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Day 1: Verizon’s Droid and Account Maintenance

After spending a day with the new Droid phone I have to say I am very impressed. Turns out I was one of 4 fortunate folks in Cincinnati who get to try this new phone out in preparation for a Gadget Happy Hour tomorrow night. They have asked us to Twitter with the Hash tag #droiddoescincy, so you can see the tweets under that hashtag. Verizon is also making a larger push with the hashtag #droiddoes (though that seems to get sidelined by others periodically).

I am going to continue with some more first impressions here on this site. I promise to put together a final review more in the tradition of The Gadgeteer when I am done playing.

The Intuitiveness of it All

I’ve found the device to be very intuitive. Then again, I am an experienced Android user. One of the nice things about this experience is we have a number of folks checking out the phone simultaneously. One of the folks I know is Michelle Lentz. She is an experienced gadget user, and writes for bub.blicio.us. She has had some exposure to Android, but most recently has been an iPhone user. You can see her take on it with her post Droid First Impressions.

We have chatted throughout the day, and I found it interesting some of things she stumbled up on. Interesting, because she knows her stuff. The first thing she missed was how to copy files to the phone. On a lot of phones, you plug it into the USB and it pops up on your desktop. Not on the Android. It does not automatically mount the drive. I actually consider this a feature (and no I am not trying to be funny). I don’t always like things popping up on my desktop. With Android you need to tell it to mount from the notification window by tapping USB connected:

USBNotify

Michelle’s experience makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be an option to tell it to automatically mount the phone. I would not use it personally, but I could see why it might be other’s preference.

By the way, the USB debugging connected notification is there because I need to use tools in the SDK to get these screen caps. Hey gadget makers, make it easier to take screen captures, it will help folks like us pimp your products. I think that was a really nice change to the iPhone/Touch OS to simplify screen captures.

The second issue she asked me about was how to delete accounts in the e-mail application. Again, she’s sharp, so she figured it out before I got back to her, but it’s one of those insider OS features that is easy to overlook. When you look at the e-mail screen you see all your accounts, and I have opened the menu so you can see the options there:

email

This is my Exchange mailbox (blurred out a little). Notice I can Refresh, Compose or Add another account. No delete. As someone who has used Android for a while, I figured it would be a long-press, and this is what I got:

emaillongtap

And there is your Remove account. Not overly intuitive, though she did figure it out. Seems like they could easily add a remove here, though perhaps they don’t want to make it too easy for folks to accidentally delete their account.

Account Management

This has been a dream. I already mentioned how easy it was to connect my gmail account and get my gmail and contacts. But you would expect that. I also mentioned the Facebook connection. Well, this afternoon I connected to my company’s Exchange server, it is very simple. You can easily manage how it syncs under Settings, Accounts & Sync:

Accounts1

Here you see a listing for my Exchange account, Facebook and gmail. I can further customize how the Exchange account syncs by tapping on it:

Accounts2

By syncing contacts, it adds the contacts in my Outlook contact list to my gmail contacts. The calendar is synced to my Corporate Calendar application. I don’t see a way to make these events appear on my main calendar, but I can set notifications in this application, and view my agenda for my work calendar by itself. It works just like the regular calendar application. Here is a look at some of the applications, you can see the Corporate Calendar icon right under the Calender icon here:

Applications

Well, I have more to share, but this is getting long, so stay tuned for more tomorrow. Next up: the Navigation Map and Car Home…

{ 49 comments… add one }

  • Joseph Cheek October 28, 2009, 9:46 pm

    My WinMo5 phone (T-Mobile MDA) didn’t automatically mount the phone when plugged in via USB either, and that didn’t bother me. I wonder if this is to keep from corrupting the filesystem in case of all-to-frequent unplugs without notifying the PC first?

  • Kimmo October 29, 2009, 2:59 am

    Thanks, I’ll be looking forward for the rest of these preview impressions..!

    When scrolling between the home screens or using apps that use moving graphics (like Google Maps), did you experience any lag in graphics (FPS) or does everything run smoothly on that huge screen? I noticed some screen stuttering in a couple of hands-on videos I saw. It looks like a polished piece of hardware, so I hope everything is polished in the graphics department too (something that quite often is overlooked) because it plays major part in the user experience.

