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The Motorola Droid on Verizon Review

on November 8, 2009 10:36 am

DroidKeyboardFinally, the review. I have spent just over a week with this app phone, and I have really enjoyed it. I am a current G1 user, so I came to the phone already familiar with the Android OS. It was interesting to talk with a number of folks who are new to Android to get their impressions.

This is going to be a little obsessive and detailed, so settle in. If somehow it is not enough, you can always review the previous posts in this series.

The Hardware

The design of the Droid is very industrial. The lines are very, very straight, the surfaces are hard. The phone is thinner than my G1 and barely thicker than an iPhone. The slider moves smoothly open to display the keyboard.

The Keyboard

News flash: keyboards on phones are a mass of trade-offs, and the Droid is no different. I still don’t like it as well as the keyboard on my G1 after a week, but I have grown accustomed to it.

DroidKeyboardThe large 5-way controller to the right of the keyboard limits how wide it can be. It feels narrower than my G1, but in reality they are about the same width. The keys have almost no travel (distance they travel when pressed) and have no separation between them. The G1, with its space between the keys, and more travel, feels bigger, and more responsive. Of course the trade-off to more travel is more width in the device. The biggest detractor of the design for me was the lack of a dedicated number row. This is a big deal for me, especially when typing in passwords with letters and numbers.

Buttons

The phone has four physical buttons, and four dedicated touchscreen buttons. The physical buttons include:

  • Power button on top right. A little awkward to press at first.
  • Volume rocker (2 buttons) on upper right.
  • Camera Shutter on lower right, which becomes upper right in camera position.

The touchscreen buttons are reminiscent of the old Palms before the virtual graffiti areas. Essentially the touch screen extends beyond the regular screen to the four buttons at the bottom.

DroidButtons

The buttons from left to right are:

  • Back
  • Menu
  • Home
  • Search

I did not like the back button on the left side. I thought it was just my personal preference, but I had another experienced reviewer make the same comment. She observed that is was different from most phones she has looked at (and she has looked at a lot lately). However, let’s face it, not something I would not get used to.

A bigger issue for me was the nature of the buttons. No tactile feedback to find them in the dark (although haptic feedback when you touch them and activate the button). Also, they are not always back-lit, so hard to find at night. That is probably a good reason for their unconventional layout, as back is used more than home.

Connections

The Droid comes with a standard headphone jack (here is hoping that becomes a totally non-noteworthy feature in phones) and a micro-USB port for charging and connecting to your PC. It also ships with a USB cable, and a wall plug.

DroidContents

I wish they had designed the wall plug with fold-able prongs, would have made it more portable, but I appreciate the trend towards USB charging. I have WAY to many AC adapters.

Specs

I could replicate a list of specs, but it wouldn’t look as nice as the specs page on Motorola’s site, so go to their Droid Spec page.

I will highlight the notables:

  • 3.7″ WVGA (480 x 854 pixels) display
  • 550 Mhz processor (2nd fastest Android device out there right now, fastest is 600)
  • 5 MP camera with dual LED flash
  • First Android 2.0 (Eclair)
  • 16 GB of memory
  • Memory is expandable by replacing the SD card (supports 32 GB)

That last one is a big deal to me. I love the fact that the Droid (and really all the Android phones I have seen) are easily upgraded by replacing an SD card.

Google Navigation

A lot has been made about this feature. In fact Garmin and Tom Tom took a hit in the stock market the day this was announced. You know how features can be over-hyped and not meet expectation? Well this is definitely not one of those cases. I won’t repeat all the information in the navigation post I have already provided, but I want to add some information from further testing.

In the comments I was asked how things worked when you were navigating and received a call. I finally had an opportunity to be a passenger on a reasonably long car ride to test it. After receiving a call you can put it on speaker phone and return to the navigation screen. In fact, during the call you will continue to get turn-by-turn directions visually and audibly. You can mute the audio directions. It worked fine.

Exchange Support

Out of the box, this phone will sync to an Exchange server to get you mail, calendar and contacts. Your mail appears in the e-mail application (which is separate from the Gmail application). In addition your calendar appears in a separate app called Corporate Calendar. You contacts, however, are synced with the contacts on your phone.

