Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another Week, another 2.1 OTA rumor... or is it?

So another week as past us and nothing new in the DROID 2.1 OTA world, or so I thought. As I do everyday, I new google DROID 2.1 to see if anything new comes up. 18 out of 21 times nothing new was mentioned. Today, however... there are promising reports that 2.1 was released. Again, this release was to 1,000 people at 12:00 pm (Eastern), then 9,000 more users 11:59 tonight (Eastern) and then batches of 200,000 are reported to follow each day until all users are updated.

I say this is promising because there was not pre-release news as there has been in the past. Typically, you would heard something the day before the supposed release date. I saw nothing yesterday. Also, Verizon's DROID support page, shows a new release being issued named ESE81.

I will not believe it until I have my DROID updated to 2.1 because after all... April fools day is just around the corner

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No 2.1 as of today... but got confirmation from Motorola that DROID WILL get 2.1

Well by the looks of the date of my last post and this one, 2.1 did not get released to me. I say that because there are rumors that it was released to some testers (reports even indicate that the testers where VerizonWirelss Employee's and that the update bricked almost 75% of the phones).

Some new reports say that a new batch of testing will be released today sometime and if that goes well, then the update will roll out in batches of 200,000 a day.

I "chatted" with Motorola today about update as in "what is exactly going on".  Here is the transcript of my "chat".  The name of the rep I spoke to has been removed.
MOTO: Hi, my name is MOTO: How may I help you?

me: Hi MOTO, I have the droid on VZW and I want a staight answer. IS android 2.1 ever going to be released for my phone? I hear an update is coming but I want it from one of the sources. Thanks

MOTO: Let me help you with this

MOTO: On March 18th, there was a test release for a small number of Droid customers. But we do not have a exact date of timeframe on when the full launch will be made. It is coming soon.

me: ok why does the overseas (non-us) market have the update to is users and US doesn't. Isnt it the same hardware/update

MOTO: The Milestone is the equivalent for the Droid in the U.S. But the Milestone is a GSM technology phone, not CDMA. So it will not be the exact same update.

me: ok what update is coming out today?

MOTO: Today?

me: I have read reports that VZW is trying the update again since the one on 3.18 did not go as planned. See this is why i come to you guys. What is the story exactly with a 2.1 update for US droid. Will there be a 2.1 ever (near future) for droid or should I stop giving up hope?

MOTO: Yes, there will be a 2.1 update, that is for sure.

me: is that the only word on it, no time frame? I keep hearing Q1 2010, is that still plausable?

me: also who is incontrol of the udpate google, hp,MOTOrola or verizon?

MOTO: Actually, Google, Verizon andMOTOrola. But the update will be sent through there Google server.

me: ok so is q1 still possible for all droid users?

MOTO: That is the original idea. We hope we can accomplish it.

me: can I ask what the issues are that you are running into?

MOTO: I do not have the details, but I do know that basically whatMOTOrola is trying to do is to push an update that will solve the issues that customers were having so far with the Droid, and not to bring them more troubles. So it is a really important update and it has to be done right since the very beginning. They do not want anything to fail, so that is basically why it is taking more time.

me: I understand that, I would rather a fully baked brownie, then a half baked one to just have a brownie. :-) is that update to solve the issues you are trying to correct include android 2.1 or is that another update?

MOTO: No, that is not another update. The 2.1 is the one to solve those issues.

me: ok so just to clarify. the only update on the droid that is expected to be released is Android 2.1. Hopefully soon, but no timeframe. Are the problems causing the delay OTA related or VZW Network related. What I am getting at, is can the update just be downloaded by users and then applied manually.

MOTO: No, the delay is not related to the Verizon network. And no, you can not download it and then apply it manually whenever you want. It will be pushed and you will be requested if you want to apply it now or if you want to postpone it.

me: OK Great. Thank you very much for your time. Its been very helpful.

MOTO: You are welcome

MOTO: Do you have any other question?

me: Actually, can you confirm or deny any DROID (Android 2.1) updates being sent for testing (to select users) this week?

MOTO: No, actually not. It was sent on March 18th, but I do not have a confirmation that this week the same thing will be done.

me: ok great thanks again, have a great week

So based on this, I should see something soon, but nothing definite. Just like all the reports we have been reading but at least this is from one of the sources.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2.1 coming soon... maybe... we've been down this road before

So ever since I got my DROID two weeks ago, I have been anticipating the 2.1 Android OS update.  I check everyday for any new details.  I kept seeing, "droid 2.1 updating this week".  I would get all excited, but then i see the article was posted February 18th.  I would do more searches, but to only find the same thing with articles with earlier days.  Needless to say, 2.1 has been teased to DROID owners for weeks even months.  WELL... I just read at droidforums.net that 2.1 is heading our way this Thursday.  From reading the writeup on this update, there is no mention of Flash in this update.  Hopefully, that was just a minor leave up and we will be more then happy when we get the update.  There was confirmation that Live Wallpapers will be included but whoopee, I can only imagine that will drain the battery even more.

Other updates include Pinch-and-Zoom, so SUCK IT IPHONE USERS, SUCK IT.  The one thing I am looking forward to is the speech-to-text for all input fields.  This will allow you to say anything you would normally type, so SUCK IT IPHONE USERS, SUCK IT.

IM sure I will be back tomorrow with some sort of post, but if I am not, I will definitely be back to review 2.1.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some other apps worth checking out

So now that I have had the DROID (lets be real, you can not minimize this device by calling it a phone), for two weeks, I have become more familiar apps and settings. Lately I have discovered a few more apps that I think are worth checking out.

