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I have had the droid for a week and a half and I have to say I am impressed with this phones speed.  Having recently upgraded from the LG-Muziq to the HTC-Hero (both Sprint) I felt like I had finally stepped into the smart phone world.  Now that I have demoed the Motorola Droid (Verizon), I feel the same feelings and thoughts a person gets on the last day of vacation, “Do I really have to go back?”

Verizon’s Pittsburgh announcement event was short and sweet.  They aired a  short video which was an extended version of the “Droid does” commercials and a brief, selling points only introduction of the phone before they sent everyone to the tables with the demo-Droids.  Each table had its own theme such as sports or entertainment with appropriately themed apps pre-downloaded to the phone.  Jim Lokay of KDKA news was there and seemed really please with Droid.

Droid comes with a Cortex A8 550mhz processor, a 3.7 inch WVGA screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, Bluetooth v2.1, a full HTML5 web browser that is Flash 10 ready (which should be available early next year), 5MP camera with a blinding dual LED flash, and has support for multiple emails including Exchange and most web-based emails.  It is shipped with a 16gb microSD card and is expandable to 32gb.  It has a 1400 mAh battery that offers 6.4 hours of continuous usage or over 11 days of standby time.

Now to the fun part, actual time with the Droid.  I was given a Droid to take home and play with and play I have.  After the phone is turned on and runs its start up it announces itself to the world with one word, its name “Droid”, in an appropriate robotic tone.  Start up time for me was under a minute, averaging 50 seconds.  Droid runs Android 2.0 “Eclaire.”  No Moto blur or Sense UI, just clean Android which helps Droid rather than hinder it.  Droids processor could easily handle the third party overlays but without them it helps to keep the processor doing what it should be doing and that’s making sure every moment using an app or browsing the web is fast.  I ran Google sky maps, Astro process manager, Gmail, a time waster app called Bubbles, visual voicemail and multiple windows in the browser including facebook, foxnews, and myspace with no noticeable slow down when using the program or switching between them.  With my Sprint Hero the system beings to lag under this pressure especially when using the virtual keyboard to type on facebook but not so with the Droid.  The phone is supposed to be multi-touch and it certainly has the capability built in but it is strangely absent.  It may have something to do with Apple’s request for Google to not include it but only time will answer this question.

Android 2.0 market adds much needed functions to make it comparable to the I-store.  Market 2.0 adds the ability to see screenshots of apps and also will notify you via the status bar of updates for previously downloaded apps.  Being an open source operating system frees developers to make a multitude of programs that they otherwise couldn’t on other phones.  This is a benefit because if you do not like the look of the native text messaging app you could download Handcent or Chomp SMS. Both are standalone SMS apps from the market that give you tons of customization options for your text messages.

Worthy of an honorary mention is Car home.  A sweet little app that changes your home screen to 5 large icons: voice search, navigation, view map, contacts and search.  It is a nice way to make the most useful functions of the phone easily accessible while driving.  Voice search is an all encompassing option, doing what the others do just by voice input.  Excellent for when you need directions to your destination, want to find food nearby or need to dial a contact quickly without having to scroll through the phonebook.  Yes other phones have voice search but Car home seems to make it that much better.

The camera is 5 megapixels with dual LED flash, image stabilization and something that is often overlooked but an amazing addition is the two stage button.  Like dedicated digital cameras the two stage button can be depressed halfway to set the auto focus then completely depressed to take the picture aiding in stopping blurry pictures due to camera shake.  Video is easily switched via a virtual toggle on screen.  Moving objects appear crisp with little blur and sound quality from playback is superb.

Droid is available now for $199.99 after $100.00 MIR.  At this price, for the hardware and the first phone to have Android 2.0, Verizon smart phone consumers are getting quite the offer.  It leaves me at Sprint hoping another vacation comes soon.

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Author: Shawn