I really wish my exchange calendar events appeared in my regular calendar application. I really want an integrated calendar view. This is one of the pleasant surprises on the Eris which is not on Eclair, but uses the Sense UI Exchange features to show them together. I can see why some may want to maintain separate calendars, but I think they need the option.

An integrated email view would be nice, but less of an issue for me. If I want to integrate POP3/IMAP in Gmail I can do that by adding the account in Gmail rather than the phone, and I like separating the Exchange mail. Of course others may prefer something different.

Android 2.0 does not sync your Exchange notes or tasks. There was quite a discussion about this on the Day 1: Verizon’s Droid and Account Maintenance post. I was surprised that notes was such an important feature to folks. The bad news is that this is not supported out of the box. The good news is that there is a vibrant Android development market. Here are a couple options (supplied by a Verizon resource):

  • Touchdown by Nitrodesk. It provides task and global address lookup. I did not get an opportunity to try it out.
  • Moonrug Mobile provides notes access. I made the time to try this out on the Droid, since there were a few folks who thought this was very important, and it worked fine I will try to make the time to post a review.

These are not out-of-the-box solutions, nor are they free ($9.99 for Touchdown and $23 for Moonrug Mobile) but does show you that the market for Android is healthy.

Outlook ≠ Exchange

Another issue that popped up was syncing with outlook. Android does not sync with your PC to get to the Exchange data, it syncs wireless with the Exchange server. My post Android: Living on a Cloud goes into some of the philosophy around this, but again, the third-party market comes to the rescue. There are a couple solutions that are available now, or shortly:

  • CompanionLink is a $39.95 tool that uses the Google cloud to sync from your desktop Outlook to your Android phone.
  • The Missing Sync for Android is currently in pre-release beta. Mark/Space has been providing supplemental sync tools for a while, and though I have never used one, I have always heard great things, and even recommended them to others that were very happy with the results.

If anyone knows of any other recommendations, add it in the comments and I will add it to this list.

I do want to add that the Droid Eris actually comes with the software to sync your Contacts and Calendar in Outlook on your PC to the phone. This is an advantage for the Eris if you have Outlook, but are not using Exchange. I hope to have an Eris review next week. You can see my preliminary comparison in the post Droid Eris vs. Droid.

Facebook Integration

This feature came as a really pleasant surprise. You log into your Facebook account, and it provides the option to sync your contacts with the Facebook information. You actually have two great options. You can pull in ALL your Facebook contacts, or just have it sync the Facebook contact that match contacts on your phone. It also updates the thumbnails of your contacts with their Facebook avatars.

Multi-Touch

Multi-touch is a topic much talked about. If you are unfamiliar, the best example is the 2-finger spread to zoom in and pinch to zoom out. The hardware of the Droid supports this, and there are apps you can download that use it, but Android 2.0 in the US does not have it enabled. The Motorola Milestone (Europe version of droid) lists multi-touch as a feature.  Speculation is this is due to legal threats by Apple. Remember when the bad guys in the 1984 Apple commercial represented the other guys, rather than Apple? Interesting note, the Sense UI DOES support mutli-touch, so it will work with the Eris.

Conclusion

This is a very strong phone. With the dazzling display and incorporation of Android 2.0 it has to be considered the flagship Android device. It is sorely tempting me (a long-term happy T-Mobile customer) to pay the early termination fees and jump ship.

However, you will definitely want to look at the Droid Eris as well. I don’t think I could declare a clear winner, it depends on your needs and preferences.

 

Product Information

Price:$199.99 w/ 2 year contract $149.99 w/ 2 year contract for existing customer
Manufacturer:Verizon
Pros:
  • Stunning display
  • Physical Keyboard
  • Fast Processor
  • First Android 2.0 Phone
  • Built-in Exchange Access and Integration
  • Facebook Integration
  • First phone with Google Navigation
  • 5 MP Camera with twin LED Flash
  • Accessible Battery
  • 16 GB storage
  • Storage user-expandable to 32 GB
  • Supports Multi-touch in hardware, and is used by some Market apps
Cons:
  • Camera not good in low-light
  • Does not sync Exchange Notes/Tasks without 3rd party app
  • Does not sync with Outlook desktop
  • Exchange Mail and Calendar not integrated with Gmail and Calendar
  • Multi-touch not supported in standard apps

Comments

  1. 1
    Jack says:

    Do you keep the phones after you review them?

