Friday, February 5, 2010

Motorola Devour Coming to Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless has announced that their next phone based on Google's Android OS, the Devour, will be arriving in March.

Verizon Wireless and Motorola, Inc. have announced the availability of Motorola DEVOUR in March. Motorola DEVOUR will be the first Verizon Wireless phone to feature MOTOBLUR, Motorola’s unique Android-powered content delivery service created to make wireless phones more personal and customizable.

MOTOBLUR is the first solution to sync contacts from work and personal e-mail services, including Gmail, with posts, messages, photos and more from popular sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. With MOTOBLUR, content is automatically delivered to the home screen and fed into easy-to-manage streams.

Motorola Devour's Key Features
  • Touch-sensitive navigation pad

  • 3.1” capacitive touch screen

  • Pre-loaded Google apps: Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps with Navigation.

  • Android Market application store

  • MOTOBLUR Happenings Widget – automatically receive push status updates updates from popular social networking sites.

  • MOTOBLUR Universal Inbox – gathers texts, social network messages and e-mails into one home screen widget.

  • Back-Up and Security – Contacts, log-in information, home screen customizations, e-mail and social network messages are backed up automatically on the secure MOTOBLUR portal. The portal also allows customers to use the phone’s fully integrated aGPS to help locate the phone if misplaced. Remote wipe easily clears information from a lost device.

  • 8 GB microSD™ card pre-installed

  • Supported Bluetooth profiles include: A2DP, HID, HSP, HFP, AVRCP and GAP

Verizon Service Plans

To get the most from Motorola DEVOUR, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide Talk or Nationwide Talk & Text plan and a Data Package for smartphones. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access, and Nationwide Talk & Text plans begin at $59.99 monthly access. A Data Package for smartphones is $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.

Analysis

What I really like about the Devour is the new keyboard layout. For the Devour, Motorola chose to make the keys bigger and spaced them out more on the keyboard. In my opinion, this gives the user a better typing experience than what is available on the Motorola Droid or on screen virtual keyboards.

The downside is that the Devour is clearly intended to be a consumer device. I'm sure businesses will deploy plenty of the new Android-powered phone, however, without Google's adding more robust support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, organizations looking to deploy Devour will continue to need third-party tools such as NitroDesk Touchdown.

For more details, visit the Verizon Wireless website.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Motorola Enhances Keyboard on New Droid Phone



One of the things that I was complaining about in my recent Motorola Droid review was the way that the keyboard was setup on the Droid. Yes, the Droid has a full Qwerty keyboard, which is still better than an on-screen keyboard in my opinion, but the keyboard was essentially flat and it was hard to feel where one key was from the next.

In a photo that surfaced on Boy Genius Report over the weekend, it looks like Motorola is aiming to please by changing out and enhancing the keyboard in their next Google Android device, called the Motorola Droid Devour, which is headed to Verizon Wireless at some point this year.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

CES 2010

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is set to kick off on January 7 in Las Vegas. Since the focus of the show is consumers, CES starts on a Thursday and ends on a Sunday.

According to the CES website, there are over 600 technology companies from the West Coast in attendance and event organizers are expecting 110,000 attendees for the trade room floor and workshop sessions. Tickets to the event are $200.

For more information about this year's CES event, please visit the CES website.

Rumors Aplenty

As usual for this time of year, there is a flurry of rumors about upcoming devices from a number of technology vendors. This year's rumors include: HTC's new touchscreen tablet device, Motorola's expected announcement of two new smartphones, Google's Nexus One smartphone press event on Jan. 5, with the device available from Google and T-Mobile.

Palm will also be at CES this year, however, it is expected that the focus will be on software development, and not on new device launches. However, there are those pesky Verizon Wireless Pre Plus and Pixi Plus rumors to deal with.

Apple won't be at this year's CES or MacWorld Expo events. Instead, it is widely rumored that Apple will hold their own press event on or around January 26th. Speculation is running wild in the face of mounting evidence that they will finally announce the table computer that has rumored to be under development for many years now.


