Android Review - Smartphone Round Robin

Android Review - Smartphone Round Robin
By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Dec 2009 11:41 pm EST
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DROIIIIIIIID. Week 1 of the 2009 Smartphone Round Robin had me going hands-on with the Verizon Motorola Droid and the Sprint HTC Hero. Now that my time with these out of this world devices has come to an end and I've procrastinated all that I could, it's time to reflect on my Android experience from the perspective of the BlackBerry user that I am. Because we're looking at more than one device here and I want to throw out some thoughts on Android as a whole, I'm not going to dive into the little details on each device like I would in my normal BlackBerry device reviews. For that kind of stuff -- features and specs and anal observations -- click the two device links above and you'll jump over to AndroidCentral.com for their excellent in-depth reviews. That said, I know there are a huge number of you who want to know my thoughts on the Droid, so I'll be sure to give you what you want!

But First... I Want to Say Thank You

In following our own Android forum and seeing threads like this pop up at Android Central (which bring a tear to my eye), I know there is a contingent of ex-Verizon BlackBerry owners / CrackBerry members out there who are currently giving the Droid a go. Some of you crazy crackies won't give up your BlackBerry quite so easily (is a life without BlackBerry Messenger really a life worth living??) but are compelled to give change a chance so have even gone to the extent of paying for two plans and are concurrently running a BlackBerry and a Droid.

So before I move on, I just wanted to give a big Thank You to anybody who has moved away from BlackBerry for the time being (I'm sure RIM will win you back one day soon!) but has been a reader, member, customer and supporter of CrackBerry while they were a BlackBerry user. It means a lot to me personally to step back and look at this site and see the amazing community that you have all helped to create. And remember, just because you may be sporting a device other than a BlackBerry doesn't mean you can't stop by for a visit from time to time. I might think you're crazy for leaving BlackBerry, but I know you'll still refer all your BlackBerry-using friends, colleagues and family members to CrackBerry.com, so it's allll good. We can still be friends ☺

I also want to thank everybody at Android Central who helped me on my Round Robin forum thread over the past week, answering my questions and sharing their Android insight with me. Greatly appreciated!

A Look Back at My FIRST Look at Android.

This isn't the first time I have experienced Android. In the 2008 Round Robin I went hands-on with the T-Mobile G1. The G1 hardware was a little underwhelming and awkward and the Android software was at version 1.0, but overall there were a lot of things I liked about Android. I figured just for fun I'd maybe share that first look again with anyone who cares to watch:

  

Verizon Motorola Droid Impressions

Droid
BlackBerry Storm2 vs. Motorola Droid 

The Motorola Droid makes me mad, but not for the reasons that you might think. It makes me mad because it's soooo close to being a really great smartphone, but then it falls short on little details that I think Motorola could have addressed from the start had they given it just a little more thought. Though I have to say, this device puts Motorola back in the manufacturers' game, at a time when I think most people have long since written them off.

Droid Turn Ons:

  • Build Quality. It's a really solid device. Deceivingly heavy for the size due to a lot of metal construction, but I like that. Weight = Quality.
  • Awesome display. The 480 by 854 resolution is impressive, the image quality is good and the touchscreen is very responsive. Oh, and the screen doesn't click, which many will love and some will miss (as much as the BlackBerry Storm2's hardware is improved over the original Storm, I'm still not sold that I personally need SurePress. I prefer the effortlessness of a standard capacitive touchscreen).
  • It's fast. The Droid's processor seems to do a really good job of keeping the Android 2.0 operating software moving along. Keeping the experience snappy definitely helps to provide an overall positive impression of the device.

Those are the big hitting points on the hardware side for the Droid itself. Short and sweet, but very positive for the Droid. We'll talk actual Android operating system software in a bit.

Droid
BlackBerry Storm2 vs. Motorola Droid

Droid
Software keyboard on Storm2 vs. Slide Out Keyboard on Droid

Droid Sticky Points:

  • Keyboard. Come on...you must have already known I was going to say that. If you're used to the Storm/Storm2, you might actually like the Droid's physical keyboard. But if you're used to a traditional BlackBerry like the Tour or Bold or Curve then the Droid's keyboard just doesn't compare. It slight off-centering is awkward (though you do get used to it) and the keys are just a little too flat. I'm not a fan of wide landscape keyboards - they're inefficient. You need to move your fingers further as compared to a tighter portrait qwerty to accomplish the same keystrokes. I have a feeling that if I used the Droid for a longer period of time I might eventually use the software keyboard over the physical keyboard altogether (as was suggested by some of the Droid users who provided me with feedback). And if that's the case, why not scrap the physical keyboard altogether?
  • The navigation pad. This is the gold thing on the right hand side of the keyboard that looks like it should be something cool like a fingerprint reader or retinal scanner, but instead is just your standard old navigation pad which I found in my time with the Droid didn't get used that often. I guess I used it a little bit for scrolling down, but for the most part went back to the touchscreen.
  • Camera. As of now, the Droid's camera is proof that more megapixels doesn't always mean a better camera. The pictures don't compare at all to the 3.2 megapixel camera on my Bold 9700. Doing some reading around on it, it sounds like this could be a software thing that hopefully will improve with time.
  • CDMA only. I won't harp on this too much, but it's too bad the Droid couldn't hit the market as a world phone, like BlackBerry did with the Tour and Storms (and 8830 before that). Kind of makes it difficult (errm.. impossible) to use the device overseas.
  • Bluetooth issues? I didn't experiment with this too much, but from the feedback I received from Droid users this seems to be an area with where the Droid/Android have work to be done, in terms of difficulty with pairing and staying connected with different Bluetooth services (like MS Sync).
  • Look and Feel. I know this a matter of personal preference and opinion, but I personally think the Droid is fugly. Well, maybe it's not that it's actually that ugly per say, but more so that it's non-iconic and easily forgettable. Even my mom can pick out a BlackBerry or iPhone these days - once the Droid gets replaced becomes obselete by a newer device, the Droid's look is gone. Like the T-Mobile G1, it's just underwhelming (at least the Droid's chin is less disturbing than the G1's was). But with the Droid I'm more disappointed than I normally would be in regards to a smartphone's looks, because with the Droid you see all these awesome Verizon commercials hyping it up, and then when you see the actual phone you're thinking really, that's all you've got to show me? It looks more industrial or military to me than the out of this world coolness the name and marketing suggest. It's definitely targeted at all the male tech/gadget lovers out there, though I'm sure at least two out of every hundred or so females would like the look and feel of the device as well. One thing is for sure though. Between the Droid name (licensed from LucasArts, aka Star Wars), the Droiiiiid soundbyte and the evil Droid red eye (that brings up visions of the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings), there is no doubt that if the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin were being produced in 2009 instead of 2005 that the Droid is the phone Steve Carell would be using.

Joking aside, the Droid really does pack performance where it counts, which means that most people who pick up the Droid for the first time will walk away with a positive experience. That says a lot right there.

HTC Hero Impressions

HTC Hero

Available from Sprint, the HTC Hero is full touchscreen device (no physical keyboard) currently running on the Android 1.5 platform with HTC's own Sense user interface layered on top. Whatever the difference is between 2.0 and 1.5 is, it was pretty much lost on me because on this device you're really living in HTC's take on the smartphone operating system experience, which is pretty cool. As you'll see when we get to Windows Mobile week in the Round Robin, HTC also runs their Sense UI there. The Sense UI is very, very widget based and is kind of pretty and fun to use (skip to 4m30s in my first impressions video to see it in action). I REALLY love the innovation they have worked in called Scenes. This is something I've been wishing BlackBerry would do for a long time. Essentially, you have the option to choose modes of use for the phone - work, social, play, HTC default - which then reorganizes your homescreen experience to be optimized for each of those user cases. I LOVE THAT. I think one of the reasons the BlackBerry OS gets beat up a little bit these days is because they're only shipping the device with one theme that is fairly business-oriented. Including more themes that are more focused on the needs of individual user groups would really freshen things up and help with perception (building choose your theme into the Setup Wizard would make sure it gets noticed). I focused my time more on the Droid than the HTC Hero, so can't really dive into the Turn Ons and Sticky Points as much, though I can say it has one BIG a$$ trackball. Whether that's a turn on or turn off, I'll leave up to you!