  2. 2
    Sammarye says:

    Just got the Droid after happily using my Dare phone since it came out. I can’t seem to find an option to record sounds on the Droid. I used this option on my Dare to record my own wacky ringtones. I recorded the sounds, texted them to myself and then set them as ringtones on my Dare. How can I do this on the Droid? I don’t see those options. Actually, I haven’t found an option to download ringtones, either. Thanks!

  3. 3

    @Jack
    Don’t I wish! ALL I get is the opportunity to play with them, and in the case of the Droid, get to play with them before they come out. I am just enough of a hopeless gadget freak that this is enough.

    @Sammarye
    The Eris comes with a recorder, but I don’t see one on the droid either. You may want to check the Market.

    I can HIGHLY recommend the free application Ringdroid http://code.google.com/p/ringdroid/ for making your own ringtones from any sound file you put on your phone.

  4. 4
    JGW says:

    Thanks Bryan, this series is one of the best Droid reviews I’ve found on-line. My wife and I ordered Droids from vzw.com, can’t wait for them to arrive.

  5. 5
    Justa Notherguy says:

    @Sammarye

    I don’t own a Droid, myself, but would guess it works pretty much like any other Android-based handset. If that’s true, then any file in your ‘Music’ folder can be used as a ringtone. Just go to the ringtone menu item in Settings and each type of tone (phone, alarm or whatever) will offer a menu of selections.

    Then, if you want to add more tone-capable files, you have several options…all of which involve at least some downloads and possibly a file manager to move things around on the phone or its SD card. I can’t promise that all of these suggestions are compatible with v2.0 (‘Eclair’), because it was released to developers <10 days ago, but if even if they aren't I'd bet updates are coming, any day now.

    'Ringdroid': Grab any snippet of any song in your Music folder and use it for a ringtone.
    http://www.androlib.com/android.application.com-ringdroid-wBp.aspx

    'Vringo': Why use musical ringtones when you can use a snippet of video?
    http://asia.cnet.com/crave/2009/10/05/vringo-for-android-enables-video-ringtones-for-calls/

    'Ringo': Allows you to set up individual ringtones for just about any incoming communication-type, including texts.
    http://ringomo.com/android.php

    And here's some info on where Android stores ringtones, alerts, etc. Again, you'll need a file manager app to download tones and for any other messing around with file locations.:
    http://androidforums.com/updates-cupcakes/5930-definitive-androids-folder-structure.html

    Hope this helps.

  6. 6
    Paulette says:

    I have had Verizon for years and do not want to change to another service provider. I truly want the IPhone, and most likely that will not happen for Verizon in the near future, was very excited when I heard about the Droid. Bryan, you seem to be the expert! Do you feel the Droid (for Verizon) is the next best thing to the IPhone?? I do not need to use this for business; just need a decent phone and ability to quickly text, check email, FaceBook, etc. Please give me your opinion. Thanks!

  7. 7

    @Paulette
    Thx, I am just an obsessive geek that got a new toy to play with :-)

    Take a hard look at the Eris, 1/2 the price, and a really nice interface. I am playing with it now. I made a VERY preliminary comparison here: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/11/06/droid-eris-vs-droid/ and will have a few more posts in that series. The Eris has more of an iPhone feel than the Droid, but lacks the physical keyboard.

  8. 8
    Steve says:

    Bryan
    Thanks for the in-depth review. I have a question about retrieving email on the Droid.
    I’ve seen lots said about using Gmail and Exchange – but what about good old Pop3? Can you easily access a standard Pop3 account with Android 2.0? Would you need to get a 3rd party app for that?
    What’s it like using the Android browser to access email via webmail (e.g. att.net)?

    thanks
    Steve

  9. 9

    @Steve
    The email app on the droid lets you setup POP3 and IMAP accounts in addition to Exchange.

