Tag Archives: reviews

HTC Droid Incredible – The Rest of the Story (Spoiler Alert!)

What Droid Incredible Really Does – and Does Not (Unofficial Review)

After resisting Droid-Rage during the holiday season, I succumbed to the uber- hyped latest Android super phone – the HTC Incredible.  My venerable Blackberry Curve just was not as sleek or sexy and clearly did not have the cool robot graphics.

There are numerous blog reviews and YouTube videos that will espouse all the virtues of Verizon’s number 1 smartphone.  While they are largely correct, they do not tell the whole story.  Yes it is fast, works on a great network, has more features that a human can possibly comprehend, or use – and even makes phone calls.   I will provide another article with my fav Droid features – this article is about the other side.

To quote Paul Harvey  – “And now the rest of the story….”  Here are my top six issues with my Droid.

1. Speed comes at a cost – The Achilles Heal of the Incredible

All the blazing application response and connectivity comes at a cost in battery utilization.  The first day I had my Droid I had to charge it 2 times.  What good is all that capability if the phone is dead?  If you get a Droid you must stay close to a charging source and become an active energy manager.  You should turn-off the GPS when not needed, limit the number of running applications and even re-consider all of those really cool active widgets which use periodic connectivity to update themselves.   If you need an icon of the sun to let you know its sunny outside, perhaps you need more than a new phone.

2. The display rocks – unless you want to use it outside during the day

The AMOLED technology used in the HTC screen is the latest, but not quite the greatest.  The display is great when used inside.  I just got back from a round of golf and the phone was practically unusable in the sunlight.  The bigger issue is using the super Google driving directions app with a map view.  The map will not be viewable in a car during the day!

3. Its not the number of Apps that matters – its having the right ones and ones that actually work

I never got that impressed with the claims of absolute number of apps on device platforms.  If the iPhone has 300K and the Android 30K , what does that really mean?  It’s a little like counting the number of Nukes that the U.S. and Russia have in their arsenals. .  Quality, not quantity really matters. Android has the basic Facebook and Skype apps.  Its the other 30K that may need some help.  My impression is that the apps on the iPhone are not just more numerous, but are generally of higher quality.   Perhaps the Android platform chased absolute numbers to claim lots of apps without as much quality consideration.  Several apps just did not work at all and others just stopped working.  I tried to download the linkedIn app and had a failure.  This is an area that the Android platform will likely get right at some point.

I want quality apps for the handful I will actually use.  Android has to close the app quality gap with Apple.

4. iTunes Integration – Music and Video – ???

The iPhone clearly excels at music and video desktop integration.  The challenge for any other platform is to create seamless integration for their platforms with the defacto standard for online music. Given the critical nature of this feature, one might assume that HTC or Verizon would provide a solution that makes this happen.

And you would assume wrong.  There are a couple of solutions that purported to achieve this function.  I tried both SailingMedia and DoubleTwist.  Both of these third-party solutions did not work.  While I could probably play with them for another hour or so and figure out what the issue is – why should I have to do that?  I did load my music directly by dragging my music to the mp3 folder on my device.  The music plays fine and the external speaker is loud –if that matters to you.  There does not appear to be a pre-loaded video player and I have yet to get a video, other than YouTube to play successfully.  Again, I’m sure I will figure it out – but why should I have to?

5. Gmail Good – Gmail Bad

I use gmail for my personal email domain, I figured that the Android platform would be a good choice for my use.  For the record my Blackberry worked perfectly with my gmail account.  As expected my gmail account integrated easily with my Droid.  My issue with email is the rather poor gmail app on the device.  I tried to use the HTC mail app and for whatever reason it does not seem to work when my gmail application is active.  As with my other issues, I am sure with a little time I can get it to work.