BlackBerry Users on Android

If you want some really great feedback from BlackBerry users who have gone Android and what they are experiencing, check out the forum thread I made over at AndroidCentral.com. There are literally hours of feedback. For the most part, it seems that in general those who have made the switch from the BlackBerry Storm to the Droid have been pretty happy. And even as a BlackBerry fanatic, I can understand why. One of the biggest issues I have against RIM's BlackBerry Storm and even the Storm2 is that the initial user experience is not all that welcoming or positive. The first time you grab the Storm, you're a little distracted by trying to figure out how SurePress works, and then you're figuring out what's under a menu option vs. an on screen option and there's nothing that entertaining going on the screen to keep you thinking "wow that's cool" while you're trying to figure out what to do - it's fairly rigid and static. Once you get over the hump and start actually using your BlackBerry, well that's when the crack sets in and most people grow to love it, but that initial phase is never all that oh my god this thing is so cool I love it! RIM's touchscreen experience on BlackBerry to date is still in the form of their non-touchscreen operating system getting converted to accept touchscreen input - it hasn't been designed from the ground up with the thought of "touchscreen" in mind. It still works, and works pretty well now on a device like the Storm2, but there are also areas that can be improved.

As mentioned above, Android seems to do a pretty good job of making a positive first impression. It's strange. Speaking on the "Google Experience" Android 2.0 operating system of the Droid, I find there's almost something BlackBerry-like about it (I can't quite figure it out to put words to the thought - maybe some of you out there who have used both know what I'm talking about). There's still structure to it, there's still menu options and a back button, but it's more customizable and fluid than the current BlackBerry OS, which makes it come across as being a little more updated and modern. If you think about the Apple OS, Palm Web OS, and Android, it feels like of those three Android would be the one that RIM could most easily evolve the BBOS into, or just for the hell of it, throw onto BlackBerry hardware to see what would happen.

My guess would be that most current Verizon BlackBerry Storm owners are Storm owners vs. Tour or Curve 8330 owners because they value the things that a big touchscreen phone brings to a smartphone - more screen real estate that makes room for a better media experience, web browsing experience and app experience. And if those are your priorities, then the Droid is honestly a compelling device to check out. Looking at the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs, whereas RIM is literally building their pyramid from the ground level right to the top one step at a time, the Droid reaches pretty high up the pyramid though it leaves some gaps here and there that may tick off some (like me) but not bother others.

The Android native web browser is faster and renders better than the native BlackBerry browser and is WebKit-based. No surprise there. Come on RIM... us BlackBerry users need you working night and day to get this new WebKit BB browser released!

Android Marketplace is up to 10,000 apps now - some of which are pretty cool and some of which are pretty crappy. I really don't think it's the quantity of apps that matters, but rather that you can find the five, ten, 15, 25 apps that you personally find value in. Coming out of the BlackBerry Developer Conference this year and all of the recent announcements, I have pretty high hopes for BlackBerry to deliver what they're calling "transformative experiences" on BlackBerry in the near future (I think of them as super apps that fundamentally change the way you do things). So that said, I'm not sure apps would be a reason for me run to Android anytime soon. Android definitely has some solid momentum behind it, coming from Google's push that has helped lay the foundation for a growing Android developer community, but I think RIM will hold their own in the app arena as well. And with RIM's announcement and upcoming rollout of the Advertising APIs, you should start to see the price of BlackBerry apps go from being on the expensive side to being cheap or free as it'll be dead simple for developers to monetize their apps via ads. As for running apps, both BlackBerry and Android can run multiple apps (multi-task) and both face that dreaded issue of not having as much app memory as their users would like. The Droid does a good job of running apps. RIM really screwed up when they only put 128MB of flash memory into the Storm 9530/9500. If they could have doubled the memory to 256MB as it is now in devices like the Storm2 and Tour and Bold 9700, Storm1 owners wouldn't have had such a rough time with device lag caused by low memory and the need for daily battery pulls. It's not the greatest experience to deliver to customers if you want to build loyalty for your products.

Media is one of those areas where there is still a lot of room for development on Android (you drag and drop your music and movies onto the device via USB), but at least it does play some beautiful HD youtube videos to make up for where it lacks on the traditional media front.

And if you're a Google person, obviously Android caters well to your needs, offering tight integration. So long as you don't mind Google knowing all your stuff, then that's a good thing. Though I've pretty much been a Google guy since about 48 hours after their web browser went live and I find the BlackBerry / Google services to be pretty solid for the most part. Props go to Google for always taking care of us BlackBerry users too, even though now they are pushing their own thing.

If you're a BlackBerry user that place communication and productivity as a priority, then a device like the Droid loses some of its luster. Gmail on Android does look really pretty, but pretty much every ex-BlackBerry gone Droid owner I have encountered to date concedes BlackBerry crushes it on email (speed of delivery, managing multiple accounts, managing multiple messages, etc.). I think for most BlackBerry users on Verizon who have gone Droid or are contemplating giving Droid ago, living without BlackBerry Messenger and RIM's pushiest of push email services are the two most difficult things to cope with.

After that, comparing platforms and devices becomes more of a preference thing. Are you using your phone for business or pleasure? Maybe both? Do you want your mobile phone to work as an extension of your computer, or is it your laptop replacement? Do you sit down and kill time on your phone? Or do you reach for it 200x per day for a minute at a time? One of the things we realized early on this year during our Round Robin editor meet-up was that pretty much every editor, if need be, could use any of the smartphones in this year's Round Robin as their primary device and make it work for them. There may be some things they would gain or lose between switching platforms that would take some adjustment and workarounds, but in general smartphones have gotten to a point where they're all pretty good, with each one tending to specialize a little bit more in certain areas. And if you want the no compromise solution, the one that would completely fill up the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs from top to bottom with no gaps, we're still living in a time where you're going to have to carry two devices around do it all in best of class fashion (a BlackBerry in one pocket and a iPhone or iPod touch in your other pocket??).

Some Closing Thoughts

My Android review in 2008 was pretty positive, so it makes sense that in 2009 my Android review remain positive as well. After all, there are now more Android devices, they are better devices, and the software platform is more advanced. Looking at my Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs, a year of Android development and a device like the Droid has made some significant leaps in filling in gaps and cracks Android and the G1 left last year. The biggest issues for me with a particular Android device like the Droid is not so much the Android software, but that it still lacks the magic in the more basic area of daily usability and productivity, which are a combination of the hardware and software working together to provide an overall experience. Things like speed of use, ergonomics, aesthetics and even brand image (I actually had another 1500 words written just on this subject but am going to save it for some of our future Round Robin articles in the coming weeks) which are areas I really put a lot of value on, are things that lack on the Droid compared to a traditional BlackBerry experience from my point of view.

One thing I've realized in recent months is that you can sort of divide BlackBerry owners into two categories: BlackBerry users and people who use BlackBerrys. If you fall into the category of BlackBerry user, I think you immediately know what I mean - there's no living without a BlackBerry. The way Research in Motion has filled out those first few levels of the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs (they've done that better than anyone - especially when you think of the traditional BlackBerry with physical keyboard; arguable point on the Storm) is simply pivotal to the way you communicate and manage your life - just the thought of not having a red light call out to you drives you mad. So while you may long for an improved browser and some of these "transformational experiences" from your device (I know I'm longing for them!), you're willing to wait it out while RIM gets their stuff together to climb even higher up the pyramid and fill it in more fully because you just wouldn't be able to cope without it (and if you're impatient, grab an iPod touch to fill in the in the void while you wait for your BB to get there).

As for Android, I'm really curious to see what 2010 will bring. What will Google releasing their own phone do for the platform? It'll be be interesting to see what the top Android phone looks like when the Smartphone Round Robin 2010 flies into town.

Reader comments

Android Review - Smartphone Round Robin

105 Comments

Overall I thought the review was very good and very fair. Though I do like the look of the Droid....a lot in fact. Most designs only become iconic when the manufacture stays with the same design for quite some time, but Motorola needed a reset....badly...hence a new design.

In time it might become, if not iconic, at least memorable....only time will tell.