    You can also set up your gmail account online to get your POP3/IMAP mail, and it would appear in your gmail app on the Droid.

    Eris’ Mail app supports POP and IMAP as well.

  10. 10

    @steve
    On web browser access, I am a T-Mo user, and am blown away by the Verizon network. Of course T-Mo does not have 3G in Cincy yet.

    It would depend how well designed the site is for mobile as well.

  11. 11
    darwin says:

    That wasn’t much of a review. The iPhone walks all over this device except for the carrier and AT&T is quite a bit better than it used to be.

    Only 256MB of ram for applications? Thats a showstopper.
    The physical keyboard is near unusable and the on screen is not much better.
    Nothing like blaming Apple for Googles inability to properly implement multi-touch. The pinch gesture basically doesn’t work and the other multi-touch movements are dog slow. Which is why it was not on the US version. Nothing at all to do with Apple and you have no basis for saying it does.
    Slow! You can’t even scroll the home screen without it lagging. The browser is slow too and is not 100& ACID standard compliant like Mobile Safari. Thats right, Google does not have the best or fastest web browser on a mobile device. Apple does.
    App fragmentation is a real issue as is the very low amount of app memory available which means Android will never be able to use the number and types of apps as the iPhone. Really hard to believe Google screwed this one up so badly.
    Multimedia support is terrible. You would think its one thing they would get right but they didn’t.

    There are some pretty strong rumors that the iPhone will be on Verizon in Q3. Google and Motorola better hope that is true so Android had some time to gain a foothold and improve because otherwise Apple will eat their lunch. If there was an Android phone as good as the iPhone on Verizon I would switch today. But this isn’t it or even close.

  12. 12

    @darwin
    Glad you like your iPhone, it is a really nice phone. Not sure where you got the info that pinch doesn’t work, or is too slow because I am using it on the Droid Eris with a slower processor and it works wonderfully. It is also available on some apps that run fine on the Droid in the Market, and I have not heard any comments on it not working well.

    I would like to find out more about the memory issue. The biggest app I have ever had on my Android weighed in at about 3 MB, so 256 seems like gobs of space to me. I would love to see a comparison of the relative size of iPhone apps and Android apps to see if Android needs more memory. That said, I am a geek, and you can never have too much memory, right?

    And you are right, as it stands, if you want to play a lot of music and video on your phone without much work, the iPhone is your go to phone. The iPhone is a sexy phone, but doesn’t do much for me beyond that, that is why we have options. :-)

  13. 13
    Gregg says:

    Since I’m not anywhere near a “Tech Geek” I need some help. I got a Motorola Droid and LOVE it, but don’t know how to set up e-mail. POP3? IMAP? EXCHANGE? I don’t know what these mean and don’t know what which “Port” should be entered.

  14. 14
    Shkermaker says:

    @Bryan

    I agree with your last post about the iPhone. Although it seems to have tons of memory for apps, I was playing with my sister’s the other night and found her 3gS laggy as hell compared to my hero. The apps seem to be very bloated (although much, much prettier than androids) and multitasking is almost impossible i.e. If you’re half way through a game and decide to check facebook you can’t resume from where you left off. This may only be the case for certain games on the app store but it seemed to be the case for most of the games/apps my lil sis had. Never had that issue with android – just hold down the home key and a list of apps appear and you can resume from where you left off.

    Another point with apps – The Android Market is getting better stocked every day with plentiful FREE apps that are excellent quality. The apps on the app store seem to be getting pricier by the day…..

    At the end of the day, whether I stick with Android or become a sheeple and get an iPhone I think i’ll keep my iPod classic. Most of the solutions including the iphone still appear to be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none for my use.

  15. 15
    Jessy says:

    I like my Droid but it powers off about once or twice an hour. Its very random and the sales guy at the Verizon store doesn’t believe me and messes with the settings, says go home and charge the battery and I should be fine. It happens seriously, at least once an hour. I switched from an iPhone and it’s hard to like this better when I can’t depend on it… I suppose I will go back to the store for the 3rd time and be a squeaky wheel until the exchange this for me.

