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Subject:More Droid reviews
Time:01:28 am
I realized something tonight about why a physical keyboard is so valuable to me. It's not just that it's far easier to type on, although even the Droid's crappy keyboard is a million times better than the soft keyboard. The real reason is that a physical keyboard leaves 100% of the screen real estate available for useful data. I'm a pixel slut-- want to have as much data available to me as possible. Taking away half the screen so that I can have a soft keyboard really just sucks.

ssh looks really great on the Droid's screen-- I can have an 80-column display. This is a huge win for me.

The email app on the Droid sucks big hairy gorilla balls. The biggest problem I have with it is that there's no way to delete all messages-- you have to either delete them one at a time, or tap each one to star it and then delete the whole group. This sucks even more than it sounds like it does. What the fsck were they thinking?

Having dedicated-GPS-style voice navigation on my phone is hugely useful. It's clear that this is a 1.0 release, and the software could definitely stand some improvements, but having something that's 80% as good as my Garmin but is with me at all times is absolutely wonderful. My biggest issue with the driving directions is that it sometimes gives instructions too late or almost too late. I've seen this several times, but the biggest one is heading home for me. The route home involves taking the curve from 980 to 880 south, then just as you exit the curve taking the Jackson exit. Google maps inevitably tells me to take the Jackson exit about three seconds before it's too late. It seems like the instructions are so busy telling you to get onto 880 (which you can't avoid doing) that it isn't prepared to tell you about the next big thing that's coming up.

My Garmin will often say, "Turn left at FooBar Street, then turn left." Google nav will say, "Turn left at FooBar Street", then wait 'til you're pretty close to the next turn before warning you about it. On the other hand, it's cool that the screen shows you street view images. I don't see them much, since I'm paying attention to the road and just listening to the voice, but it's a cool idea.

The voice is mechanical. I don't find that annoying, but I can see how some people would.

I just realized... I wonder how well navigation works if you're outside of cell range. I don't know how much pre-caching it does of maps, routes, etc.

Battery life is pretty decent for a high-end smartphone. The screen sucks batteries pretty badly, but I expected that. I plug it in when I'm navigating in the car but otherwise only at night, and I usually have 60% battery life left each evening.
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ronsrants
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-11-18 02:55 pm (UTC)
I have the opposite problem with our Tom Tom GPS. That thing tells me to turn 2 miles ahead of the exit. And then again at 1 mi. .5 miles. .25 miles. Shaddup already!

It was really funny the first time we used it. Got completely lost because I turned at the first exit (2mi before the goal exit) since it said "Take next exit, Right".

-R
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jellymillion
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Time:2009-11-18 05:01 pm (UTC)
I noticed the same thing about the mail app. And android apps in general, to be honest. I'm curious to see if it changes and if so, how soon.

Causes for optimism:
* Google understand that they need to get developers onside, Apple probably don't;
* Android doesn't need you to learn Objective C, which to be frank, is weird;
* You don't have to go through a 6-8 week approval process (and possibly fail it) every time you change something.

Ditto re pessimism:
* Apple may already have critical mass;
* iPhone is a much easier form factor to develop for because there is effectively only one device.

That 6-8 week thing actually may be quite significant - I have several apps that have updated themselves already. Seems quite painless. Like Twidroid, which isn't anything too fantastic, but quickly acquired an update for lists when they appeared, something no iPhone app has yet, because they're still waiting for approval.

Long-term, we're going to see if a closed system can win in the mobile device market. If it does, I suppose I'll buy an iPhone.
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essaying
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Time:2009-11-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
Our LG NV phones have Navigator built in. (E's is named Majel, mine is named Dave.) It doesn't work at all when you're completely out of cell range, although it's much more tolerant of low signal than actual calling is.

It has the street view image feature that you're talking about, which is indeed helpful except that it requires that you take your eyes off the road. (It's hugely helpful if you have a passenger who's navigating for you, though.)

It can sometimes be slow about warnings, and I remember that particular Jackson offramp as being particularly problematic. The problem seems to arise most often when you have many short turns one right after the other.

IOW, sounds like essentially the same product. We've been very happy with it. We're thinking seriously about getting Droids when our renewal comes (soon), so your feedback is very helpful.
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bittercrackbaby
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-11-18 07:29 pm (UTC)
Out of amusement I had put in the nav to go to a place near Lombard and Fillmore from SOMA. It advised me to go on 101 South to start, then whined every 500 feet when I was driving north on Franklin to make a right and then a left on Van Ness even though that's a parking lot. Then when I hit Lombard it told me to turn right and make an immediate U-Turn.

I'm getting better at the software keyboard, I hated it at start and now I tolerate it. And yes, the e-mail app blows.
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andrewhime
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-11-18 07:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the screen on an iPhone is pretty "small" to start with, I don't understand why people are so overjoyed to clutter it up with more shit. I had never put the idea to words, but you are EXACTLY right. The screen/res on the Droid is higher than the Pre, but yes, you hit it on the nose... why waste it on a sub-par solution?
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[icon] More Droid reviews - Patti
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