  • Kimmo October 29, 2009, 3:01 am

    (addition to the above scenarios where lagging can occur: scrolling through lists, especially the applications menu)

  • Mark October 29, 2009, 4:37 am

    Thank you, Julie. I’d love to have this thing be able to sync my Road Runner email accounts, like I do now through Verizon Wireless Sync. Does the Droid support Verizon Wireless Sync?

  • Adam Scinto October 29, 2009, 5:21 am

    I’m so impressed with this phone – It’s getting really hard to keep jailbreaking my iphone when this and the n900 are out and open. I’m actually glad I still love my iphone because I’d be really torn between the Droid and the N900.

    But man AT&T’s monthly bills are crazy high compared to what I paid at Verizon plus T-Mobile’s new $80 unlimited everything plan & NewEgg’s $560 unlocked N900 is looking more tempting every month… Both phones/plans are temping now…

    What a wonderful time to be a gadget freak…

  • MartinN October 29, 2009, 6:24 am

    Is it possible for the reviewer to tell what of these are “Droid” features and what are “Android 2.0″ features? What of this will spill over on all Android phones, and what is Motorola specific patches.

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2009, 7:35 am

    @Mark
    I don’t know anything about the Verizon wireless sync. You can add IMAP or POP e-mail accounts directly to the phone. Android is really more “Cloud focused” that is, the syncing happens out in the cloud, not with your PC. For example, with my G1 that doesn’t have Exchange support, I use Googles Calendar Sync to sync my Outlook calendar to my Google calendar which then syncs with my phone.

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2009, 7:38 am

    @MartinN
    Pretty much ALL the features are Android 2.0 features. I do not believe there are any Motorola patches to it. I know HTC is putting their Sense UI on their Android phones, by unless i am missing something the OS on the Droid is pure Eclair. Honestly, that is a big point in favo of this phone, imo.

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2009, 7:40 am

    @Kimmo
    It seems very smooth to me. Of course i am moving up from a G1, so i’ll try to pay more attention to it and give some feedback.

  • Don Holt October 29, 2009, 11:06 am

    @Bryan
    Sorry I Sounded like I was bashing the Droid and that the iPhone was perfect in your intro column . . . I do LOVE, competition, and aren’t overly fond of AT&T either, it’s just that in 2 years it will be difficult to remember what Verizon’s Motorola Droid phone WAS even, and Apple will sell another 12 million iPhones in 2011 . . and 10 million of those consumers will love them . . . right?? Motorola will still be struggling to make a big dent in the smart phone market.

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2009, 11:17 am

    @Don… nah…
    Whether you write for, read, or comment on The Gadgeteer you are probably pretty passionate about your gadgets, right?

    The iPhone is a pretty nice piece of tech. My wife loves her iPod Touch, and I like stealing it now and again. My only point is that it easy to get blinders on with your favorite tech.

    Some of your predictions might be spot on. I think Motorola has a history of some very solid, but boring phones (RAZR was one of the exceptions). The build quality on this Droid is impressive. Then again I kind of hope we do forget about the Droid in a few years because that means something better came along.

  • Mark October 29, 2009, 11:19 am

    @don

    LOL…nice…you post again to apologize for bashing the droid…but then your evil twin takes over and you bash it a second time.
    priceless. :)

    Has anybody loosened up those blinders of yours?

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2009, 11:31 am

    @Don
    Also, don’t fall into the trap that iPhone dominates the pie, because it has a bigger slice than a lot of others. Here is the latest sales figures I could find: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1126812

    13% is great, but those numbers are still only a third of what Motorola sells in handsets. No question the iPhone is great and popular, but they don’t quite account for all sales yet!

    BTW, I am no Apple basher. I love my MacBook Pro and iPod Nano…

  • Don Holt October 29, 2009, 12:03 pm

    Hey Mark, my evil twin just takes over! LOL

    Thanks for the stats, Bryan – but WHO is Nokia?? :)
    And guess what? I don;t own an iPhone either, but I am
    forced to use my wife’s constantly, cuz . . . . well . . .
    it’s easier and faster to look up something or check my mail.
    NOW, back to the subject of the Droid – forgive my rambling, probably still mad I didn’t buy Apple stock when it was $11 . . .

  • BrentL October 30, 2009, 12:09 am

    I need the ability to connect to my work web sites and email behind a firewall. Does the Droid, or Android 2, have built-in VPN capability?