  16. 16
    Dan Noble says:

    I imagine that at best this works as well as any other Motorola handset….at best since Sanjay laid off thousands of experienced engineers and gave the design of low cost freshouts

  17. 17
    Cara says:

    Hi there-
    Than you for the great review. I played with the new Droid on Friday. I currently have a Blackberry Curve (Verizon) which I love, but it is really slow. Here’s my problem that I must share with a lot of other ladies. I have acrylic nails. I am not to be able to use anything with a touch screen. So the Droid is out for me. The other nail in the coffin is that it doesn’t sync with Outlook. I guess I’ll wait for the Blackberry Curve 2. Have you played with that one yet? I heard it’s coming out in a couple of weeks.
    Thanks!!!

  18. 18

    Looking forward to snatching one up. I need it just for the G Voice app alone.

  19. 19
    mack says:

    is anyone else having the same problem as I with their verizon e-mail on the Moto-droid?Could not load it myself,and when I took my phone back to the verizon store for help,I was told that the moto-droid would not support verizon e-mail accounts!What gives?

  20. 20
    MicroNix says:

    @darwin

    Yes, the iPhone is a nice piece of hardware. However, its on one of the worst networks so to everyone not willing to go to AT&T and suffer dropped calls, the iPhone is really irrelevant here.

    I am not experiencing the lag or slowness you preach. In fact, everything is very snappy. The hardware keyboard is not the best admittedly, but the portrait onscreen keyboard I have down almost as fast as my iTouch and in landscape mode, the keyboard is really really nice.

    I have heard of the app2SD project which is supposed to allow dumping apps to the SD card so that whole memory issue (if you can call it an issue) will most likely go away. And the reason I stress “if you can call it an issue” is that the Android apps don’t seem to be anywhere near as bloated as apps for the iTouch/iPhone. In fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how efficient the coding is on some of these apps. And in the year and a half that I’ve had an iTouch, I really have 5 core apps from the apps store that are constantly used. The others have been used one or two times and can be deleted.

    Now the one thing that I wasn’t expecting but found with the Droid is that this thing is totally location based. You throw a weather widget on your home screen which auto updates in the background and as you change location, gps info feeds in and changes the weather conditions to where you currently are. Now *that* rocks and is something the iPhone in its current non-multitasking state, cannot do. Same thing with Google Latitude which can be used between you and friends which auto updates your current location for them to see. Not sure how much I’d ever use that, but the technology built into this device and the potential of that technology far surpasses anything I’ve seen on the iPhone. The iPhone is pretty, easy to use and has a great sync tool to go with it I’ll admit. However, the Droid is far better than you’ve made it out to be.

  21. 21

    @Gregg
    Go to your e-mail provider to ask what the settings should be. If it is an ISP (Qwest, RR, Comcast) they should be able to tell you the standard settings.

    If it is exchange, you can contact your company’s IT dept.

  22. 22
    youknowit says:

    you do have a number row… just hit alt twice in keyboard mode.

  23. 23

    @MicroNix
    If that is what you like about your Droid, try out Locale. It is probably my favorite Android application. I did a review:
    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/05/29/locale-for-android-review/

  24. 24
    craig says:

    Got the new Droid Friday, its great for playing. But if you need to sync with outlook ( calendar or contacts ) well it will cost you up to $50 depending on the 3rd party software you buy and then it will still not work correctly. + everything has to go through a google account (gmail) .. Google dropped the ball big time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-(
    Anything for business then go with the Blackberry storm 2. super easy sync and its just as fast. Looks like motorola will be getting back 40 phones from my business. maybe next time they will put more though into trying to isolate themselves for microsoft…………. I will however give the droid a 9 on a phone thats just used for playing. and a 0 for business.

  25. 25

    @youknowit
    I think they key word in my description is “dedicated”. :-)

  26. 26

    @craig
    Most businesses that use Outlook access their mail from an exchange server. In that case mail/calendar/contacts sync is there out of the box. I assume in your instance your business is using Outlook to access mail on POP/IMAP server. The Droid Eris comes with HTC software that will sync calendar/contacts with your windows PC.

