TechPublishing Now MS Certified

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Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Will Droid Terminate the iPhone?

Will Droid Terminate the iPhone?

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
This is a big week for Verizon. You have probably seen at least one ad on the new Droid phone. In case you’ve been living under Pioneer Square these past few weeks, I will elaborate.
Verizon’s new phone called the Droid is based on the Android operating system put out by Google. It is made by Motorola, which has been having all kinds of problems selling phones ever since Blackberry and the iPhone came out. Now they believe they have a chance to shine once again.
I’ve had many Motorola phones over the decades, including the brick phone. I was so cool carrying that around in my suit coat circa 1989. The only problem was that it looked like I tilted to one side. Later on I moved to the flip phone. It almost fit into my pocket, but the battery stuck out too far.
Once the smart phone came out, I moved away from Motorola because they had really nothing to offer. That is, until today. True to its tradition, the new Motorola Droid phone is built like a tank. It’s big, heavy, and will survive many accidental drops and nuclear attacks. Unlike Blackberry phones, this phone will not have people complaining about its durability.
But is it an iPhone killer? Let’s take a look.
The Droid does excel with a better camera at 5 MPs. It also has a pop out keyboard that the iPhone lacks. The Android version 2.0 software is very easy to use and the screen quality is easy on the eyes. The phone quality is also getting great reviews, especially with the Verizon network’s reputation of quality phone service. Although the Droid doesn’t yet have the 100,000 apps that the iPhone has, it shouldn’t take long for the applications to start rolling in considering the open source nature of Android vs. Apple.
The built-in turn by turn GPS will save you from paying money for an Apple GPS app that goes from $40-$100 on the iPhone. Google voice is also more accurate on the Droid than the same app used on the iPhone. Droid’s cost is $199 for a 2 year agreement, which is comparable to the iPhone 3G.
You can run multiple applications at once on Droid, unlike the iPhone. The processor is also more powerful and is said to be on par with a PC.
But it’s not all flakey pie and shaved whiskers because here is the downside to the new Droid phone. Verizon is shooting itself in the foot because of its data policy. With AT&T you get an unlimited data plan for a flat rate of around $40 (depending on your contract and when you bought it). Verizon’s “unlimited” data plan has a cap of 5 GBs for $30 per month. With the iPhone it really is unlimited.  If you want to tether your phone, which means to plug your phone into your computer to get the computer on the internet, then double that charge. Add another $15 if you want to connect to an Exchange server. There is no extra charge to get an iPhone on Exchange, and if you want to tether it, just pay $30 to a company that offers it when you jailbreak the phone. 
The software for the camera makes you wait a painful amount of time to take and process a picture. Don’t plan on using it to capture your kids playing soccer. The game will be over by the time you get it going again.
The phone is bigger and heavier than just about any current smart phone, but it still fits in your pocket and I don’t always count weight against a manufacturer.
You can only install applications on the Droid's built in 256 MBs of memory. Yes, you can store data on the separate memory card up to 32 GBs if you choose, but the application limit is going to kill off some business. A work around is to move your apps between the card and built in memory, but I don’t see anyone doing that without a fight. You don’t have this limitation on the iPhone, but there’s no memory slot either.
Verizon is touting their 3G service to be superior to AT&T’s. This week AT&T sued Verizon for falsely claiming their commercials show how much less 3G coverage AT&T has compared to Verizon. AT&T actually has 2G coverage in most of the country where Verizon says AT&T has no 3G coverage. Huh? So AT&T is agreeing with Verizon, but says that Verizon should also mention the 2G coverage in their commercial. Um, ok.
Blackberry is laughing on the sidelines because no matter what happens, it still owns the majority of the smart phone business. But Blackberry, who basically invented the smart phone business, has lost a lot of its market share. And, without having any innovation other than the “Storm II” (insert laughter here), I don’t see them hanging on to the majority much longer. HTC is a strong contender, and they too have an Android phone out with Verizon that is turning heads. We will review their offerings in the future.
For now if you have AT&T, you may as well stick with the iPhone. If you have Verizon and don’t want a Blackberry, then the Droid is a good solid phone. They all have their warts, but they also have some fantastic features.
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If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, I will always answer by email.

Published Friday, November 06, 2009 2:50 PM by Katatkoin