Classic post!, love it. LOL

Not posted from my Bold 9700, however it is sitting right beside me :)

I've been a BlackBerry and Windows Mobile user, alternating between devices, for at least the last 6 years. I had played around with a G1 when it 1st came out. And altthough I thought it was interesting it didn't pull me away from the i-Mate JasJar that I was carying. When I left that phone I moved on to the iPhone 3G, and then to the BlackBerry Storm. This past Nov I picked a Motorola Droid and it was love. The MotoDroid easily pimp slaps every other phone on the market today including the mighty iPhone. I truly can't see myself leaving the Android platform at this point.

I know that the droid is only a little bigger than the storm but I love my BB... not sure I am ready to move on yet. Thanks for the info though, judging by your tweets you worked extremely hard on it.

Thanks Kevin, this was really good. It made me evaluate if I wanted to be "the guy who uses a Blackberry" or a "Blackberry guy". I want to be the latter. I'm guessing that I'm using my S1 until I can upgrade to the S2 or whatever else RIM does.

And yeah, I do like the red light....so much so that I'm thinking of adding my junk e-mail accounts to my BB just so I can always know if the BIS is up or not...

Thanks for a well thought out and lucid article.

// just the thought of not having a red light call out to you drives you mad. //

Of course, the Droid has this and overall a much better notification system than the native BB system.

Nice review, yet somehow the tone to me seemed to be a wishful defense of RIM. Yes, RIM pushes email but otherwise ... that's it. We all know the browser is horrible. Management of email folders is pitiful. Games are weak. Customization is ok but still bland.

If had a Storm 1 since release date. The only reason I still have it is that the Droid doesn't support Cisco IPSec. As soon as it does, bye bye RIM. Email is great but that's an increasingly small part of the mobile experience.

The BB is better ergonomically. For instance, just to pause a media stream on the Droid, you must:

1) remove it from case
2) turn it on
3) swipe to unlock
4) press pause
5) turn it off
6) replace it in case

Imagine doing this while working out and sweaty.

With BB, you just press the pause button.

Was really excited about the Droid even though 5.0 on the Storm improved it greatly... Once I got over the wow factor of the gorgeous screen and browser, I became increasingly frustrated. There's nothing like a BB for just picking up a phone and taking care of business. I felt like the Droid literally held me back from communicating. I was finding myself leaving it in my pocket instead of tapping out a quick text or email when the thought popped into my head because it would take too long.

I kept telling myself I would get used to it but I missed being able to tap out messages lightning quick and engage in rapid fire convos. Towards the end, I started to become resentful! It was just such a frustrating messaging device. Browser was great, but that's not the main focus of a phone according to my needs, the Droid's awkward physical keyboard and virtual keyboard lacking multitouch made it too hard to use.

Traded it in for a Tour even though I knew I was preventing myself from getting the Tour2 on upgrade when it comes out. I'm in love, the keyboard is beyond amazing and I'm back to the quickfire typing and messaging... and BBM of course...

Haha yeah, I knew I was a BB guy when I found myself on CrackBerry everyday while I had the Droid... never even been on AndroidCentral lol... Thanks for the reply!

Blackberry USER all the way...couldn't live without it myself. Sure, RIM has got some work to do with the OS, web browser and few other things but honestly, if you use a BB for business and pleasure then you can live with these imperfections for now until they get their stuff straight and continue to carry your BB...as for me, it the Tour :-) It would be nice to have a big fancy screen and be able to search everything that is in the world to on your phone that has the word "Smith" in it with the google base but honestly, I can do web searches with Google on my BB, I can listen and watch media very solidly, I have bout 7 apps that get me through daily work and fun and that's all I need. It's proven over years, it still excels in email services for business, it has a better camera with less megapixels, it has multiple search engines built in, you're not forced to have Gmail...it's Blackberrrrryyyy!

Curious what was so difficult about sending an email? How many days did you use a Droid? I was only able to keep mine three days but sending an email or text was quick and simple. What problem did you have?

Made it about 3 weeks with the Droid. What held me back was mostly the keyboard experience, the physical keyboard is too flat and slick, and makes you hold the phone in an awkward position. The virtual keyboard doesn't hold a candle to the iPhone, i'm guessing due to no multitouch, it just can't keep up. I also felt the OS was too laggy. Just took too long to grab it, hit the top button to wake it up, slide it to unlock, and wait for the messaging app to load up, not that long obviously but just an overall slow experience.

Gmail was frustrating too. Text was small, no copy/paste in gmail as far as I could tell, and attachments were impossible to deal with. Downloaded BeamReader to help with PDF's but overall not a good experience.

I guess another thing that held me back was having to use SMS to carry on conversations as opposed to BBM, slows you down too much...

thanks for the review kevin! i totally agree that droid might have a better look and feel. but hey, regardless of hardware/os issues on storm 2, i'm going to get mine next week! once u go black(berry) u will never go back...cheers!

Really good review. Not as specific as some of the others, but being a current Droid owner I don't really need the specifics.
I found the article spoke to former CrackBerry users (like myself, Storm1) and current die hard addicts.
The article really does illustrate the fact that BlackBerries in essence are communication tools that have the foundation of the hierarchy down to a science. It's the other elements, ie media, nav, apps... that RIM still needs work on. As a communication tool, the traditional BlackBerry is king, but as an App-Phone (to quote David Pogue) it still lags behind some competitors, ie iPhone.
The Android OS (and most of the "Google experience" handsets) try to focus more on a feature-rich smartphone. Unfortunately, in the process they sacrifice some of the more basic, foundation areas of the hierarchy.

On a more personal note, I switched from BlackBerry for two reasons: 1. I need Verizon because it fulfills the most basic of hierarchy needs (see network) and Verizon doesn't offer no compromises BB experience (Bold 9700) and 2. because RIM's BB OS is too spartan. Others might argue that it's no-nonsense approach to communication is it's strongpoint, but, if I'm going to be using my phone all day, I need to be able to enjoy the experience aesthetically as well as enjoy its functionality.

Most definitely waiting for the Essex on Sprint. No more droid lusting for me. I'll stick it out with my curve 8330 fpr the time being. Good job Crackberry.

Nice review but I'm still gonna stick with my bold 9700. Any chance or info on 5.0 leak for the bold 9700? Or do u know of any tmobile official release?

I almost switched to VZ just for the Android but have too many ATT contacts to make the switch :(

Decent review but I feel that it would have been great if you'd sort of indicated a score/checkmark on each of the categories on the pyramid and where the phones/platforms stand on that pyramid. Would have been easier to decipher what the strengths/weaknesses of the platform were. I thought the pyramid post was outstanding!!

FAIR and honest.

Although I defected , which I never ever thought I would do... especially after infecting/converting/addicting spook many peeps... I mean I feel like Lucius here.. but I digress. Ironically enough my job responsibilities changed as did my Smartphone hierarchical needs. I no longer needed to be accessible via mail 24/7 ...and thus chose the faster but dumber, illegitamate love child of a bb and iToy.... and making the best of the gadget of the year....not the smartphone of the year or the mobile media/gaming touch3Gs of the year ...but the gadget of the year...the DROID.

I thought the Droid was sluggish, can't deal with a phone that slow. My Storm performs better with OS 5.0. I don't know what all the hoopla is about Android to be honest. You cannot change the themes and you are basically stuck with what the phone offers.

The droid feels sluggish next to the storm1? Really? You must have a different storm OS than the one I've used.

And the ultimate irony of your statement is that the droid leaves you "stuck with what the phone offers". There are no less than 3 different home page setups, all offering themes. And...get this...you can move applications around without having to make your own themes in plazmic! OMG, I know...it's amazing.

Don't get me wrong, I love my blackberries, but to say that the droid is slow and non-customizable speaks to the fact that you haven't actually used the phone, and want to knock it down.

I have to agree. The Droid is in no way sluggish. I have had it since Nov. 6 and have yet to have to reboot it. I have at least 45 apps on this thing and it hasn't slowed down one bit.

And the bit about the themes...COMPLETELY WRONG! There are several home screen alternative apps that offer themes, not to mention the fact that within these home alt apps you can download font and icon packs and essentially build your own themes on the fly.