[Via Boy Genius Report, Barron's Tech Trader Daily, Gizmodo, PreCentral]

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Motorola Droid Print Ad

I am flipping through Entertainment Weekly magazine issue 1082/1083 and ran across an ad for the Motorola Droid for Verizon Wireless that I thought was a bit off the wall. The ad opens with this line of text:
"Jump from page to page like a caffeinated cricket in a room full of hungry lizards."

O-K, I'm not sure that imagery will make me go out an buy a new phone. Click the graphic to see the ad full size. And if you do decide to buy a Droid after reading the ad, don't forget to also pick up a good case. No need to have all that "grease-dipped lightning" getting all over that beautiful Droid screen.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time: Droid Bests iPhone 3GS for Gadget of the Year

Ok, I really wasn't expecting the iPhone 3GS to get knocked off it's perch by a publication, especially by the likes of Time Magazine.

Apple fan site AppleInsider is reporting that Time has named the Google Android powered Motorola Droid the top gadget of 2009, beating the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre.
"The Droid is a hefty beast, a metal behemoth without the gloss and finish of the iPhone, but you don't miss it," the magazine said. "The Droid's touchscreen is phenomenally sharp and vivid, it has an actual physical (not great, but good enough) keyboard, and best of all, the Droid is on Verizon's best-of-breed 3G network. It's Android's first credible challenge to the iPhone."

Not to worry iPhone fans, the 3GS ranked number four on the list. The Palm Pre didn't even make Time's list.

You can read Time's full Top 10 Gadgets of 2009 list on Time.com.

Related Posts:

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Verizon Motorola Droid Hands On Review

The Motorola Droid is the latest Google Android powered smartphone being offered by Verizon Wireless. The Droid went on sale back on November 6, and joins Verizion’s other Google Android phone, the Droid Eris, in their smartphone line up.

The Droid is the first Google Android smartphone that I’ve used and I was interested in seeing what this phone is capable of doing and to see how it would measure up to other smarpthones that I’ve used in the past.

The Hardware

The Motorola Droid is a 6oz 2.4 x 4.6 x .5-inch slider smartphone. The face of the Droid is dominated by an expansive 3.7-inch 480x854 pixel WVGA display, that is formatted to support 16:9 widescreen video. (I watched about 15 minutes of Iron Man on Droid and the display looked crisp and clear.) The capacitive TFT touch screen is both bright and easy to read. Along the top of the device are a standard 3.5mm headset hack and the power on/off button. On the left side is the microUSB port used to charge the phone or connect it to your computer as a USB mass storage device. On the right side, you will find the volume up/down buttons and the camera application button. Below the screen is the mic, and on the back you will find the 5.0MP camera sensor and the speaker.

Moto Droid next to a Palm PixiTucked away inside the Droid are the EVDO Rev. A, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and a Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g radios. The Droid also sports an assisted GPS receiver. Powering the smartphone is a 1400 mAh removable battery. There is also a microSDHC card slot at the top of the battery compartment where you will find a 16GB microsSDHC card pre-installed. If you plan on swapping out microSDHC cards or batteries regularly, or if you tend to toss your phone in a pocket, purse, or messenger bag for example, you will want to keep an eye on the battery compartment door. Unlike other smartphones I have used in the past, the Droids battery compartment door does not latch lock into place. I can see a lot of people loosing their battery doors and Verizon should be keeping their spare parts inventory well stocked.

Similar to other recent smartphones, Motorola has included an accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and an e-compass.

The Droid features a physical keyboard which I prefer over on screen keyboards like those used on the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm 2. That said, the keys are, for all intents and purposes, completely flat. In my opinion, this makes the keyboard harder to use than it needs to be. I much rather have a physical keyboard that has raised or rubberized keys like those on the BlackBerry Curve, the Palm Treo, or the Palm Pre. At the end of the day, the best keyboard layouts and orientations are a personal choice. I would recommend that you stop at a local Verizon retail outlet and play with the keyboard before you buy so you know you will be able to live with this phone for the next two years.

The Software

The Motorola Droid, as stated earlier, is powered by the Google Android 2.0 operating system. Because the operating system was written by Google, it should come as no surprise that Droid supports most of Google’s web services, including: Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Talk (Instant Messaging), Search and Search by Voice, and YouTube. Support for Google Voice is not included on Verizon’s phone.

