I Like My Droid

I said Goodbye to my AT&T iPhone the day the Droid was released. It’s not because I don’t like the iPhone or think that the Droid is a better device, it’s simply because AT&T’s service is unacceptably poor and I refuse to be an AT&T customer any longer.

I’ve been toying with sharing my thoughts on the Droid for awhile and have even drafted an extensive post about it, but I realized that there’s been so much written about it already that it likely doesn’t add much to the conversation. Instead, I’m going to share my favorite Android apps–it is after all what makes the device useful.

Quickly though, here’s what I like and don’t like about the Droid:

1. Verizon’s network works. Works perfectly in NYC (only one dropped call), Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
2. Fast. Much faster than the iPhone 3G. Network and device are very speedy.
3. Android’s open platform means some very creative apps that tap into the OS’ core functionality in ways that iPhone won’t allow.
4. Lots of control and customizable features.

Don’t like:
1. Camera. It’s way over thought and as such, isn’t very good. Apple realized that people just want to pull out their camera, take a snapshot and be done with it. I don’t need all these crazy features like a proper camera. A multifunction device never works great. Also, the first Droid I got had this green ghost image on all the photos, I returned it the next day.

2. Portrait virtual keyboard is terrible compared to the iPhone. Text correction is not as good as the iPhone either.
3. I now carry my old iPhone as my iPod because I’m quite attached to the iTunes.
4. A bit of the wild west when it comes to the Android Market. A bit unclear as to whether an app has malicious intent because it all seems very uncontrolled. Android/Google should communicate how they control and ensure that consumers are safe.

That said, I like the Droid. Will I stay on it when iPhone moves to Verizon? Not sure.

Android Apps I recommend:

Native Apps: Gmail, Email, Contacts, Maps, Search, Messaging, Alarm, Navigation. All are great and work well. Amazingly well. I would prefer for an integrated Gmail & Exchange Inbox and Calendar (it’s probably possible but not by default) but it’s fine the way it is. Voice search is one of the coolest features out there and the integrated search, maps and navigation can’t be beat.

Twidroid for Twitter. I’ve tried all the major Twitter apps and this is the best so far. It handles your feed nicely and gives you all the options you want (RT, TwitPic, Bit.ly, etc.) in a very intuitive way. Twidroid lets you see Profiles (your own, followers and anyone) easily, which is surprisingly missing in some apps. A very intuitive UI for handling the stream, your DMs and @’s.

The Weather Channel. Best weather app out there on Android and iPhone. I love being able to track different cities when I travel and the map feature turns me into my own meteorologist. It’s indispensable in my opinion.

OpenTable. Very straightforward app and a very useful service.

Evernote. Another service that I’ve come to rely on. The app works well. It’s still a beta version and a bit behind the iPhone app but the basics are there. I’m guessing they’ll continue to add to it.

Sugarsync. This is the cloud storage and backup service that I use. It integrates your different devices really nicely. I can access files that I’ve backed up from my laptop on my Droid and vice versa. You can also automatically back up photos and videos from your Droid so that you can view them from your laptop.

FlightStats. This is another invaluable app when I travel. I can create trips and enter all my flights that I want to keep track of. Major efficiency bump.

Newspaper. Wow. An RSS reader that lists all major US, UK and Canadian newspapers. Probably the first app once I’m done with email and Twitter that I go to each day. I use it to check the news of the day starting with the New York Post of course.

Dolphin Browser. I’ve been playing with this for a few weeks because it has multitouch (not available on the native Droid browser). The multitouch works as advertised. Not as smooth as the iPhone multitouch. I use the native Droid browser as my default still.

Meebo IM. Works really well for mobile IM with Yahoo! and AIM.

NYC MTA map. It’s just the NYC subway and bus route but very useful. Combined with the transit layer on Google Maps it’s quite brilliant.

Huffington Post & NPR News. Both work well. NPR has streaming audio which is cool.

Foursquare. Not as intuitive as the Foursquare iPhone app but works fine.

Facebook. Amazed at how fast it is. Can’t see, send or receive messages–I think this is weird.

Battery Time. Shows you how much battery life you have left. The times don’t seem that accurate but it’s useful to see the percentage of charge you have left.

Sports Tap. Shows you scores from major leagues: NBA, MLB, EPL. Great!

FxCamera. Some cool effects. A fun photo app.

Photoshop Mobile. Really useful for cropping images, etc. I haven’t tried the mobile/cloud features yet.

Shazam. Just get it. You won’t regret it. Unless you hate music then stop reading and go away.