  • Anonymous October 30, 2009, 8:54 pm

    @BrentL Yes Android got VPN
    @DonHolt There actually is a world outside the US. In Europe we even got more different Android devices on the shelves and usually they are not tied exclusively to one carrier via contract.

  • Bryan Sherman October 30, 2009, 9:55 pm

    re: Anonymous

    Actually that is related to the only downer for this phone. CDMA. I am on T-Mo b/c i like the flexibility of a 4-band GSM phone (i.e. works overseas). OTOH, have not traveled overseas recently, so i should probably let that go.

    I hope some day phones work that way in the US, i.e. not tied to a carrier.

  • Gary Wilkes October 30, 2009, 10:15 pm

    one of my buddies got an Android so I got to try out the interface; I was impressed almost everything, except for the keyboard; not gonna lie — I really want one

  • Tad Lagestee October 31, 2009, 12:42 pm

    I keep lots of list in the notes function of outlook. Does the Droid sync my notes?

  • Bryan Sherman October 31, 2009, 10:04 pm

    @Tad
    I do not believe that Notes sync. I cannot find mine on the Droid. I will try to do a little more research.

  • Dave Lister November 1, 2009, 2:29 pm

    The inability to sync notes wirelessly is a lack of functionality in Exchange ActiveSync, not Android. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998357.aspx for more info.

  • Bryan Sherman November 1, 2009, 10:33 pm

    @Dave
    Thanks for the link! Essentially that link points out that the Exchange Active sync that is used to sync with all mobile devices does not support Notes, so there is no way for Android (or any other phone) to pull notes. The only way I think you are going to get Notes from your exchange account to your Android (or other phone) is some 3rd party tool that syncs outlook on your desktop with your phone.

  • Tad Lagestee November 2, 2009, 1:44 am

    I use a Palm Windows device now with Goodlink which has notes. I also note that Blackberry syncs notes. Crud. I really rely on this functionality to keep lists of notes…

  • Lawson Livingston November 3, 2009, 3:24 pm

    How does the Droid compare with the iPhone on active sync. Also do you know if the Droid is world wide capable like the Blackberry Tour/Storm? My buisness uses Blackberry and the major problems I have with the Blackberry is the need to buy a special phone for overseas through Verizon and the Blackberry not sync’n, unless you download 3rd party software, with Exchange 2007.

  • Bryan Sherman November 3, 2009, 6:09 pm

    @Lawson
    I have had no issues connecting to the corporate e-mail Exchange account. It has worked flawlessly, and it syncs my e-mail and calendar great. I have never used an iPhone (beyond brief playing with them) so i cannot speak to how it compares to the iPhone on Exchange.

    World wide is an issue. Verizon is CDMA, and this phone is only CDMA, so it will not work on GSM networks.

  • Mark November 5, 2009, 4:50 pm

    On the notes sync, are you guys nuts? Do you guys know what WIRELESS SYNC is from Verizon? It syncs all outlook calendars, contacts, tasks & NOTES. I use it everyday of my life. I too am hooked on storing things in notes in outlook.

    I asked Verizon and they said it (droid)will Sync all that my current one does (xv6700). I did not SPECIFICALLY ask them about the notes however. You know how that goes.

    If it does not sync notes, the people designing these phones are seriously, not to smart.

  • Bryan Sherman November 5, 2009, 6:16 pm

    @Mark
    Not sure I am the best judge on my own sanity, but the Exchange support I see built into Android only syncs Mail/Calendar/Contacts. The link shared in the comments is from Microsoft, and clearly says Exchange ActiveSync does not support syncing Outlook Notes.

    I am not sure how Verizon Wireless sync operates. I am reaching out to a Verizon tech to get an answer. My suspicion right now is that you will need to rely on a 3rd-party sync tool to get Notes.

    For more discussion on this you can look at http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/11/05/android-living-on-a-cloud/

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 12:13 pm

    Good news, I heard back from Verizon resource RE: Exchange notes

    As we have already discussed, Mail, Calendar and Contacts are available out of the box.

    Matt adds:
    ———-
    If a customer needs to have the above + Task support and Global Address Look Up then the customer will need to download an application called Touchdown Key (download free version and then buy the touchdown key for $9.99). This application is on both the Motorola and the Eris.