Let's get our information straight before we start bashing. Understandable because I was a crackberry addict as well for years...unless you own an Android device, you have no idea of it's capabilities

android is doing great, but as of now I'm not going to change allegiance and stay with my BB.

While the BB experience still holds a few benefits over Android, now there are several Android benefits. While I enjoy BBM over other forms of IM, I'd trade it for a better web browsing experience. The rest of the enterprise related BB advantages grow less important to me everyday.

The new flock of Android devices will capture a good chunk of BB users (as the Droid has proved) who want more out of their mobile device. If HTC builds the HD2 with a Touch2 keyboard, and Android 2.1 (with Sense UI) for VZW, bye bye BlackBerry. If the Passion/Dragon/Bravo/Incredible (whatever it's called) rumors are true, my Storm1 will get parked for a full testing.

The BlackBerry OS is no match for Android. RIM better watch out and get a much improved OS out the door lickity split. The 5.0 OS isn't much improved over 4.x and the native Web Browser is only 12+ months behind anything else on other wireless platforms.

....and that's ok. BlackBerry's are just a way of life. My quick cell phone evolutionary chain:

-Motorola E815. First cell phone. Great device for what it was. It made calls.

-Samsung Alias 1. First qwerty phone. I loved that phone. Got my thumbs working and became a text addict.

BB Storm 1. Liked the idea but it was just too quirky. Not enough operating memory as well.

HTC Imagio. Awesome phone. Wow. But once I was already in the BlackBerry world, it was hard to live without it. It had to go back.

BB Tour. Love love LOVE this phone. I got used to the WiFi (Imagio) and the larger screen (Storm/Imagio) sooo......

BB Storm 2. Current phone and loving it so far. It's not as rapid fire as traditional BlackBerrys, but I find that its the happy medium. Still a ton faster than other brands, but still has the larger screen.

I still have the Tour and paid full price for the S2. Now that's BB pride. haha. I don't know though, I have a couple days to figure out if I want to stay with the S2 or take it back and wait for the Tour 2. AHHHH! So tough. I miss that keyboard! And it would have optical trackpad and WiFi. *sigh*

Sorry, went on a Kevin rant there for a second. haha But once that CrackBerry bug bites you, you can't ignore it.

i dont want to start a war with what im about to say , but i dont think you get it... it seems to me you just became a crackberry addict . the storm 1 just came out last year nov 2008. i do give you credit for owning three of them in a year, but im sure, many here would agree that your a rookie in the blackberry world.

i cant blame you for your feelings right now , i was the same way for about 6 years .

i dont like the iphone , so the droid just gives me some of the things that i love about bb and some of what i like in the iphone . so now i have the best of both worlds

Very helpful! It's almost time for my upgrade and I'm considering my options - was even in Verizon today to play with a droid for the first time. Based on this I'm going to stick with BB...and try to hold out for the Tour2. The email is crucial for me and with droid it sounds like a hassle.

I'm running Gmail and exchange email, and the droid picks up the exchange mail just as quickly as the tour and storm used to. And, as an added plus, when the BIS goes down, I still get my mail.

I don't understand this whole "droid doesn't do email well" thing. Mine is no different than it was on my BB. Not better, not worse, just the same, which is good.

No blackberry messenger and if you don't have g-mail then emailing is a pain. Blackberry storm 2 for me.

I agree, the Droid is amazing in its light. But NOTHING can touch the friendliness of a Blackberry. Both are abit overwhelming at first for their powers. But much like a BEST friend, my Tour might not be the fastest or smartest, but thats not why I like it as my best friend in the long run anyway. Sometimes? You just feel more comfortable with what works FOR you :)

My smartphone experience is as follows. Kyocera 7135, Samsung i760, HTC 6900, (sprinkle in a dumbphone in here & there) and the phone that created a monster BB 8330. I never knew what I was missing until I started using the 8330. I just loved how simple the learning curve of RIM's OS was. I absolutley HATED WINMO!!! That being said, I've had a number of BB's since. Storm, Pearl flip, Tour, and currently using the Storm2 & Droid. Gadget freak, I'm aware. Now, being the crackberry fanatic I was, I was skeptical about the Droid & their OS. Google has done an incredible job with Android. I actually found it easier to use & much more visually appealing. To be completely honest, I use my Droid 6 out of the 7 days of the week. My Storm2 has become an expensive paperweight. Sure I miss BBM & superior push email, but give a heavy BB user a full week with an Android device, it would win them over. I guess the only reason I haven't made the full jump, I'm having trouble selling the Storm2. Any takers? Anyway, excellent article Kevin, great job.

Anyone who says the Droid is not all that and how they love their BB, you are an old dog who cant learn a new trick-lol (laugh, its just an opinion). Give me a break. BB has nothing over droid EXCEPT email. If that is all you use your device for, then yes, the BB is the better choice. Other than that, the current bb's cant touch a moto droid. I really do hope this causes RIM to truely come out with a new BB, other than adding a track pad and a few things here and there. Think about it, they put out like how many new devices over the past 2 years and how big were the differences? And this whole, I cant live without my BB msg, yeah its cool, but only if everyones on a BB and guess what, their not!!! I can text a contact on my droid just as fast as you can BBM another BBM contact. All BBM is, another IM, so what so special??? I know I sound like a hater, Im not, Still have my trusty tried and true 8830 sitting in my desk. Had the storms, and actually liked them and had the tour. All are great devices, but to say they are equal to the Droid??? Not hardly. I will agree, getting use to this particular OS is not as friendly, but its getting their, and as a productivity tool, which is what my devices are 75% of the time, it adjusting well. Oh yeah, and to the poster who said you cant customize??? WOW, I have 6 home screens to my liking, I have several different themes on my Droid, yeah thats right, get a clue.

Kevin,

I have to say I live and die by the these types of reviews.
Thank you (not that I have too :) ) for taking the time to give more insight to people that are trying to make up their minds and also to stop (at least for a while) the useless bantering of (my dad can beat up your dad) in the world of Blackberry vs everything else.

I am truly and have been for years a blackberry crack head. That said, I don't just discount everything else and I love the fact that you don't either.

Props on your review and I'm foaming at the mouth for yet more information. By the way...I'm loving my 9700! Hah.

Cheers

Zipper.

detroit313 I definitely will take you up on your offer. I went to the Verizon store today to try out the Storm 2 and I LOVED the touchscreen. I get it. As a matter of fact, it seems natural to "press" the screen to enter the application. I had no problems with it AT ALL. I spent a good 40 minutes on the Storm 2; playing with features, typing, etc. The only keyboard that gave me any trouble was the full keyboard in portrait mode. The "keys" were just too small. I was surprised at the suretype keyboard. I had never used it before but I could see myself using it, one handed (thumbed) for quick messages; very intuitive.

Right next to the Storm 2 was the phone everyone is talking about- the Droid. Now, I've played with the iPhone for awhile as well but this touchscreen keyboard (for me) just wasn't a good experience. I'm a heavy texter and have agile fingers (as a musician would) so my mileage is probably better than most (you can go ahead an attribute that to my positive position on the Storm 2 keyboard too). My biggest gripe on the Droid however is the touchscreen experience. For all the same reasons that I like the Storm 2's screen, I dislike the Droid's. It just makes sense to me to press on the screen. I tried to move around on the homepage and kept opening up applications by accident. I assume it takes getting used to (perhaps moving the finger in between icons) but this was NOT intuitive to me.

Of course there are pros and cons for every device. I certainly have experienced them from most devices but for me, the Storm 2 has what I want and need everyday.

Also, keep in mind these devices will always improve... ALWAYS. That is the nature of the business - give you just enough to keep you going and next year hit you with what's missing plus a little extra. Yes, even the iPhone CLEARLY does that. It's how they stay in business folks.

So come one come all to the mobile device wars. Get your ticket to the greatest show on your hip... or your pocket or wherever the bloody hell you put your mobile device. Next up 4G wars and Flash browsers (with the Android 2.0 phones firing first)

Looking forward to 2010's flock of reviews on new Blackberry and GSM Android phones.

Your current Round Robin reviews were pretty good. I really like the Droid review... while the Droid is a pretty nice device, not nice enough to get me to jump to another carrier.