Main app launcher screenAndroid Phone appDroid software stackThe Android contacts and calendaring applications worked as you would expect them to and I did not experience any problems using them. On the demo unit that I was working with, I did not see a dedicated tasks or memos application. Since the Droid is the first Google Android phone that I’m using, I’m not sure if Google just didn’t include those applications, tucked the functionality into the email and/or calendar applications, or whether or not Verizon chose to not include those applications. A quick search of the Android Market provided me with a number of free and commercial replacement tasks and memos applications. I just find it odd that these applications aren’t included by default on the phone.

I was happy to see that Android 2.0 supported not only Google Gmail accounts, but also POP, IMAP, and Microsoft Exchange accounts. Additionally, you can also sync the Droid with a Google or Microsoft Exchange calendar. There are a few things that I though where confusing and annoying about email and calendaring on Droid. The first is that the Droid has two email and two calendar applications. The application “Corporate Calendar” is the application that you use to configure a Microsoft Exchange server calendar using Exchange ActiveSync. You use the “Calendar” application to access your non-Exchange calendar. For this test, I used one of my Google Calendars. I was surprised to learn that I was unable to add a second or third personal calendar. I have three calendars that I look at throughout my day: business, personal, and family. I configured the Droid to primarily sync with my “business” Gmail account and Android automatically linked the same account’s calendar to the phone. I was able to add additional Gmail and POP email accounts, but I was unable to add a second or third calendar. Researching this issue in online Android discussion forums, it appeared that this could be a bug in the calendar application. I would like to see Google fix this limitation in the near future.

I’m a heavy user of email, calendaring, web browsing, and word processing. The browser that has been included with Droid rendered pages as well as Safari on my iPod touch with iPhone OS 3.1.2 and my Palm Pre with webOS 1.3.1.

DataViz Documents To Go 2.0 for Android

No Smartphone Fanatics smartphone review would be complete until I take DataViz Documents To Go out for a test drive.

Docs To Go launcherDocs To Go File menuDocs To Go File Open windowUnlike other smartphone platforms that you may have used in the past, Motorola’s Droid does not ship with Documents To Go pre-installed on the device. You will have to use the Android Market to download and install the free Viewer Edition of Documents To Go. The free version of Documents To Go allows you to view any recent Microsoft Word and Excel documents that you receive as an email attachment or side load on your microSD card. When you step up to the Full Version of Documents To Go 2.0 for Android, you gain the ability to view Microsoft PowerPoint documents and Adobe Acrobat documents. You also gain the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office documents. DataViz gives you the flexibility to choose the file format for your new Office documents: Office 97-2003 or Office 2007. (The file format selection is an application preference that effects new documents and is not selected when you perform a File > Save As… command.)

Another nice feature included in the Full Edition of Documents To Go is DataViz's implementation of predictive word look ups. Typing ‘fi” in a new Word document causes Word To Go to pop open a small row of possible words that start with the letters “fi” and I can quickly pick “first” form the list of words that I wanted to type. I like this implementation because the possible word selection list is not popping up in front of what you are typing to type. In other words, in my opinion, this is a much cleaner, less annoying way to work with predictive word look ups. The Full Version of Documents To Go also did a fantastic job of loading and rendering my test Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Acrobat documents. You can purchase the full version of Documents To Go for $29.95 in the Android Market, however, after registering the free Viewer Edition, I received an email from DataViz inviting me to upgrade to the full version for $9.95. If you are going to be using the Motorola Droid to work with Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat documents, you will want to purchase this upgrade. At $10, the full featured version of Documents To Go 2.0 is a bargain price for all the functionality you get.

All the Rest

I also spent some time playing with the fun aspects of Droid. The 5.0MP digital camera takes some nice pictures once you get used to the auto-focus feature. The picture viewer and music players worked well. I was able to play all of the non-DRM’ed iTunes purchased tracks that I loaded on the Droid's microSDHC card. (I sided loaded the music. If you want to sync playlists right out of iTunes, you will need to install a third-party application like DoubleTwist.)

