Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Symbian Authors: Jack Newton, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, Shelly Palmer, RealWire News Distribution

Related Topics: Symbian, Mobile IoT, Video, Wearables

Symbian: Blog Feed Post

Motorola Droid Review

Here’s my assessment after 3 months of intensive use

Consumer Electronics on Ulitzer

Note from Bob Gourley: The following article was written by enterprise technology and mission IT expert Danny Proko and was originally seen on Facebook (you can find Danny there or on LinkedIn).

A number of my friends asked me about my new gadget…the Droid…of which I’m the proud owner.  Here’s my assessment after 3 months of intensive use. I’ll break it down by:
- Why I bought it…
- GUI design and layout….usability…design intuitiveness
- Phone interface
- Search and discovery
- Email/messaging/contact integration
- Calendar integration
- Integral navigational aid
- 3rd-party apps
- Stability, reliability
- Would I buy it again, knowing all of this?

Why I bought it…I wanted a more powerful handheld comms/computing device on a reliable 3G network. I’ve had all the networks, between the personal and professional comms devices I‘ve used, and Verizon can’t be beat for the places I travel. Even around town, I don’t lose the signal during calls as I have on other left-unnamed networks. The difference between the “blue” and “red” maps IS real, and all my iPhone friends have commented negatively on the connectivity issues. I guess the iPhone NEEDS the built-in wireless to offset.  Don’t get me wrong…I would have bought an iPhone if they offered reliable communications; however, I carry my son and Dad on my plan, so I want my money’s worth and the comfort of knowing we can communicate in emergencies when I’m paying that much for broadband wireless service. BTW, I don’t have a home landline phone…I use my Droid for all communications so it MUST provide reliable service.

Additionally, I wanted an expandable, extensible device, and I figured if Google and Verizon couldn’t team to offer that, nobody could. The idea of an open architecture for 3rd-party apps also attracted me. Some of the “iDon’t’s” from the advertisement raised my awareness enough to assess the hype about removable batteries, longer-life batteries, multi-tasking, etc, etc.  Additionally, I have two of the multimedia cradles, and the car navigation holder, which suctions to the windscreen. They are great and immediately give the Droid “context” to that holder/cradle. Well worth the add on. I have the Seidio Innocase, screen protectors, and holster, which I swear by for protection for all my handhelds, but it’s a hassle to remove to put in the cradle. I’m torn about it…really torn.

Further, it had all of the productivity apps I used on my Blackberry Storm and a real QWERTY keyboard, in addition to either a landscape or portrait QWERTY keyboard. I don’t use my phone for entertainment, other than music, so I’m not a big gamer. I do like the 802.11 wireless option, which wasn’t available on my Storm (which is now offered on the Storm 2).  802.11 gives you options around the house to receive faster service for streaming music, etc.

GUI design and layout…It offers 3 programmable touch screens, meaning you can have basically a 3-screen Windows-like desktop layout. Access to the three screens is merely by running your finger left or right in the direction of the next screen. Every application has either a landscape or portrait mode, depending on which way you tilt the device. A tab at the bottom of the screen brings up an additional scrollable window that contains all of the applications loaded on your Droid. It’s pretty intuitive. With a touch screen, expect different additional options to pop up if you hold your finger to the screen…in just about any of the applications. I was cursing my investment until I found this handy feature…the “menu” function, as a rule, doesn’t provide you access to all the available options, which is a non-intuitive drawback.

You can install various “widgets” on the 3 programmable screens…weather, music, market trackers, messaging, and news etc, and these widgets are live and interactive with the content they serve. Some work well, some don’t…primarily in the live update department. I use widgets primarily to update me with timely information, such as weather, market, and news. You can also use the programmable screens to park shortcuts to commonly used apps, including shortcuts to directly call or text family/friends.

I really like and use the alert function across the top of any of the 3 screens that allows you to see the various applications requiring your attention. Tap on the alert bar, and it drops a window that contains each of the alerts, which when you tap each, takes you to the app and message requiring attention. This includes email, texts, weather, download updates, etc, etc. All alerts clear when you view them, or you can clear them manually.

Bluetooth is easier to use on the Droid than the Blackberry devices. However, the support for customizable sound and display profiles is lacking, and the 3rd-party apps to do this leave a lot to be desired in reliability and usability. Most of the “menu-ing” is visual touch screen customization, when compared to the Bberry; however, it needs more of it. I have multiple different types of handsfree devices in each car, and it works well with all of them.

The 3 keyboards are easy to use, and the touch screen versions are “more accurate” than the algorithms on the Bberry Storm. There are multi-tap keyboards you can download, but they are not as stable as the stock keyboard, which I use exclusively now. The real keyboard is expansive, when you compare it to the chiclets on the Palm and Bberry….you cannot use it with one finger/thumb while walking, for example; however, the portrait touch-screen keyboard and spell checker work nicely with one thumb, useful in certain “non-walking” situations.

The web browser is quick, and with the zoom function, entirely readable. I’ve not had the issues I have had with the Storm’s browser, which is slower. Navigation is easy, and it has many built in features that allow you to make calls to numbers within the browser’s view, etc. Good user experience.