I like Voice Activated Dialing, and have gotten pretty used to it over the last 5 years (from two dumb phones to my current 8320 from 2008), and for now, any phone that can't do that, would be a deal breaker. But Android is young still, so it may be something we see on a "Droid" variant for GSM.

was thinking of going droid but i've now decided that i want an iphone because i'm still in school i don't really need a blackberry and after using an ipod touch for ages i love the way its soooo smooth in the browser and everything

I dont know what the hell is wrong with me ,I moved on to the Droid , but cant leave this site alone . I think this was more of my addiction then the blackberry after all. Kevin im glad that you mentioned that were still welcome to stop by, i visit here more then i go to android central.

as far as the phone goes , blackberry would have to do some major changing for me to leave this droid. when i got the storm 2 i had all kinds of negative things to say about the droid . i take it all back . all the problems that i had with the storm 1 amd 2 ,and all the other blackberries that i owned. this phone blows blackberry out of the water . no battery pulls , no waiting 4 days for a webpage to load , youtube working everytime , all the time, no memory leaks , a app store thats worth my time.... the list goes on .

but im still here with you guys thou, thanks for the review kevin , and keep up the table tapping..lol , you know what i mean

After a long battle with my BB Tour >> I jumped on the Droid ( only cause of the super deal I was giving $250 no contract).. So far am loving it , the keyboard does have a learning curve but what doesn't nowadays .. I do miss my Tour in a way ( which my wife will be enjoying starting tomorrow) I do have a offer to trade for a storm 2 so will see how it goes in the upcoming days... Thanks CB

This review sums up my feelings on how I feel about the love for my BB and the hope for BB to finally reach the top of the pyramid. Cell phones will never have the perfect pyramid but my BB gave me more positive than negative on practical use, even with its outdated look. I don't see BB reaching the top of the pyramid any time soon but it has great practicality. The only solution to have the best of both worlds is the ability to have access to the Sim card on phones from the outside and that is to easily switch the Sim card in and out on phones because you will definitely need 2 phones to have the perfect phone. =]

I don't see the big deal. I'm a die hard BlackBerry user. BlackBerry just get the job done. Messages and emails sms, mms. The browser isn't in the best but it's fast on sprint. I'm on crackberry with the tour. It looks good enough... I am on this forum.. Reading this! I You tube .. Facebook...all that and it's good enough! Navigation and maps.. Fresh! The Tour is solid! Great design! Clear voice good speaker phone, and I wrote this post with Vlingo! You can cut and paste very easy! My friend who has no internet access asked me to cut and paste the movie theatre schedule.. Went on my browser.. Cut and pasted the schedule...and sent it to his weak phone! LoL..
Short cut keys are cool... Really its simple! My phone is for communication.. I have 4 emails set up and I need them to come in! That's where my confidence rests on BB! The keyboard is awesome! Fast typing! You can't beat the black berry's simplistic use and multitasking. Everything else is a copy off BB design!

What I want is a phone like the storm with the touch screen sensitivity of an iphone and a slide out keyboard of the tour... Good browser and flash...until then.. The tour is my home :-)

U can't touch blackberry!

But one of the BB like things I was disappointed to see on Android was the scroll select for picking dates and times. That may work well with a trackball, but it is inexact and clunky with a touchscreen. Am I the only one who misses the simple pick-the-date from a calendar method like on the computer I use everyday??

Both are nice in their own way. All of the new Android devices look cool, especially the "Google Phone" that's coming to T-mobile. The only phone that ever caused me to switch carriers was the iPhone 3G, which was awesome but ended up returning it/reverting to T-mobile because of their better prices.

My BB is used for communication, music, and web browsing. The native BB browser sucks but I have to say that OM5 and BOLT are awesome. I use OM5 because of it's fast, renders pages in full desktop form, and includes tabbed browsing so BOLT is my backup. The music player on my BB is simple and gets the job done well. The call quality on my BB is great. The keyboard on my BB is awesome. Best of all, the battery life on my BB is great. As much as I like my BB, improvements can be made, especially with the native browser and viewing YouTube videos.

I've never played with an Android phone but after learning that the Google Phone(and Milestone?) is coming to T-mobile, I'm gonna have to check it out in the store.

I don't think anyone can go wrong with a BB or Android phone.

Thanks Kevin. Honest, very open minded and fair review. I am a Tour user (Verizon) and quite happy. Only cell phones before this was Moto E815 and BB Pearl so my ignorance to smartphones could be an issue but Android... everybody talks about Droid but I really want to give myself a try Eris way before Droid. Eris doesn't have as many of what Android is supposed to offer to the world as Droid, it sounds like but as Kevin said in the review.... fugly.

No matter how fair people's reviews are, I think it is hard to bring up 100% honest reviews when the full prices of phones are this expensive. If Android devices come down as $200, even $300, it will give people more opportunity to try Android. Without a monetary damage consideration, people could really talk about what they like and don't like for both sides. Right now, for BB owners, there is something in mind "I can't afford to buy another phone - I would try a new device and I would probably like it but I need to justify what I have" how good it is - no matter what. Sort of fear of starting to like a different device. BB users could make more honest comments about iPhone these days since, I believe, many of us have iPod Touch, and at least we can experience what iPhone is like at quite high percentage level without sacrificing $600 price or switching carriers.

If Verizon can offer BOGO, devices shouldn't be THAT expensive. Come on, carriers and manufactures (including RIM), lower devices' prices if you want to boost sales. More competitions = more refinement in the future.

That was an ok review, but it's interesting that it was said said that the Droid was "soooo close" to being a great smartphone. It is obviously a great smartphone. The only real question is whether it is the best smartphone currently available.

I've been a huge blackberry fanboy for quite sometime, but there are certain obvious pros of the Droid, over ANY blackberry that were left out of this review.

The Droid, has a much faster ui, than ANY blackberry available. it's more fluid, prettier, etc. The internet browser is much better and faster, flashier, it doesn't have RIM's download limitations, and it's not even close. The emails render html better on the Droid, and there's no email truncating on the Droid as there is on blackberries. The Droid has more and better apps. Droids don't require the daily or everyotherday, battery pulls that you have to do with blackberries, and the boot time, on Droids are a minute or less, instead of the 5 minutes on blackberries.

What makes it worse, is that blackberry and their os has been around sooo much longer than Android, yet, the Droid excels in so many ways over Blackberry.

I hope RIM makes a change from their ancient os/ui, and makes a change to what I typed above, because it was hard leaving blackberry. But, until then, with devices like the Droid, the grass really is greener on the other side, imo.

EDIT>>you did say much of the things that I said weren't mentioned. However, to say that it is only "soo close" to being a great smartphone, is a big understatement, considering it has soo many advantages over blackberry, and it multitasks, and it does these things, despite being soo much newer than blackberry.

I have been far from trusting of Motorola's Products. So this review seems nice that Motorola may have made a pretty good product. But Also being a Storm user, I dont know if I want to switch (I am one of the few that loves SurePress)

Looking forward to the next review :)

I almost made the jump to either the Droid or HTC Hero. In fact, I'd already called Sprint and was set for ETF as of 12/21/09. But I just had Sprint revoke my cancellation as I've decided to stay with my Curve 8330 for at least now. Why? I love what the Android platform offers. But I want a smartphone that at least has some basic smarts. At least up through Android 2.1 there is no way to resize the tiny Android font. And notifications reminders? On the Blackberry I can count on the BerryBuzz app for not only notification customizations but how often to repeat reminders, when to slow them down and when to stop. On the Androids, there are some apps that can let you do similar. But so far none that can give you repeat alerts for the native Gmail and Mail programs. Developers would be glad to add this reminder feature to their apps, but Google appears to have a lock and key on Gmail and Mail that prevents customizing reminders. So you can count on ONE feeble auditory/vibration reminder and that's it. You'll have to get into the habit of pulling your Android phone out of your pocket, belt holster or purse over and over to check it for mail...like sitting in the window waiting for the snail mail carrier. So, for now, I'm sticking with a tried and true platform. When Android matures further, it has great potential. But for now I consider it a Beta project in the works.

