I’m about to upgrade my original Motorola Droid to a Droid3 (which will hopefully arrive tomorrow). I use both an iPhone4 and Motorola Droid and recently commented on an email list that that they complement each other.
I’ve ended up using two smartphones because of my work. My company does usability testing for iPhone, iPad and Android apps (as well as web sites and web apps). For my work, when I’m watching people use a mobile app and interviewing them and videorecording what they’re doing on the smartphone or tablet, it’s much easier to videorecord the screen of an Android device compared with the screen of an iDevice (probably because the screen of iDevices are so bright).
If I have to choose just one smartphone to put in my pocket, I usually choose based on where I’m going and what I’m doing:
- If I’m travelling and need lots of apps for mapping and finding things, as well as airline apps for checking in and finding a gate, I use the iPhone.
- If it’s my daily life of parenting and working and commuting on MUNI/Caltrain and communicating with people, I use the Droid.
- If I’m going to take a lot of photos or videos, I use the iPhone.
- If I’m going to do a lot of writing (even if just a lot of texting), I use the Droid.
- If I want to play Plants v Zombies, I can only play that on the iPhone (it won’t run on my Droid1 but I’m hoping it will on my new Droid3 tomorrow!)
The original Motorola Droid:
- It does better multitasking than the iPhone and I can keep more things running at the same time.
- It works well as a phone since Verizon has more coverage than AT&T in San Francisco (less of an issue now with iPhone and Verizon)
- The physical keyboard makes it much easier for me to type a lot (I miss the keyboard on the Treo – it was one of the easiest to use keyboards I’ve ever used on a smartphone. I could type on the Treo keyboard without looking at it)
- The response time seems, to me, much faster for everything compared with iPhone4
- It’s more transparent and I can always see what an app is accessing and find and kill any running processes
- One of the biggest learning curves I had, in 2009, when I first got the Droid, was figuring out how to make my battery last all day. The power widget became my best friend.
- The widgets are awesome. I love the power widget for easily toggling, right on the “desktop,” the settings for wi-fi and bluetooth and GPSand sync and brightness without going all the way into the settings
- The screen is not as pretty and bright as the iPhone – it’s duller on the Droid, but that means it’s easier to use clandestinely in the dark and easier to video record how someone is using it
- It’s not as easy to backup as the iPhone, but it’s easier to get data on and off the Droid since you just mount it as an external drive on any computer. That’s more flexible and manageable than the iPhone’s requirement to handshake with iTunes.
- It’s super difficult to sync contacts/calendar/mail unless you’re syncing with google so I just gave up on some of my distrust of google and sync it all there
- The animated wallpapers amuse me (and drain the battery)
- MUNI Alerts is by far my favorite and most used app (I ride public transportation a lot in San Francisco). It loads much more quickly than Routesy on the iPhone and time is of the essence when getting to a bus or streetcar.
- I love love love the Kindle app because I can read the same book between Droid, iPhone, iPad and keep track of bookmarks in the cloud
- I also like using the Evernote and Dropbox and WordPress and Google Docs and Netflix apps between Droid, iPhone, iPad
- It’s much easier to take a photo with the physical button on the side of the Droid (compared with trying to tap something on the screen on the iPhone) — particularly if you’re holding the phone with an outstretched arm
- The apps are easier to get. Many of the iPhone apps require a wi-fi connection to download and then sometimes want to sync with a computer.
- When I was waiting at city hall in the summer of 2010, waiting for a prop8 decision to come from fed court, waiting with friends who hoped to get married (then couldn’t), I looked for a piano app for iPhone or Droid so I could play the wedding march for them and other couples. I couldn’t get an app for iPhone — none of them could be downloaded over a 3g connection, they all wanted wi-fi. I did find an app for Android and successfully tapped out the wedding march.
- I can easily tether my Droid and have been able to for quite a while. It wasn’t and still isn’t as easy to tether an iPhone.
- It used to be that popular/major apps (or maybe just the ones that intrigue me) almost always came out for iPhone before they did for Android. Now, in 2011, some apps come out for Android first.
- I love the screen and the games. It’s a bright gorgeous screen.
- I dislike that I can’t dim the screen enough. The lowest brightness setting isn’t low enough at night in the dark.
- I like the front facing camera and I use it a lot, sometimes just to see if there’s any lunch left between my two front teeth.
- It’s much easier to sync/backup than Droid since it’s a closed system but I dislike that you have to sync everything in order to backup, particularly for iBooks books.
- I dislike that iBooks books can only be read on two of my devices.
- There’s more stuff for my kid to play with on the iPhone than on the Droid. There are probably 70 or 80 games on my iPhone for my kid compared with 7 or 8 on my Droid.
- I hate the touchscreen for typing but I’ve gotten better at it. Last winter I used Echo Design’s gloves and tested them on iPhone and Droid for typing in cold weather without taking off gloves. It was easier to use the iPhone with gloves than the Droid (can’t type on physical hardware keyboard with gloves)
- I manage all of my music via iTunes and it’s easier to get music onto the iPhone than onto the Droid
- I pay a lot to AT&T for service that is rarely available at my home or the other places I work/wander around San Francisco. I usually just keep it in airport mode with wi-fi on. Oddly enough I noticed that the San Francisco Chronicle building has a strong AT&T signal and practically no Verizon signal.
- I have a general impression that some apps on iPhone are more elegant than any apps on Droid. I find Droid apps tend to be more buggy than iPhone apps, in general.
- I use an app called Sit or Squat a lot to find a bathroom when I’m out and about. I don’t know of a similar app for Android.
- Foursquare, when I use it, seems to find places nearby more quickly on the iPhone than on my Droid. That might just be a problem with the GPS service turning off/on/off/on on my Droid.
- Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” apps are my new favorites and they don’t exist for Android.