    If a customer needs to sync Notes too, then they need the Motorola Droid and to download Mobile Exchange by moonrug. This will sync with exchange 2003 and 2007.
    ———
    Moonrug is available on the Market, here is a link to an info page:
    http://moonrug.com/android/index.html

    I downloaded the trial, and confirm, that it works accessing your Notes.

  • Anne Culpon November 6, 2009, 2:23 pm

    I’m a little technically challenged, so I’m having difficulty figuring out how to synce all email/contacts/calendar onto my droid like it did with my windows mobile phone. I was using Wireless Sync. It is looking like they are forcing me to switch over to gmail and upload and sync everything there. I have had my current email address for 10 years and I’m not about to give it up now…HELP!!

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 3:02 pm

    @Anne
    I would need more info, like what is your current e-mail. I will take a stab in the dark and ask if you use Outlook to access non-exchange e-mail via POP/IMAP. In English… is it your work e-mail (probably exchange) or personal e-mail through your ISP (probably POP/IMAP). Droid’s built-in exchange support connects to corporate e-mail to sync. If yours is not on an Exchange server, you will need another solution.

    Things work much easier with a gmail account. The good news it you can setup a gmail account to retrieve mail from a POP/IMAP account. I currently do that with a couple of e-mail accounts I have on my own domains. (OK, so 6 different accounts, I am a geek).

  • ZD November 6, 2009, 3:24 pm

    I found only one Google calendar was supported although you can add multiple gmail account. Only the 1st gmail account has the option to sync the calendar. Is there a way around it?

  • Anne Culpon November 6, 2009, 3:49 pm

    Bryan…thanks for your response…

    I use the email/calendar/contacts for my business (I work in the beauty industry) and am self employed, so I don’t access a corporate email account through exchange. As you said, I am using Outlook to access non-exchange email via POP3. On my old Windows Mobile phone, I would sync email/calendar/contacts from my PC through Wireless Sync. It would push updates both ways.

    2 things…(1) there’s no way on God’s earth I’m giving up my email address as I’ve had it for 10 years. (2) my husband has me freaked out about the whole google storing personal info thing, which in turn has me concerned about my clients privacy as well as myself. (3) I absolutely MUST have my calendar/email/contacts with me always, or I’m toast. — My hope was to eventually phase out my paper client schedule and do it all on my phone, but I have to have 2 calendars (personal & business) and am not sure that will work.

    Any help would be great…I did get my email to sync directly with my ISP, but that doesn’t update my email on my PC…aaargh.

    Anne :)

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 4:03 pm

    @Anne
    Well, first the good news. One of the new Android phones Verizon is selling provides a tool to sync outlook calendar and contacts to your Android phone. I bet you see the bad news, it is the Droid Eris. It is an HTC add on (they build the Eris).
    http://blog.brightpointuk.co.uk/synchronise-htc-hero-microsoft-outlook

    It is NOT a wireless solution, you sync via USB connected phone. And it is not on the Droid. It also does not sync e-mail.

    There is a commercial solution that syncs wirelessly at a cost of $39.95:
    http://www.companionlink.com/products/clg-googlesync/companionlinkforgoogle-outlook.html?pim=OL&hh=ANDROID

    BUT, a.) I have not used it, b.) it uses the Google cloud to sync, so if you are concerned about that, no go.

    Now for my unhelpful add. To really leverage an Android phone, you should embrace gmail. You can connect all your accounts through there. If someone e-mails my pFoody.com e-mail address, I get it in my gmail account, and when I reply they see it coming from @pFoody.com.

  • Anne Culpon November 6, 2009, 4:10 pm

    hmmmm…thoughts to ponder…so, what’s the trick to connecting all my accounts through gmail and syncing everything to my pc and back…it’s only been a few hours, and HATE not having my contacts and calendar on my phone. I don’t know where the heck to be, and whenever someone calls I don’t know who it is… :)

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 4:15 pm

    @Anne
    From gmail: Settings>Accounts and import. You provide login information for the POP3.

    Set up the send mail as option.

    You can sync your calendar on your desktop to Google use Google’s calendar sync http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=89955

    Contacts is tougher. i only see pay apps like companionlink on a quick search.

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 4:19 pm

    @ZD
    Try this, from the gmail main screen on your droid, tap menu, accounts. You can add a second gmail account here. That should add your calendar in the calendar view. Not 100% sure out that. Let us know.