The Droid is FUGLY! That keboard is hideous, the chin is pointless and it just it not that great looking. The Storm 2 is a sleek piece of technological goodness.

I hate the damn web browser on the Android platform. Makes me temporarily insane and want to chuck my sleek S2 against the wall everytime I kick open the browser. Where the heck is the webkit RIM has been talking about. The browser on the Blackberry platform is so outdated.

...but I did feel that some of the overall actual device specs and usage were left out of the article. I'm sure I'll read the other reviewers perspectives and be able to see a little more about each device. I think the round robin is a wonderful way to look at the devices, taking in everyone review of each device.

The only sad part was trying to read this review on my BB. The mobile site truncated the article!

The droid has real promise. Google is really on top of it's game! I am tempted by the whole Android thing, however, I have to say...... I LOVE MY BLACKBERRY!!!!

cj

"So while you may long for an improved browser and some of these "transformational experiences" from your device (I know I'm longing for them!), you're willing to wait it out while RIM gets their stuff together to climb even higher up the pyramid and fill it in more fully because you just wouldn't be able to cope without it (and if you're impatient, grab an iPod touch to fill in the in the void while you wait for your BB to get there)."

I'm soo glad I'm not the only one who does this! Great review- Long live the red light!

I am one who never goes with the latest model and trendy phone. It took me a while to even go to the BB which I decided to go with the Tour. I plan on sticking with BB for the foreseeable future. My needs for a phone match so much better in a BB than a DROOOOID (In my best voice from Battlestar Galactica) lol.

It's all about communication for me and RIM tops it for me.
Nice review and thank you for your input.

Nice review. Looking for the rest of the info. It's really a very clever way to introduce us to the others smartphones and the sisters sites.

I am new to the BB universe. I tried the droids and thought them all pretty slick, but something in me said to go with BB for the things I needed. I had an LG Dare and didn't want anymore touch screen, and, I was sick of candy bar phones which take me back to my first cell phone, a Sony contraption that had the rotary dial on the side. Enter into my life the 8230. While all of the BB purists seem to hate this phone, it has been great for me so far. I couldn't be happier. I am sure the droids have their place in the techno world and it is good to see a competent and well thought out review of them from a BB-o-phile. Thanks for the info and the reassurance that folks who need what I need really did make the right choice.

at school everyone has a iphone or junk phone with an ipod touch. im considering getting an ipod touch to fill in the time that i cant use my storm in class and to replace my ds during school but going all out for an iphone and dumping blackberry, i just cant do it, ever.

I am an Apple computer guy. RIMM actually seems to care about the Apple computer and specifically provides a desktop manager for Apple. I appreciate that. That said, I did go out and buy a "Droid", the first day they were available. I promptly returned it the next day. It doesn't work well with Apple computers, although it works-just not smoothly and seamlessly like BB. I then purchased the Storm 2 and I really do like it and the way it works with my computer. Maybe when programs like "markspace" have resolved Android and Apple sync issues, I will give it another try.

I was curious about the Droid, but after reading this - I don't see anything here that woud make me part with my Storm2. I am so loving my Storm2.

To all you people saying that the Droid is slugish compared to
your model Blackberry. You are all either liars or have not really used a Droid. The droid is WAY faster than any Blackberry ever, period. I have owned three Blackberries and played with every model Blackberry of 2009. The Droid is so much faster, no lag at all when opening apps or switching or anything.

Kevin, I have to ask. Did you taker some kind of creative writing class? I've read the other Round Robin reviews, and while they are all great techinical reviews, yours is easily the best written. You put a lot of thought and creativity in it. Good job!!

lol. thanks for the compliment. i think it's the other way around though... the other guys are all really good writers. problem with me is i'm kind of a crappy writer with lots of opinions.... i figure the technical stuff is out there, so i focus on some of things you don't see/think about as often. probably use twice as many words to say half as much, but glad you enjoyed it! you made my day!

The problem is the same problem I had...you become a fan boy of BB and just absolutely can't leave it. Then I decided to just face the facts. I got the Droid on Nov. 6 and I'm not looking back. I have said this so many times in other threads on here...you have no idea what you are talking about until you actually own an Android device, in particular the Droid. So much faster than any BlackBerry I have ever had. And TOTALLY customizable. I hold my opinion high because I have been using BB's for years, installing every different OS i can find official, leaked or hybrid. Defended the Storm 1 religiously because I was not one of those people that had problems with it. And if you are tech saavy enough, the ability to root the Droid and have COMPLETE access to EVERYTHING...not even comparible. H3ll RIM won't even open up the API to the keyboard on the Storms. I have at least 10 different keyboard skins on my Droid. And don't lie, how many times have you had to pull your batter just this week? Now ask me how many times I have had to reboot my droid since NOV. 6! Not ONCE!

Haven't had to pull my battery on the Pearl for awhile. I did try the Droid and had to pull the battery on day 1 after trying to view a 4mb jpg at dpreview.com - admittedly I would never even try this on a BB.

Storm 1 was junk for me...but the Droid is the best phone I have ever had the privilege of owning...and perhaps the first one to ever make me a fanboy. It is that good.

sooooo glad to be a part of this website. This was some great writing and an overall great review. I'm excited to read more Thanks Crackberry!

Checked out the Droid, played with it, and thought the whole time, this isn't like my Berry, this isn't like my Berry etc.......

I kept thinking...My berry couldn't do this...my berry couldn't load that page...my berry was slower...my berry didn't have the ability to delete an app without a 10 minute battery pull.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my berries, but let's face it, RIM's OS is a decade old, with no real changes, the browser is terrible, and uninstalling requiring a reboot that's 6-10 minutes long is unacceptable.

Amazing review Kevin - great job as always!

I too started with the 7290, then 8700, 8320, 8330. Maybe it would've been different coming from a newer BB, but going from the 8330 to the Droid was a huge technological leap forward.

Once you get used to crisp web browsing, you really realize how lame it was to have a smart phone that is so deficient in this area. For example, would any of you accept using a dialup modem? The BB browser is comparable technology (at least from a usefulness perspective)

That said, if I was banging out 100 texts/emails per day and needed to get my mail instantaneously, I'd suck it up and go back to BB.

I saw the Droid before and to me its ugly and awkard to use. Fails to impress me enough with the rest of the things it can do to considering purchasing it .
If I was updating I would go with the 8530(curve) or wait for the new Tour2(essex) to come out ,since I am with vzw.

That was the first thing I said when I saw it in the store. I liked the look and feel of the HTC better. I can't see myself spending all that money on something so ugly, after all I would have to look at it many times a day. My BB works fine

When I went to get my first smart phone i got a treo and after playing with it for a week I hated the phone, i switched to a curve and have been in love with my blackberry ever since, I then got a tour and I hated it to a point that i have never hated a phone, but then the droid came out and i thought it might be time for a change, but as i saw some of the problems that kept coming up with the droid i had flash backs of the moto Q and I want no part of that, and after i talked to a tech about my tour, the only complant i had was the track ball, so i got the storm 2 and i am in love! good luck to the droid but i am not impressed enough to switch, this review was also very helpful and just really showed facts non-bias which i really liked

I actually bought the Hero and had it for a week. It is an excellent phone. I would have kept it if it wasn't for two things:

1. It loves the battery. It kills the battery in a matter of hours.
2. The camera doesn't have a flash.

Outside of these two problems, the Hero is a great phone. Loads of Apps to choose from and most of them are free. Browser is very fast. Basically, the phone as a whole is fast. If they fix these two problems and leave everything else the way it is, I would buy another one. But keep it.

I jumped ship and went to the droid a couple of weeks ago and I gotta say, it is an awesome device. After using the curve and then the storm I am finally seeing how a smart-phone should work. It is sad that I actually got used to and made excused for the battery pulls, freeze ups, and painfully slow downloads and resets. After two weeks of putting my droid to the test, it has not missed a beat. I have it loaded with twice the apps I ever had on my storm and it is still as fast as it was the day I pulled it from the box. Email is just as friendly on the droid as my past blackberries and the web browsing is not even a close comparison. It is sad to think that the android operating system is still in its infancy and is already ahead of RIM's OS. I don't find myself saying,"when the new OS comes out things will be different." Don't bother waiting.... just get a droid.