I also loaded some of the free news applications like The New York Times, USA Today, and The Weather Channel; all of which worked well. Android comes pre-loaded with a native Facebook client (I didn’t test Facebook) and a free Twitter client, TwitterTweet, kept in up to date on all of the mobile computing Twitter-ers that I follow. I also downloaded and installed the free WiFi OnOff widget which saved a lot of time, and screen taps, to turn Wi-Fi on and off quickly. And lastly, avid readers will be happy to learn that the Fictionwise eReader Pro application works on the Android 2.0 platform, however, you will need to manually install the software from the eReader.com website, not the Android Market.

Conclusion

After spending a little more than a week getting to know the Motorola Droid and the Google Android 2.0 mobile operating system, I feel that the Droid is on par with the Apple iPhone 3G/3G s, BlackBerry Storm or Storm 2, and the Palm Pre. Based on the way I used the phone, I feel that it could tackle all of my business, personal, and social mobile computing needs. Google Android 2.0 is easy enough to use and the installation of third-party applications over the air (OTA) from the Android Market worked without any trouble at all.

Pricing and Availability

The Verizon Motorola Droid smartphone is available now at Verizon Wireless retail locations, online from the Verizon Wireless website, and through corporate inside sales reps. Consumers should expect to pay $299.99 with a new 2-year contract or with a 2-year contract extension. If you order the Droid from the Verizon Wireless website, you will receive a $100 discount. You may be able to find even better pricing from Amazon or Best Buy if you are willing to put the time in comparing online and brick and mortar retail location pricing.

For more information about the Motorola Droid, please visit the Motorola website. For pricing and service contract information, please visit the Verizon Wireless website.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Consumerist Calls Verizon Droid Packaging "Cheap"

The Consumerist, the online extension of the Consumer Reports magazine, has an article up on their website titled, "Cheap Package Design Tricks People Into Dropping Motorola Droid On Floor". I didn't get to unbox the Verizon Droid that I'm currently testing. (The box, with the phone inside it, was handed to me horizontally.)

One customer is writes about their experience to The Consumerist:

"I got my new Verizon Motorola Droid last week. But when I opened the box, the Droid fell to the floor. Apparently I had the box turned the wrong way. There is now a dent in my phone. It's not a major dent. The phone still works. But it's still not cool that because of a design flaw, I have to live with a damaged phone right from the get-go."

Read the full post on The Consumerist website...

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Verizon Motorola Droid in the House

If you where following my Twitter feed (@spf360) earlier today you already know that I'm now walking around with a Google Android 2.0 powered Motorola Droid. (To be fair, I also go to play with a Palm Pixi today too!)

How did I come to have a Droid you ask? Simple; I'm taking it out for a test drive as a possible replacement for the fleet of aging Palm Treo 700p and 755p smartphones. I really love my job!

So I have this phone for about a week. During that time I'll be playing with it see how it will stand up to everyday use by corporate office workers. Keep in mind that I'm going to be focusing on what an office worker will be doing with the Droid. So high on the list of things to test out is the browser, camera, native Gmail and attachment support, some of the location based services like GPS driving directions and traffic updates, geotagged photos, voice dialing, and maybe some thing non-work related like news apps, Facebook, and a few games.

The good news is that I've taken Thanksgiving week off which will give me plenty of time to play with this new "business tool."

If you have something that you want me to try out while I have the phone, leave me a note in the comments section and I will do my best to try things out and report back.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorola Droid Hits Verizon on November 6

High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets and the best 3G mobile network in the country: DROID by Motorola arrives on Nov. 6.

Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation’s largest wireless 3G broadband network, and Motorola, a pioneer in the mobile industry, today unveiled DROID by Motorola, the first smartphone powered by Android™ 2.0. DROID by Motorola features the brainpower and breakneck speed of a modern smartphone, designed to outperform where other smartphones fall short.
“We’re proud to work with Verizon Wireless and Google™ on the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0,” said Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer of Motorola and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobile Devices. “DROID by Motorola delivers a rich consumer experience with warp-speed Web browsing, a mammoth screen, and Motorola’s expertise in design and voice quality. Combined with Android’s open, flexible graphical user interface and the power of Verizon Wireless’ 3G network, DROID is a smartphone that simply doesn’t compromise.”