  • Anne Culpon November 6, 2009, 4:21 pm

    Seriously?? Contacts can’t be sync’d??

  • Bryan Sherman November 6, 2009, 4:47 pm

    @Anne
    Can’t be synced WITHOUT an add/on. A free one comes with the Eris, for the Droid (or wireless sync) you need to buy a 3rd party app.

    IF you are using Exchange, it is out of the box.

  • Ryan November 6, 2009, 8:33 pm

    That’s great about the easy sync with an exchange server, but I just bought a droid today and am having H#LL trying to get my POP3 account setup. Does anyone know a working outbound SMTP for the droid. Verizon sure doesn’t (I figured this out after 30mins of hold time and a “tech support” girl saying ‘I don’t know’ way too many times). I’ve tried the smtp.vzwmail.net address with no luck. Droid still says it’s no good.

  • Bryan Sherman November 7, 2009, 12:02 am

    @Ryan
    I would not think you would need an SMTP server on the verizon in. Have you checked with the support for your account? They should be able to let you know how to setup a POP3 account. Check the settings in your current mail application.

  • jd1645 November 7, 2009, 6:09 pm

    Haven’t seen a definitive answer yet regarding the new VZW Droid running Android 2.0:
    Does it, or does it not, support and sync Outlook Notes?

  • bryan November 7, 2009, 7:06 pm

    @jd
    Refer to comment #28

  • bmeighan November 7, 2009, 7:49 pm

    I’m currently a Blackberry user with a corporate Exchange server. I get wireless syncing of Outlook’s email, calendar, contacts, notes and tasks. As I mentioned, everything syncs wirelessly. My Outlook tasks and notes are important to me and having them wirelessly sync to the Droid would be important. From the posts I have read, it seems that notes and tasks cannot be wirelessly synced unless you use some 3rd party software. Can someone confirm this and also let me know what 3rd party solutions would solve the Outlook notes and tasks functionality? Thanks.

  • jd1645 November 7, 2009, 10:12 pm

    Bryan:
    My understanding of Moonrug is that it is a sync program only. I’ve read elsewhere that there is no Notes app native to Android for my Outlook Notes to sync to. I miswrote my earlier question. I should have asked: Is there a Notes app in Android 2.0 for me to sync with Outlook Notes?

  • Bryan Sherman November 8, 2009, 12:42 am

    @bmeighan
    Yes, you need a 3rd party app. Out of the box it is only Mail, Calendar and Contacts.

    @jd1645
    Moonrug is not a sync program. It is a program that runs on android, and allows you to access your notes on your Exchange server. i have successfully tested it on the Droid I have. I will attempt to put a review of Moonrug together, but I only have a few days left with the Droid, and only 24 hours in those days. :-)

    ALSO, Outlook <> Exchnange. If you are using Outlook for Calendar and Contacts, but those are not synced to and Exchange server, you cannot sync the Droid out of the box. HOWEVER, the Droid Eris comes with Windows and Android software that allows you to sync Calendar and Contacts with your desktop Outlook.

  • Perry November 9, 2009, 6:33 pm

    Bryan,
    You keep referring to 3rd party apps to sync outlook (contacts and calendar – notes would be a bonus) without sending all private infor of outlooks onto googles website. Can you recommend any of these apps?

    thanks

  • Bryan Sherman November 9, 2009, 8:58 pm

    @Perry
    The problem with a 7-part series is information spread all over the place.

    I mention 2 under Outlook <> Exchange setting in the final post: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/11/08/the-motorola-droid-on-verizon-review/

    I have not used either (I gave my electronic soul to Google a while ago). It sounds like Missing Sync would work well for you. Mark/Space has a good track record, but the app is in beta.

  • Michael November 10, 2009, 12:59 pm

    I have a question… just got a droid, moving from WinMo. One thing I was able to do with WinMo was setup an exchange account for my work email that required a VPN. When it needed to sync the email it would auto connect the vpn, sync, then disconnect the VPN.

    I cant seem to find the same thing in Android. It seems like you have to manually connect to the VPN and then it stays connected.

    Thanks,
    Michael Bealer

  • Jeff Seif May 28, 2010, 10:48 am

    need to know if I can get taks from Outlook on the droid (exchange server) ?

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