  27. 27
    Scott says:

    Thx for your very thoughtful review, Bryan (and you should be commended on your patience with commenters!)
    1. Having been the user of a G1 in Cincy, pretty tired of the lousy battery life. Any thoughts on battery life for the Droid or Eris?
    2. Also, with T-Mobile only having EDGE in this area, any testing that 3G and phone calls can co-exist? A client with a iPhone says his drops calls while on 3G, but not when he sets it to EDGE only. Does this make any sense?

  28. 28
    Scott says:

    @craig
    It sounds as if you’re syncing via PC to phone connection. Syncing over the air can be much handier as you get updates constantly, not just when you connect your phone to the PC. Consider using Google Apps or a hosted Exchange service for this, which will be able to sync with Outlook 2003 or 2007 directly. And next time, for such a significant change, you may want to trial-test 1-3 phones rather than to go for 40 in one fell swoop.

  29. 29

    @Scott
    I have been using this on Verizon (and Droid is Verizon exclusive right now). Since Verizon is CDMA, you cannot access data while on a call. This is a limitation of the CDMA technology (T-Mo/AT&T are GSM, Verizon/Sprint are CDMA).

    On battery life, I find the Droid and Eris last longer, but I would still charge it every night. I don’t worry about running out of juice the same day, but I don’t think it would make it 2 days.

  30. 30
    reekotubbs says:

    I don’t believe this
    “550 Mhz processor (2nd fastest out there right now, fastest 600)”
    Check out HTC HD2 with a 1ghz snapdrangon processor.
    And a 4.3″ screen

  31. 31
    Mcflycat says:

    I’ll take the Pre any day over this industrial piece of sh*t.

  32. 32

    @reekotubbs
    Good point, I was meaning for Android phones, I will update it.

    @Mcflycat
    Glad you like your Pre. Have a friend with one, and it is really nice. Not a fan of the tiny keyboard, or spooky spokesperson, but like the device.

  33. 33
    goutham says:

    Thanks for the review Bryan, and the plug for TouchDown. The androidguys.com site ran a review of TouchDown today, just in case anyone had questions about features etc.
    here is the link for the curious : http://www.androidguys.com/2009/11/09/app-review-touchdown-by-nitrodesk/

    As always, we are glad to help you out with any issues if you email us at support #at# nitrodesk #dot# com

    Also, here is a brief list of differences between touchdown and the built in client if you are interested.

    Support for PIN/RemoteWipe
    Support for setting OOF
    Support for Peak Times
    Support for SubFolders syncing and notifications
    Support for Widgets
    Support for Tasks
    Support for looking up in the Global Address List
    Support email Flagging
    Support for Conversation View and filtering
    Support for Moving emails to folders
    Support for additional protocols such as WebDaV and Exchange Web
    Supprt for setting your own signature in outgoing mails

  34. 34
    CraigC says:

    bryan,
    Just came from the verizon store….a bit confused now – get different answers everywhere including vzn rep to rep. I am told that some pop3 mail will not work, period, with the droid. I use @starpower.net for my personal, and a godaddy pop3 which is @mydomainname.com. We tried to set up the starpower one and the droid would not accept. Vzn guy said “right now it only is compatable with the “main pop3′s” (yahoo, hotmail, etc.). True or is he wrong? Obviously if so I cannot have the droid since these are my personal (of 15 years) and work email addresses.

    Question #2 then becomes about sync. Been alot of chat here and I apologize but I’m still confused. Do I HAVE to set up a gmail account (where my email – if even possible – dumps into gmail interface, but I can respond from it as the other domains?) in order to sync?

