More Droid, with photos and videos

I’ve decided that the best way to write more about the Droid is to write the post on the device itself. So this is being written on the Droid’s GMail app, which will then be sent to Posterous. It’s something I’ve done on my Blackberry Curve, though I intentionally kept those posts short. Realistically I will likely keep posts on this device short as well, but I have to say that I’m starting to get really comfortable on this keyboard. If anything, I might be less wordy. Which can only be a good thing.

I’ve had this loaner phone since Wednesday morning. I really should note that I’m not receiving any consideration for this other that the psychological pleasure of getting my hands on something cool early. I plan to get one of these for myself as soon as I can. I’m not getting a chance to get one early, and I’m certainly not getting any discount. Most importantly, I got this opportunity because of my stated interest in the device and my involvement in the Cinncinati social media community.  No one from Verizon or their marketing reps has said a word about what I ought to write about, or even that I should write anything at all. If I hated this device, I assure you I wouldn’t hesitate to say so.

I doubt I could improve on either the Engadget review or the  one from MobileCrunch. What I’m going to do is write about my impressions of my time with the phone and some of the things I’ve noted.

I’d never actually used an Android device before, and I don’t own an iPhone. I do have an iPod and, as I mentioned before, a Blackberry Curve. It’s probably not a surprise that I kind of see the operating system as a crossbetween the iPod the Blackberry. I’ve used the phone pretty much exclusively since I got it.

I feel like I’ve made the transition to the physical keyboard that’s quite a bit wider than my Curve. I wish the space bar were a bit wider, but that’s a quibble. Remember, this whole thing is being written on it and Carla can attest I don’t have excessive patience for boring and frustrating things. The little rocker d-pad thing on the right side is actually handy to backspace and select text (just depress the shift key and move the cursor). Hold the pad key down for a second or two and a menu pops up that allows you to cut, copy, or paste. There’s also a menu item that allows you to choose the input device. Does this allow the use of a Bluetooth keyboard? I don’ know, but that would rock.

One of the things I think anyone considering the Droid ought to be aware of is that not everything is fully-baked. I’m not saying the device is unstable because it’s definitely not. It’s just that Android can run on devices with different screen resolutions. Only the most recent release gives developers the tools to create resolution-independent applications. That version is what the Droid runs, but it was relased to the world the night before the Droid itself. I’ve downloaded several apps that clearly were formatted exclusively for other devices. I’m sure their authors will update them, but it’s not going to happen instantly. Remember that most developers won’t be able to test against actual hardware until Friday (though the tools are available now). And don’ t get the wrong idea, lots of apps work perfectly.

Other observations:

  • I like that my apps and such are saved to the cloud. When I thought I had to give the loaner unit back Thursday I did a factory reset to wipe all personal info from the phone. When we found out we could hold onto them for a few more days I re-entered my Google credentials and all the applications were restored as well. Their individual  settings don’t seem to get backed up as those seem to be stored on the micro SD card.  I don’t know if this behavior is true of all Android devices as part of the OS, but I like it.
  • I took some more photos today as we took a drive. I tried to stick to the sort of shots I’d actually take using a camera phone. [UPDATE:  The photos didn’t make the trip,  I’ll post them separately].
  • The touch screen can be, well, touchy. Especially when using either the still or video camera. Here’s a video I shot to test lip-sync.  In it I blather on about how accidently brushing the screen can cause another program to launch that might crash the video app. If that happens, the elementary streams of audio and video might not be combined (“muxed” is the term) properly. That also may happen if the video clip goes more than 3 or 4 minutes, but I’m not prepared to say there’s a problem for sure.  I do know that I had issues trying to upload a file greater than 70 MB. The data rate for the video filed appears to be 3 MB/sec, which isn’t too shabby. 
  • I wish the GMail program had spell check.

So those are more of my impressions and experiences.

One last thing. If you want to write something this long, use a computer.

(UPDATE:  Yep, I had to go in and clean some stuff up as soon as it posted.  But it was my fault because I forgot to close a tag).