“This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the DROID by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “DROID by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country.”

Pricing and Availability

  • DROID by Motorola will be available in the United States exclusively at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online on Friday, Nov. 6, for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement after a $100 mail-in rebate.

  • To get the most from DROID by Motorola smartphone, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide voice plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide voice plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access for 450 minutes and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan is $29.99 for monthly access.
You can read the full press release on the Verizon Wireless website.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Impressions of the Motorola Cliq

I wanted to get a better understanding of just what the new Motorola Cliq was all about. We know that is an Android phone, but there is a growing number of Android phones out there. What would make the Cliq unique in the rapidly expanding smartphone universe? To find out, I started reading what the newspapers had to say.

In a Washington Post article about the Cliq, Motorola's co-CEO and head of mobile devices,Sanjay Jha, said:
"I see this as a first step in a long journey where we develop the kind of products which are really relevant for consumers." "I think for Motorola to retain its tech edge and reputation for engineering, it really has to hit a home run - not necessary with this particular phone, but with its phones in the coming year, including this one."

A noble goal to be sure, and one that provides Google Android fans with another major device manufacturer in the mobile phone market. But what does it really do; besides making phone calls that is? How will the Cliq be different from T-Mobile's other Android phone, the HTC Dream known as the G1? For the answer to that question, I turned to an article in the New York Times.
"[The Cliq] is meant for young people obsessed with social networks. Instead of the traditional menu of features, the Cliq’s home screen is an ever-changing mosaic of e-mail, Twitter tweets and status updates, superimposed over photos of the people sending those messages."

The key to all the magic of this phone is Motorola's Motoblur (video). Motoblur is essentially a technology that pulls data into your phone from multiple online sources such as your personal and corporate email account, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more. It is Motorola's answer to Palm's Synergy technology that first appeared earlier this year in the Palm Pre's webOS operating system.

So now it makes sense. The Cliq is Motorola's and T-Mobile's social networking smartphone for teens and 20-somethings. While T-Mobile hasn't announced the price of the Cliq with a new subscription yet, the feeling from around the web is that the Cliq will run about $100. There is also talk of a more expensive version of the Cliq that is headed to Verizon Wireless later this year that will include additional features. That phone is expected to be available "for the holiday season."

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Motorola CLIQ for T-Mobile Announced

Not wanting to be left out of the "new product announcement party", Motorola joins Apple and Palm this week with the unveiling of T-Mobile's next Google Android powered smartphone.

T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola CLIQ™ with MOTOBLUR™, the first Android-powered device from Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and the first device to feature the innovative MOTOBLUR solution. The CLIQ will be available exclusively in the U.S. from T-Mobile later this fall.

Developed by Motorola, MOTOBLUR is an innovative solution that manages and integrates communications – from work e-mail to social networking activity – on your CLIQ. Updates to contacts, posts, messages, photos and more are streamed together and synced from sources including Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace®, Gmail™, and work and personal e-mail. MOTOBLUR automatically delivers these updates to the home screen in easy-to-view streams so there is no need to open and close different mobile applications to keep up with the latest content. A 3G-capable smartphone featuring a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a full touch-screen display, the CLIQ is designed to keep the conversation moving, enabling fast messaging on the fly and easy navigation through MOTOBLUR’s streams and widgets.

Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer with T-Mobile USA, jointly unveiled CLIQ with MOTOBLUR today with Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices, at GigaOM’s Mobilize 09 conference. 

“T-Mobile’s highly social and always-connected customers have a natural affinity for mobile social networking, and we’re excited to feature the Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR prominently in what’s shaping up to be our most innovative holiday product lineup ever,” Brodman said. “The CLIQ lives up to Motorola’s tradition of great design and quality, and to our history of working together to create products that enhance the lives and the relationships of our customers.”

Availability

Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR will be available exclusively to T-Mobile customers later this fall in two colors — Titanium and Winter White. Pricing will be announced at a later date. Customers can visit http://www.t-mobile.com/cliq for more information.

You can read today's full press release on the Motorola website.

Labels: , , ,