiny, new

Photo Credit: www.SmartDeviceCentral.com

Photo Credit: www.SmartDeviceCentral.com

Verizon phone, the Droid.

We love gadgets here at Cool Stuff, so of course anything with wireless access and a glistening, clear display is embraced.  I’m not too big into hyperbole, but man, this industrial cutie is fierce.

Let’s start with the obvious.  With its 3.7 inch WVGA, movie screen display, it elbows out the iPhone in visibility and sheer yum factor.  Installed memory maxes out at 16gb, but can be expanded to double the capacity, which puts my iPod to shame.  Networking and connectivity – check.   Wifi looks pretty up on this one.  Plus Google‘s got its hot hands all over this thing (and let’s face it: Google is the IT girl among current competitors); with pre-installed apps like Google Talk (like a chat program for your phone), Exchange support, multimedia player, etc.

It’s Google that adds the oomph, and this is what brings me to the GPS capability of the phone.  With Motorola’s proprietary voice recognition software, use of Google maps has pretty much just made my dead Garmin extinct.  Say a street address, utter the name of a restaurant, or even mention the title of a museum exhibit, and Google Map’s turn by turn instructions get you there – vocally.  With consistent access to Google’s finger on the ever changing pulse of the internet, you can expect information to stay current (which would have been great for me last year when my GPS guided me to a Pizza Hut that had been condemned a year earlier).

Brandon purchased a Droid car mount – insert the phone into the mount, and the Droid enters ‘car mode,’ an intuitive interface that allows voice commands and acts more like a Tom Tom than Brandon’s own Tom ever did.  With large icons and a simplified screen, it’s easy to see how one might kick their dash-mounted GPS to the curb – after all, this droid lets you socialize, too (remember it’s a phone?).

As a Blackberry user, I gravitated immediately to the physical QWERTY keyboard, though the Droid’s oh-so-responsive touch screen has one, too.  I’m told the latter has a bit of a steep learning curve, as the narrow keys allow for clumsy fingers. You can forget passwords to unlock your screen as well – instead, expect a connect the dots prompt to activate your phone out of sleep mode.

Don’t expect any sexy curves here.  Slightly larger and heavier than the iPhone and embellished with right angles, this kitten is all about performance.  It’s not the kind of phone you’d expect to see perverted by a mass of Swarovski crystals (though no offense to the folks who like the look).  It’s the power of the Droid’s engine and not the chrome that takes center stage.

Oh, and there’s a 5.0 megapixel camera with flash and variable color and light affects.  You wanna solarize that?  No prob.  Invert to negative?  That will just be a moment.  The best part is that with its clear resolution, this gives the reluctant casual photographer every reason to ditch the disposable camera (and yes, I know you’re out there).

Linux aficionados will have to wipe the drool off their faces (and perhaps offer a small prayer of thanks to Holy Linus) when they lay eyes on the Droid’s acceptability of third party programs, due to its open source friendliness.  There’s no app for that?  Well, make one.  Duh.

If this phone could cook a decent vegetarian dinner, get me that job and book my appointments for me, I think I very well could marry it.

In short, I want one.

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