Not every one is a fan of the Motorola Droid

Mon, Nov 30, 2009


Not everyone is a fan of the Motorola Droid.  Stewart Alsop, for one, goes off on what he describes as a shoddy mobile OS coupled with moderately good hardware.  Alsop’s issues with Android’s responsiveness for example, or lack thereof, aren’t new, and while manufacturers continue to flock to Android, the software itself seems like it has a ways to go in terms of actual usability.  Check out Alsop’s negative take on the Droid after the break.

Stewart Alsop writes:

The hardware (which is Motorola’s) mostly works. The keyboard is horrible and I’ve never used it, which means that it is a real design flaw given how much weight and mechanical operation it adds to the device. (The software keyboard works well enough that I’ve found it adequate but the other problems with the software make it barely useable.) The camera button on my Droid doesn’t work and never has, so I call up the camera from the home screen. The on-off button is poorly placed for one-handed operation and requires real force to actuate. But this is just version 1.0 issues that Motorola will likely fix next time out.

The software (Google’s Android plus apps both from Google and from other developers) doesn’t work and is unacceptable on a mobile device. First, the operating system doesn’t work well enough to be considered a mobile OS. A mobile phone needs to have an OS that is really tied down and ready to perform at all times, like for receiving phone calls. This one isn’t. The process management in the OS stinks. Press on an app icon; maybe it will come up and maybe the phone will just not respond. Who’s to know why? Try pressing on the phone icon at 70 mph and have it not respond. Then try pressing again. And then get a message something like: “Activity Home (in process android.process.acore) is not responding.” Force Quit or Wait. Oops! I just drove into the guy in front of me when he slowed down and now I’m dead!

I’m not actually joking. The software is so bad that, for instance, when you open the phone app and click on search, there are multiple opportunities for the software to not respond or to respond incorrectly, which means that the phone is not useable unless you are starting intently at it and very, very patient about waiting for something to happen. If you want to search your contacts, you type the first letter and the phone will stop responding for 20-30 seconds. Don’t know why. If you keep typing ahead, you get no feedback about what you’re typing until the phone responds, and then you will likely have typed the wrong things so you have to start over again. It’s very, very unpleasant experience, particularly when you think that the search function must have been made by Google engineers, who have made billions of dollars with very fast, efficient, satisfying search on the web.

I have missed calls, lost calls, misdialed calls, pocket dialed people, and had many other experiences in the last month that have lead me to conclude that the Droid is not suited to its intended purpose as a smart phone



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