I always thought it was a bit outdated to have an individual "members" card to each store I frequent. Today I found an app that lets me scan and store all the card codes into one app. It's called KeyRing and it does just like I mentioned. It scans the cards barcode (or you can enter the number manually if there is no barcode), when you go to the store, you just select the stores card, and have the cashier scan the phone. The app does warn that you will get better results using an actually hand scanner as opposed to a flatbed scanner.

Another cool app is call SMS Popup. I uninstalled Handcent because it was not auto retrieving MMS messages. I would have to manually "download" the message. Things I missed with Handcent uninstalled, i would not get notified as easily of new messages. This app takes care of that. I can also set up reminders to go off to remind me of my unread messages.

Finally, the app that will make me break even with the cost of the phone, is My Coupons. You can search for online and install coupons and deals for any store. This weekend My wife and I took our son to get new shoes. While she was fitting him, I was searching My Coupons for any current deals. I found a 15% off code that I showed the cashier my phone and he gave me the discount... instantly.

These are just a few cools apps I have found my self constantly using. Im sure there will be more to come. When there are, I will do more reviews.

Inventor of Cellphone Dumps IPhone, Embraces Android | AndroidGuys

This is a great mini-atricle showing the Android is continuing to take over the SmartPhone Market share. This is one big endorment if you ask me.

Inventor of Cellphone Dumps IPhone, Embraces Android | AndroidGuys

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Favorite Apps

So now that I have had the droid for almost a whole week, I have made my self familiar with the Android Market. I mostly do not play games on the phone so I have not downloaded any other then Jewels.

I will brief you on some of my favorite apps.

1. Handcent... this is a great to replace the default SMS/MMS service. Some of the nice features are you can speak your text and you can customize your notifications LED activity and be reminded of any messages waiting for you.

2. Google Voice... this is still by invite only but the cool feature about this app is that you can have your voice mails sent to you as an email or text written out.

3. Toddler Lock... not much an app for us adults to enjoy, but if you have a little who likes phones like I do, download this free app. It will lock all your buttons (minus power) and screen press. When ever they press anything, a colorful shape is drawn on the screen and a sound is played. My 20 month old got board pretty quickly, but he didn't want my phone anymore, so that is a plus.

4. Google Navigation... built in software for turn-by-turn directions, but makes my iPhone friends jealous.

5. AndExplorer... simple folder/file browser.

These are just some of my most used apps. There are, and I'M sure will be many more. Although the Android Market is Pluto compared to Apple's App store, I think it will catch up rather quickly. I think Apple will have to change their stance on multiple apps running at once, once Android absorbs a large share of the market. Although, by the time that happens, single-app limitation may be the least of Apple's worries.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My 5 day review

So I have had my DROID since Tuesday. Overall, I am very happy with it. Its voice search is fairly accurate. I developed a case of laryngitis this week and the android was still able to figure out what i was trying to say. I can not wait for android 2.1 to come out so that feature is built into to all editable fields. I really like the Android Market. My only 2 grips is that not all apps have screen shots and the search does not use auto-complete for some reason. Another issue with key-entry is the lack of precise cursor positioning. I got used to this on my iPhone and sometimes find my self doing the same hand motions to place the cursor, but it does not work. :-(. I did install a very handy SMS app called Handcent. Its has built in support to allow text-entry via voice. It also has a cool interface and it reminds you of any new text/multimedia messages. The camera on the phone is pretty comparable to other cameras on phones that i have owned. There is nothing special about this one. I rarely use the slide out keyboard. Other then the two wishfull updates (cursor positioning and ability to disable built in apps due to third party apps, I am VERY happy with the DROID). For me to be happy with a smartphone is something you should take very serious when considering this phone.

One of my daily chores at work now is to brag about the DROID to my fellow co-workers who have an iPhone. I pretty much stop their yapping when I say "turn-by-turn navigation for free". That usually makes them stubble and try to find another way to say how their phone is better. The only area the iPhone is better is the placement of the cursor and the ability to copy text with ease. That is something that is pretty difficult to do on this phone.

More to come as time goes on.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

worth the wait.

Yesterday my DROID arrived along with my car mount, car charger and desktop cradle. Immediately after activation I knew this phone was going to be great. The touchscreen is extremely responsive, the controls are easy, the scrolling is smooth. Everything about this device is incredible. There are some caveats to the phone that I'm sure will not last. For example, I was able to sync some of my Google contacts with my Facebook friends, but not all of them because their names are slightly different. I need to figure out how to link the two together. Also, the scrolling in the web browser is not as slick on that of my iPod Touch. I did not notice this until my fellow iPhone users pointed it out. I should say that some of them were a bit jealous of the DROID. Of course they tried to down play some of its cool features. For example, when I would mention Google Navigation, yeah big deal, how much does that cost. When I tell them nothing, their jaw slightly drops. It drops completely after I show how it works.

All-in-all, I am very happy with the device.

I will post more once I spend more time with it, browsing the market and find some other cool tricks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The wait continues, but meanwhile

As I patiently wait for the delivery of the DROID, I started to look at what accessories I can use to the phone. I found a bundled package on VZW that includes, a car mount, multimedia dock and car charger. At full price, this package would cost $90.00. They where offereing it for $49.99 (19.99 for the car mount, $19.99 for the doc and $9.99 for the car charger).

Doing my research on the multimedia dock, the reviews where average. Some people paid between $30 and $40. The current price is $30. People that were unhappy with the dock said if it cost $15 to $20, they would be happier. Since I got it for $19.99 I think I will be happy.

The cool think about multimedia doc is that is looks nice while charging and syncing my phone.

The car mount is pretty cool too. I am hoping I will be able to take advantage of it more then I think I will. Right now I do not see it much use for it other then when using the maps, but for the price, I could not beat it.

Here is some information on the multimedia doc:
Multimedia Station for DROID by Motorola - Motorola USA

and the car mount:
Car Mount for DROID by Motorola - Motorola USA