The Droid I’m Looking For

This week I started looking in earnest at the currently available Verizon Android phones. I find my BlackBerry to be an awesome device for PIM activities (email, SMS, calendar) and the official Twitter client is pretty decent, however I really miss having a good browser, feed reader, podcast client, etc. and will generally grab my iPod touch instead of the BlackBerry when around a WiFi network. I’d like to be able to use one device, and have that device on Verizon’s network.

As discussed in a recent Talk Show episode, the Android landscape is much more difficult for a consumer to navigate than the iOS landscape. If you want an iPhone, you go buy it. Your only choice is how much storage you want. If you want an Android device, you need to figure out what form factor you like, how battery life is on the different models, how the manufacturer UI customizations affect the user experience, etc.

After doing several hours of research, I basically came to the conclusion that Motorola is making the best Verizon Android handsets with the Droid 2 and Droid X being the best currently available options. They are very different devices.

While they have the same screen resolution, the 2’s screen is much smaller than the X’s. The 2 has a slide out landscape keyboard while the X only has a touch screen. The cameras are different. The overall device size and thickness is different.

I went to the Verizon store to get more hands-on experience. I played with the Droid 2 and the Droid X for a little while and noted that I liked the Droid X’s hardware buttons for Menu, Home, Back, Search and the larger screen when using the virtual keyboard. I also liked the Droid 2’s overall size since I typically keep my phone in a belt case.

On Wednesday evening, swayed by childhood memories of Star Wars, I decided to go ahead and order the Droid R2D2 (a re-badged Droid 2).1 It will arrive today.

Naturally, yesterday, the Droid Pro was announced. The Droid Pro is the droid I’m looking for. An Android device that has a BlackBerry style keyboard is what I’ve been waiting for now for some time. 2

So I invested a good deal of time this week trying to figure out which Android device to buy and in the one day between the time I got excited and ordered my Droid R2D2 and the day it will arrive, my enthusiasm for the new device I will receive today was completely sapped. This is the current Android landscape.

The Droid Pro is due out in a little less than a month, so I’m not going to return the Droid R2D2 right away. Instead, I’m going to pay the $35 rental restocking fee to give it a good test run over the next 30 days. Then I’ll probably return it and get the Droid Pro as soon as it’s available.

  1. This is the first “themed” tech device I’ve ever been remotely interested in. I still don’t know why I’m as excited about it as I am. [back]
  2. I’m a hardware keyboard guy from way back in the Treo 300 days. I type faster and more accurately on real buttons. [back]