    Question #3 – 3rd party app or not (mark/space??? – seems that this bypasses “the cloud” concept and actually sync’s your PC/outlook with the device?), is there a way I can sync my outlook calendar and contacts with the droid (again, using the pop3 email accounts I mentioned)? Or am I confusing emails with contacts/calendars (I think of them together as “outlook” today). These are critical to me as I run my business on my godaddy/outlook (not exchange) account and info. As far as the personal starpower email, nothing really to sync calendar/contacts are in outlook, not with this email address), just want to be able to have it come in/out of my device.
    Thx-

  35. 35
    CraigC says:

    Bryan,
    one other question – I forgot to ask? The vzn rep also told me that EVERYTHING is separate on the droid – each email address, txt messaging, etc….I thought you could set it us as a “catch-all” where you could receive multiple email accounts as well as your txt messages in one “message” applications (as Blackberry does). Vzn rep said “no, that’s just a blackberry thing, with the droid everything has a separate app.
    So for me I’d have to open one app for my personal, another for my work email, another for my txt messaging, etc…
    please say it isn’t so???? :)

  36. 36

    @CraigC

    Good Questions
    “I am told that some pop3 mail will not work, period, with the droid.”
    I don’t know about this. My suspicion would be that there is some odd way you need to set up that POP3, I would check with Starpower to see what settings you need. They may use an odd port, or have an odd username configuration. I don’t know why Droid would not work with certain POP accounts.

    Question #2 Do I HAVE to set up a gmail account (where my email – if even possible – dumps into gmail interface, but I can respond from it as the other domains?) in order to sync?

    Define sync. Where is your contacts and calendar? You are much better off embracing the Google way, but you can access mail without a gmail account.

    Question #3 – Is there a way I can sync my outlook calendar and contacts with the droid (again, using the pop3 email accounts I mentioned)? Or am I confusing emails with contacts/calendars (I think of them together as “outlook” today).

    You need 3rd party to sync Outlook calendar and contacts that are not on Exchange. You may want to look at the Eris, it comes with Outlook sync program. Google has a free calendar sync program that syncs from your PC to your Google account, so you COULD import your contacts into gmail, than use calendar sync as a free solution, but it would not keep contacts synced back to Outlook (3rd party for that).

  37. 37

    Vzn rep said “no, that’s just a blackberry thing, with the droid everything has a separate app.

    Yes… and no.

    Gmail app lets you integrate all your gmail accounts (if you have more than one).

    email app lets you integrate all your email accounts. They can all appear in one inbox. In fact, you could set up POP access you your gmail account and have ALL your e-mail in the one app.

    Text messages is another application.

  38. 38
    CraigC says:

    Thanks Bryan! define sync – syncronizing contacts, calendar (and preferable notes) that are in outlook – fed by my godaddy pop3 mail (not exchange).
    I gotta be honest, HOLY STOVE-PIPE solutions. As plain and simple as they may be in comparison, I took for granted these seemingly tedious yet robust things that my blackberry does completely seemlessly and effortlessly.

    It think it sounds fine to have gmail account where both my pop3 mail acct’s dump into and are in one message box on the droid. No problem.
    Also syncing my outlook (again, not exchange, just the client) with my google contacts…not a problem (but how does this work after you sync the first time; does the google desktop app need to stay open on your desktop, with your computer on always on? In other words, I understand how the cloud works real-time but how does it pull from outlook client-only – manually do i need to do this to sync?
    Calendar seems same, google cal to integrate with outlook calendar? Again, how this works?
    No sync of notes?
    OR, do I understand that there is ONE 3rd party app that will do this all collectively (even at a cost)?
    It seems like so many stove-pipes.
    And on top of it all…I think I just read in google account that these desktop sync apps do not work with windows XP/64 bit…guess what operating system I am running where my outlook resides….yup, you guessed it XP/64bit.
    This seems like a lot of work. Perhaps I should wait a couple months with hopes that there are seamless, streamlined solutions for this soon? I imagine there are many people with similar needs.
    Hmmm…………

  39. 39

    I *think* CompanionLink will do everything you ask. See the link in this post. You may want to e-mail them and ask. It would simplify everything.

  40. 40

    Google’s sync services can be accessed as if they are an Exchange server; could you perhaps sync Outlook to that? I’m not sure, as I don’t use Outlook (or indeed any desktop PIM), but Google’s Exchange support seems to work fine with multiway sync between my phone, my iPod Touch, and Google Calendar/Contacts…

  41. 41
    mike r says:

    For notes that sync, check out 3Banana by Snaptic. It’s free too!