Phone Interface…This grew on me, and while buggy before the update, it seems to be intuitive and much more stable. I like it better than the Storm, and it’s easy to use.

Search and discovery…I don’t know why I didn’t think this would be a key feature of the Droid, being supported by Google, however, the built-in, context-sensitive search capabilities were one of the huge surprises of the device. This is especially true of the voice search capability, which is available for WWW searches and navigation, but not every application, such as contacts. Voice recognition is very accurate for the English language, including place names, and I use it at least 1-2 times a day. Returns come back in the form of traditional WWW Google returns, and the criteria are clearly displayed. Very handy, and it’s faster than typing in the Google WWW page. Not much else to say, but if you use Google as I use Google, you know this is a time saver.

Email/messaging/contact integration…They did a pretty decent job on this part of it, but it’s the place they need to mature the most. It allows you to upgrade from your old contacts list, which isn’t perfect, and you will lose some information…and I’ve still not broken the code as to why I lost certain contacts. It will integrate your Gmail, Facebook, and regular contacts, and align them; however, duplicate contact resolution didn’t allow me to correct conflicts, and this seems to be one of the places I lost data. The best/fullest/most complete contact record didn’t always win the deconfliction process, either.

Google Mail, Contacts, and Calendaring are well supported and totally integrated within the device to the WWW, of course; however, other email accounts are not. For example, you can’t move mail among your IMAP folders on a personal, non-Gmail account, and you can’t process incoming calendar invites in non-Gmail accounts to your calendar. I have not used the Exchange connector since I don’t use my personal phone for work purposes; however, I’ve heard Exchange’s fully integrated from one of my buds.

Text messaging is ok, but could be a lot better. Deleting conversations is cumbersome, and requires you to delete either all at once or one at a time, confirming each as you do it. You can’t select and delete specific conversations without going into each. This is one of the apps that had more options available by holding your finger down on a message, than available on the menu. I’ve received a single automated software update for the phone already, and while the SMS/MMS app was the buggiest initially, it’s much more stable now.

Calendar integration…seems to be limited to Google calendar (maybe Exchange), and as I said before, I’m disappointed that ICS files or email invites into non-Gmail accounts are not recognized by the device and stored for future reminder.

Integral navigational aid…I knew about this when I bought the Droid, but I was still surprised at how well integrated and functional this capability was/is. Totally integrated with the voice search, I’ve tried numerous destination, such as “navigate to pizza LeesburgVirginia”, and the pizza options come up. I simply touch the one I want, and the navigation fun begins. The interface is very intuitive, and the voice commands are also helpful, including the announcement of street names. When you get closer to the final destination, the navaid shows you pictures of your final destination, including the surroundings. All of this is done automatically. Very nice…and the car cradle is a must have.

3rd-party apps…I’ve downloaded some free and pay applications, and they make it very easy. Installs and upgrades are painfree, complete with notifications about new versions, on the alert bar. The freebie apps are the buggiest, so you get what you pay for. I’ve found some great apps in the market, most dealing with news and finances, and music. I have downloaded some photography applications, mainly because the built-in 5MP camera software is barely functional (and camera had very good quality), but nothing to write home about. This is another app they could work on. As I said previously, I’m using the phone more for productivity than gaming, but there seems to be an endless line of games and other entertainment options, including apps to find local attractions, movie tickets, etc, etc. My favorite apps are Amazon, Amazon MP3, Personal Assistant from Pageonce, Thomson/Reuters News Pro, Pandora, Weatherbug Elite, Camera More, Bloo (better FB app than FB), Sound Manager (decent at managing sound profiles), Open Table, and WiFinder. The Amazon app allows you to barcode scan anything and automatically searches the item, and if the price is right, buy it directly (and I’m a fan of the super saver shipping on Amazon and staying out of stores!).  One of my favorites, of course, is an app to find the closest Starbucks! Gotta love it.

Stability, reliability…the phone does reboot on occasion, for no apparent reason…I’d say maybe two to three times a week. This beats it rebooting once a day when I first bought it. The upgrade seems to have made it more stable, and I would report what I‘m observing now, if I could figure out a pattern.  The only thing I’m using over my buddies, who don’t see the reboots, is IMAP for my home email.  I’m looking forward to more operating system and core application updates/upgrades, to increase functionality AND stability. I would hope they build in a feature that feeds them information after a premature abort of the OS, one where the user doesn’t power it down. Maybe they can collect some information to enhance stability.

Would I buy it again, knowing all of this? Yes…overall, I really like the phone. It is the first handheld that gave me the feeling that it is a computing device.  Any comments above are to help users/developers realize the areas that need improvement, which might frustrate some users. I’m an early adopter of most technologies, and I ride out the little pain points; however, it makes me appreciate the updates and upgrades all the more. I have done this with the RIM WorldPhone and the Storm, and feedback helps the designers improve the system.

I hope this helps interested gadget freaks and users alike.  And I have not taken subsidies for the opinions I’ve expressed in this article.

Related posts:

  1. Blackberry 9630 Tour: Perfect for my small business needs
  2. Cloud computing and my small business
  3. Seven Technology Predictions for 2010

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the data to create additional revenue streams, such as improved warranties or premium features. Or slash...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.