I got crucified in the forums after finally coming out of the woodwork from a lurker to actually engaging....and basically the vibe I got was "don't dare talk about problems here, if you are having problems with this device, you are the problem." Well...that's all well and good, but the Storm is really a piece of crap (and I was saying that as I was using it), but the Droid is an excellent device. I see it giving the iPhone a run for it's money...and trutfully...I don't even think that's it's real competition. I do think it will help bring in the end of Windows Mobile, Palm (sadly) and perhaps even RIM (can't say I'd be sad to see that at this point). Oh...and my email is not impacted by BIS outages. ;)

i want to try the bb2 but the droid phone looks like a funner gadget an a faster phone.the keyboard on the droid sucks it will take a while to get used to it.but fuck it i will play with the bb2 an the droid phone next week an choose one to replace my storm 1.

1. If I understand it correctly, the Sprint/Verizon Android phones such as the HTC Hero and Motorola Droid aren't GSM/HSPA multi-mode. So how the heck would they work when you're in any of the 98% of the countries in the world? Am I missing something? Seems like this factor alone give these devices an automatic F grade.

2. The review didn't mention the encryption/security of the Android platform. How secure are the emails? Is the Android platform FIPS-140 certified? Is the encryption elliptic curve 3072 bit Diffie-Hellman? If not, why would you use an Android if it's so easily hackable? Is your organization even allowed to use a non-FIPS-140 certified platform?

I mean just cause you leave the US doesn't mean anyone else does. If you need a world phone then this doesn't work for you. But lets see the last time I left the country hmmm never. So lets see a phone that works perfect in a place that I am 100% of the time hmm automatic A+.

Just cause you need a world phone doesn't mean everyone does so you can't get a phone a F for that. I needed a phone I didn't have to do a battery pull every other day to make it run so S1 gets an automatic F or RIM for giving me that headache.

I'm new to BB universe, to be precise I've been using the Bold 9000 for the last 6 months. I'm from Brazil and although my data plan is theoretically unlimited it is in fact very limited ! there is no additional charges only for the application(s) that are on Bold ( such as facebook, Google talk, Yahoo ) for any other application you pay extra charges. Opera mini, no way ! weather applications, no way !
All of these along with memory leak problems, battery pulls at least once a day, etc.
So, although I recognize that Bold is a good device, with so many interesting applications, with a really nice keyboard, I had to give up the idea of having one. Now I've returned to my old Nokia E61i - with a standard unlimited data plan, until I decide my next step - Droid phone ? Nokia N900 ? I'll wait the next months to check the reviews in order to decide. There is no ideal phone, all phones out there are full of good items and bad items. Anyway at this time I'm analyzing carefully Droid, seems to me that it has the best features for the future, specially because you will get the freedom to customize it, not being limited by a
proprietary data plan ( no tethering allowed ) and doing what you know you want, not what they think you need !

After my experiences w/ the BB, I'm ready to give the Droid a try. And I will the in eight months when my carrier will allow me to UPGRADE.

Great review overall but I do have to say a couple things here. I did love my blackberry until I tried teh Droid out. For me personally I have had no issues with email I get it just as fast as I ever have. I run my own email servers so maybe this is why.

Also there is much customization you can do for your droid. if you want to change how the homescreen works download GDE or DXTop these are great theme home replacements apps.

For me I was not a fan of surepress I liked it but not loved it. I do really like how it all flows I can actually type faster on the physical keyboard then I ever could on the blackberry S1.

Anyways I think if Email is the biggest issue then thats a minor one since I think most people with the proper set up can get it working just as fast a a BB and many have claimed the same thing.

I do want to thank you for your time and I think you are 100% correct in saying there is not a perfect phone but maybe perfect for some. I am not saying RIM is bad or is going anywhere like some claim bye bye to RIM obviously they will be around for a long time.

I am glad we are still welcome here I love the website and how someone else said I think I am a crackberry addict more than a blackberry addict. So thank you Kevin for creating such a great place for all us smartphone users to enjoy.

Oh and obviously most people on here will rather have a BB than a Droid but if you are truly thinking of which phone is best for you. Find someone who has similar needs as you and has the phone you want and ask them what their experience is this is the best way to find out if it will meet your needs.

Hope you all have happy holidays and keep crackberrying all season long no matter which phone you have.

Kevin,
Terrific review and I think you have it pretty spot on.
One note is that the Droid is available in a GSM variant as the Motorola Milestone but not for US 3G bands.

I switched from BB Curve and Bold to the myTouch from T-Mobile and I will have a touch time coming back.

From the quality of the apps that I use frequently for work to the availability of VoIP applications I found that for me the Android OS is just more useful for both personal and business use.

The Google integration is a blessing or a curse obviously. Gmail works better on the phone than 3rd party email - POP3/IMAP - though they do work well.

Looking forward to seeing the advances with Android over the next year and seeing what RIM has in the works as well.

After using the Droid since release day, I've loved using it on a daily basis. Everything that was broken on my Tour and Storm was working just fine on Android, to my surprise. I had issues with from email formatting to stereo Bluetooth connectivity to app store problems to a bunch of other things like 552 errors. All this just works on Droid, and was pretty much broken on BlackBerry. There are tons of things broken in BlackBerry that RIM has not bother to fix because they've reduced the BlackBerry OS to pretty much a feature phone first and a smartphone second. Meaning my old Curve 8310 can do almost everything my Tour, which is limited to some form of messaging (IM, SMS, email). Everything else about the BlackBerry OS is apparently not important to RIM because nothing has really changed in the past 2 years. I loved my BB for the keyboard and general messaging, but there are a LOT of BlackBerry OS shortcomings and this is not a the place to list them all. But those in the market for a new smartphone, do try Android 2.0 for a least a week to learn it all and you'll see what I mean. Android is moving forward fast.

CB Kevin! I wish you had delved further into your review of the Droid during your review. While many CB users can go over to Android Central to read what actual users have experienced, I think it's better hearing it from you.

And I'm going to expand on a few of the points you made. The day the Droid came out, I went to the VZW store to check it out. Played with both the Motorola and the HTC. There was no doubt the HTC was the superior product. Besides lacking a flash for the camera, the only other downside was the lack of a physical keyboard. However, as you noted, you'd probably never use the physical keyboard.

For those BB users and CB abusers out there, here's a few notes from someone who used the Eris for 28 days and at the last second decided to return it:
+ The HTC Sense User interface is simply amazing. Better than the iPhone, better than Droid 2.0, MUCH better than Blackberry. When you fool around with it, you'll see why.
+ The web browser is hands down the best web browser available on smart phones. It renders everything perfectly. The HTC even pinches like the iPhone! And when you turn Javascript on on the iPhone and do side-by-side loading comparisons in NYC, they are spot on exactly the same. I'd venture to say the Motorola Droid would outpace the iPhone. Blackberry, well we all know where the browser falls.
+ It's very intuitive. There's very little knowledge needed to use the phone.
+ Voice searching. One click, and you can tell it to search for anything on Google.
+ Google Maps works MUCH faster than the blackberry.
+ The app store searches, loads, downloads, and installs things much faster. Plus, the price is right for the apps you want (AKA $0). And there is an App for everything on the Droid. Download a compass app (they work!), and you have the iPhone 3GS! Don't know the song? Use Shazam to ID it, then download it from the Amazon.com store. PS - why do you have to pay for Shazam on the Blackberry when it's free on the iPhone and the Droid?
+ Calendar on the Droid is better.
+ Google Sync is built in, so if your life is on Google, then you'll like it. But, then again, Google sync is on the Blackberry.
+- Google Voice is integrated with the Droid, and it's a little easier to manage than the Blackberry. However, with the Droid, you can set it to a) Use GV for every call, b) Ask to use GV for every call, c) Use GV only for international calls, or d) Don't use GV. If you set it for b), it gets quite irritating when you're trying to place multiple calls in a row. It's another button push to execute a call.
- MESSAGING IS NO WHERE NEAR THE SAME. Yes, it's integrated with Gmail, but the Blackberry pushes the e-mails faster, and you have to essentially load the app every time you want to open an e-mail. Attachments are much easier to handle in the Berry (and on the regular e-mails on the Droid for that matter).
- Google Talk works better on the Blackberry. I had so many problems with Google Talk on the Droid. Everyone gave Blackberry a hard time when it dropped the Storm 1 and it wasn't ready, but a year after their first phone and one of their own products has issues? Come on guys, this should be cake!
+- The on-screen keyboard is very iPhone like, but I find myself making far fewer mistakes on the Blackberry. It may be archaic, but Auto Text on the Blackberry is a life saver for those few words or phrases I use all the time. Plus, shoot me if you must, I like the surepress of actually getting real tactile response (and this is on the S1).
- BATTERY LIFE. It blows. You'll get 2-3 times more battery power on the Storm, I can only imagine on a Blackberry that doesn't have that huge screen.
+- The Facebook widget in the Sense UI works great, and the app runs faster on the Droid than it does on the Blackberry. But, again, nothing integrates like the Blackberry. The Facebook app, with instant updates via your e-mail, is superior on the Blackberry.
+- Yes, the phone has WiFi. However, there was only ONE place I needed it -- my parent's house, where no carrier gets reliable service. The good -- it kept me connected. The bad -- the WiFi radio is only OK so it didn't cover the entire house even though it does with a laptop, and my battery drained even FASTER because it also kept trying to connect to the network.
- Network controls. Please tell me why you cannot keep WiFi on and turn off the cellular network? Then, I could use the Droid on an airplane. However, if you want any connection active, as it stands now, you NEED the cellular connection on. That one still boggles me.