  42. 42

    @Mike R
    Thanks! That looks like an interesting tool, similar to evernote. Most of the notes issues brought up in the comments have been about syncing with the Outlook Notes feature, I don’t think 3Banana does that.

  43. 43
    scot says:

    is there a way to add a signature to outgoing text

  44. 44
    scot says:

    sorry on the motorola droid

  45. 45

    @scot
    You can do it on the gmail account. I do not see a way to add it on the email accounts.

    The Droid Eris has the option to add signatures in the non-gmail accounts (as well as gmail)

  46. 46
    aston says:

    Lucky we still have Cellswapper.com

  47. 47
    Mark says:

    I got my Droid yesterday and yep, it will get my Roadrunner email, but it will not send it. Verizon does not have its own smtp server any more (discontinued in August) and Roadrunner does not allow off-service use of their SMTP server. I consolidated everything into the GMail account and use the Gmail app to do my email. It works!

    This phone is everything I have ever wanted in a portable device…finally! I downloaded Docs To Go ($14.99 for the next few days), and now I have access to everything. It’s really like having my OQO back, just MUCH smaller and in my pocket with go-anywhere Internet, GPS and directions and phone capabilities.

  48. 48
    Brandon says:

    Hi Bryan this was a great review. Not the most indepth but albeit helpful! After reading all the comments there seems to be a lot of compairison between the iPhone and the Droid. While both are great phones, they are not the same in a lot of ways. The iPhone has its uses, advantages, and disadvantages. So does the Droid. And these phone will apply to different groups of people. I had an iPod touch and loved it. However the novelty wore off quickly and most the apps avaliable for the IPhone are fart apps and such which are fun or about a day. Everyone that love the iPhone use the face that there are 100,000+ apps for it in the store. That may be true but look at how long it has been out. Android Market Place will catch up. TO me the Droid phone just seems faster and more responsive then the iPhone. I have used both. I also like the fact that the Droid is “Open-Source,” rather then the VERY closed iPhone. Removable battery and storage is nice to have on the droid, something the iPhone lacks. Also the pinch and zoom feature to me isnt all that cool, double tapping woks just as well for me. One other point I want to make is the onscreen keyboard is better then the one on the iPhone. The auto correction on the Droid leaves the iPhone’s in the dust.

  49. 49
    kelly says:

    Brian,

    How do I add a signature to my emails and text messages? Also I have downloaded a third party application but cannot not find it on my phone. Do i need something other then to check the box that allows non market apps to do this?

  50. 50

    @kelly
    The Droid email application does not support adding signatures. You may want to check the market for other mail apps, that was never a big deal to me with those email accounts. You can set signatures in the gmail application. Actually I set that on the web.

    By 3rd party, if you mean not Android Market, you need to go to your downloads and tap the “.apk” file, or just down load Apps Installer from the market and install it. I talk about it a little more in an upcoming review of Tiger Woods for Android.

  51. 51
    jessica says:

    Ok I have downloaded ringtones from mobile9.com but I can’t find them to set them as a ringtone how do I do that thanks

  52. 52
    scot says:

    if you want to add a sig to your out going text download an app called handcent.it is free and it will let you add a sig to outgoing texts.my son started texting with it last night and says it is really good.

  53. 53
    Renee says:

    Just bought a Droid moments ago. Is there a way to use Audiobooks?

  54. 54
    mariah says:

    how in the world do you download ringback tones on this droid?why do they make things so complicated?

  55. 55

    [...] The Motorola Droid on Verizon by Bryan Sherman (November, [...]

  56. 56
    Zachary says:

    how in the world do you download ringback tones on this droid?why do they make things so complicated?!?!?

  57. 57

    [...] think of anything to beat the Incredible if you don’t care about a physical keyboard or the Droid if you want a keyboard. At the risk of sounding like I am sucking up to the folks at Verizon, who [...]

  58. 58
    miranda says:

    ok so i just got the droid.very first smartphone ever…very confused but ill figure it out but the phone prior to this one was a envy touch(loved it) and i could use my acrylic nails on the touch screen part.is there a way to do that with the droid?

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