6. Steve Jobs is right – One button is enough

The Incredible Droid has 7 physical buttons -Home, Menu, Back, Search, optical trackball with click, volume and power/wake-up.  In addition to these physical inputs the standard screen has four soft keys – an up arrow to access all programs, a phone button (yes it can make a phone call!), a “+” key for adding widgets, programs and folders to a screen, and lastly a hidden slide down at the top of the screen that gives a list of alerts and running programs.  Wow – that’s a lot of things to keep straight!.  The really annoying input is the totally useless optical track ball and click selector that just happens to occupy the same spot as the single “home” key on the iPhone.  Needless to say, I have been pushing that click selector by accident through pure muscle memory from my iPhone and iTouch.  An optical trackball on a touch screen device?  Why?

Despite these issues, I am sure I will get around the downsides of this device and make it into a very useful tool for business and personal use.  However, how many customers will take the time to become an I.T. manager for their phone?

For the past several years I carried my Blackberry for phone use and light Internet use and an iTouch for fun.  The true test will be if I go to one device.

The iPhone, like all Apple products – just works out of the box.  The Droid can work, and even do more, but you have to know what you are doing and be willing to investigate the necessary solutions.  The Droid is clearly still rough around the edges.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Apple, Droid, HTC, Incredible, Incredible, iPad, iphone, Ipod, iTunes, mobile, Mobile Application Stores, mobile commerce, skype, smart phone, Smartphone, Social Media, Steve Jobs, Verizon, wireless

Twilight, Tweens and Tech

twilight-movie-poster2

Being the father of two “Tween” daughters, I am being consumed by my daughters’ interest in the movie “Twilight”. If you do not have daughters in this age range, then you should  skip the next couple of paragraphs.

I went with my wife and a mini-van full of eager 6th grade girls to see this soon to be available via DVD movie.

The movie is a love story between a loner teen girl and her super hero vampire boyfriend. The sub-plot of their physical contact being lustful, forbidden and potentially lethal, is about as obvious as a sledge hammer. My daughter and her friends were of course, thrilled by this cinematic “masterpiece”.

And, just In case you didn’t get your fill from this first Twilight movie, there are three more books in the series by Stephanie Meyer.

The actor that gets the “tween” blood boiling is Robert Pattinson.  He was Harry Potter’s rival, then friend, Cedric Diggory- right before he got killed in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Now for the tech and wireless angle:

One of the cultural tipping points in mobile and social networking that I like to observe is its use in movies and television. I am not referring to the over obvious product placement or the dedicated plot lines (i.e. “You’ve Got Mail”). What is really interesting to observe is its full integration into the life style of the actors.

For this latest movie outing:

facebook_pic

This movie outing was negotiated, arranged, planned, and then re-arranged, all on facebook® between my daughter and her friends. They chatted for at least 3 hours to figure out what to do for this two hour movie. Once we picked them up, the cellphones were whipped out and the texting began.

Who, may you ask were they texting to?

The answer – each other.

Why?

Because they wanted to talk about things that Mom and Dad should not hear.

The largest facebook group (with over 110K members) on the Twilight book series is named:

“Because I read Twilight I have unrealistic expectations in Men”

It’s tough enough being a middle school or Jr High boy – now they are being compared to blood sucking killing machines from medieval times, and coming up second best!

In a movie like this, I try to amuse myself, and stay awake, by observing the technology that is being portrayed as “just everyday stuff” used by the actors , and then the technology that is an obvious product placement.

The only really obvious movie product placement was the Hollywood ubiquitous Apple Laptop.

Another necessary tech item in this movie was Google –

Where else would a teen girl go to figure out that her boyfriend was a Vampire?

google2

The female lead only uses a mobile phone to communicate with her Mom. Her Dad has an emotional breakthrough with his daughter when she utters the memorable line “Dad, you mean you actually use text messaging?”

This scene was preceded by the Dad cleaning and loading his shotgun as he met his daughter’s boyfriend for the first time.

Now that’s Tech!

1 Comment

Filed under Apple, facebook, Google, Harry Potter, mobile, movies, reviews, Robert Pattinson, social networking, Twilight, Vampire, wireless