All in all, I think Kevin summed it up well. Right off the bat flashiness, the Droid wins. In fact, I'd go out on a limb to say that the HTC Droid Eris is the closest thing Verizon has to an iPhone.

However, just like the iPhone isn't a Blackberry, neither is the Droid.

In my world, the perfect combination would be to put the Sense UI on the Blackberry, along with a capable browser, then you'd be pretty friggen close to the perfect phone.

Good luck with the Windows Mobile! I don't know how long I'd last without throwing it out the window!

I tried a droid for 3 weeks. Had to return it and go back to blackberry because the droid has some SERIOUS issues. The big one being that it does not support bluetooth voicedialing. You cannot just tap the button on your ear piece and say "call dave mobile". This is a flaw with all Android devices and google doesn't fix it and only has this "feature" as a medium priority in their list of things to add to the OS. On top of this the phone was incredibly unstable and had a big "far end" echo. Many of the people I called most started complaining that there was a bad echo on their end. I never heard the echo. But this turns out to be a documented issue with the phone. Also I could not cut/paste from email messages. The DROID is garbage and barely qualifies as a phone. It fits poorly in the hierarchy pyramid because all it is a buggy little computer, not a phone or messaging device.

...kind of funny...as that is exactly my experience w/ the Storm 1. Garbage. Same with a buddy and his Curve. Garbage. Slow, memory leaking pigs. The Droid has been a breath of fresh air. Buggy?! Really...I hope that is not in comparison to the Storm...which is probably the buggiest phone I've owned in a long time. I suffered through a year of it until the Droid saved me. The Droid fulfills every level of the pyramid. I've had no issues w/ phone call stability or people hearing me (and bonus...my phone can go more than a day w/out needing a battery pull now). Copy and paste works pretty good on the Droid, could get a little better...but it was only recently you could competently cut and paste from web pages on the Storm, so again, bad comparison. The Droid is a beautiful platform that actually performs as advertised (which the Storm never did which is why I'm getting rid of mine and holding on to the Droid).

I need to add also that it couldn't keep a wifi connection. Every time I came home I would have to manually tell it to reconnect. My blackberry reconnects automatically every time.

Also, lets touch on web browsing since some seem to think that it is superior. It is not! The blackberry system of switching between pan and select modes works really good compared to the droid. With the droid I often had difficulty zooming in and selecting a field to type into. Pull down menus rarely worked.

I need to add also that it's notification system is terrible. The indicator lights are tough to see. You need to get a third party app to add multiple vibrations to indicators of messages.

The messaging is not even close to as fluid as the blackberry. It takes twice as many clicks to do anything on the droid! The top notification bar on droid is so small it is difficult to select and pull down, and then it always wants to spring back up when you try to scroll it to get to the message alert.

I have had no issues with wifi connectivity going from place to place when I set it up once I set up a connection it will always default to it again when I am in range again.

This also goes for my wife sister brother in law and a few friends so out of 8 people no one has this issue.

For the notifications this is one thing almost all people agree is way better than a blackberry. Even Kevin mentioned somewhere he really liked the notification. This will fall into a subjective part for you as most people really love it. I mean how is it harder to get to places on your phone?

Get a email a text message and a alert to update. Lets see pull the bar down there they all are. Lets see on my blackberry I need to see what icon is there then fo find the icon so I can go into that specific item and then I have to click on the message or whatever to clear it out.

Android click clear in the notification bar. That is way tougher.

Sounds like someone who really didn't give the Droid a real chance. Email is just as easy to access if not easier. Like the BB, depends on where you put the shortcut. Although the notification bar makes anything with an active notification only a swipe and a click away. Can't get any easier.

As a VZW rep, I had to get the DROID. I currently am using both a Curve 8900 and a Moto Droid. I find myself using the droid for all of my media, internet, and entertainment. It is spectacular in all of those regards. On my BB i only use BBM and email. When my Droid battery dies, I now dread going on the BB web browser. If only RIM can step up their game with web browsing and multimedia. Orrr...Droid can somehow hack into BBM...

I own the Samsung Moment(android device) & blackberry 9630 and i honestly cant live without either of them. I use my blackberry for my messaging and talk phone. But i use my android phone for my fun internet surfing game phone. There both great phones & i could never pick 1 over the other at this point.

I was just reviewing you comments on the new Droid - stating a couple things that I agree with, and a couple that I do not. I have to start off by saying I have owned just about every Blackberry model since the Pearl and the Curve started on Verizon, I even took a stint on the ATT hell ride to try the BOLD out...which was a amazing device, If it wasnt for the HORRIBLE non exisitant network of ATT, I would still have that phone to date.

Since going through all the blackberry's - Cruve, Storm, Tour, Storm 2 - I finally had enough - and tried the Droid with desperation... I have to say WOW. This phone is amazing. I mean it does everything FAST - GREAT - better than the BOLD, Iphone from ATT - and all of the Blackberry's that I had with Verizon.

Its solid, Fast, never Crashes, I dont think I have ever done a battery pull since the day I bought it..... unlike the ever hour or so that I had to do it with Blackberry's. Its somthing you must try yourself. You will be amazed with the phone and what it can do. The only thing that I miss so far - is the Corp email... :( But my company is changing from Groupwise to MS outlook - WHOO - this is going to save my life - the Foward emails SUCK... I have to admit... but all of the Many other GREAT features that are above and beyond what the Blackberry's can do forced me to stay with the DROID no matter what.

I will always have a place for Blackberry's in my heart - but until they really start to get with the times in Browser, Speed, and the down right reliablity factor, I will not be able to come back to my family. I am going to have to stay with DROID....

Jason

I prefer Blackberry and I am in love with my Tour. I am very happy. I have a brother who just left AT&T and got a Tour and is enjoying it. My other brother did get the Droid and he loves it as well. He keeps bragging to me how he has the best device. We both have great devices. It is a matter of choice.
It is a deal breaker for me I have to have Bluetooth voice enabled device and if it can't do it then I won't consider it.
I hate seeing drivers with the phone to their ear. It is dangerous. And anyone who thinks otherwise is nuts.

I love the BB experience and competition never hurt anyone.
RIM does need to make the browser better, but my Tour is great. So, I am faithful to my BB

Battery pulls are not an issue for me. I do use the Quick Pull app and I will pull my battery out every so often. I wish people would stop complaining about things. All devices have issues. Nothing is perfect.

Grabbed a Droid last week, new line, in addition to my Tour. 6 days later I am still bouncing between the 2, although I must say the Droid has me more engaged. That could simply be the "newness" of the device, coupled with my proficiency at operating a Tour, time will tell.

I actually have use for both phones, so will be sticking with both for quite some time.