The Heap Presents: Review of the Motorola Droid Part 1- Overview and Apps

“In a World of Doesn’t, Droid Does,” was the Verizon Wireless advertising moniker for perhaps one of the most awaited smartphones since the revolutionary iPhone. In fact, little was known about the phone, only quick glimpses due to a seemingly secretive yet intriguing marketing ploy used by VZW. The brief TV spots had to have been influenced by the similar secretive approach used by the promoters of the film Cloverfield. Here’s a sample TV commercial clip:

And of course the infamous iDon’t commercial:

Nevertheless, the real question after all of the advertising hype and hoopla still remains: Can the Droid be the first successful “iPhone killer?” Or at the very least, begin the end for Apple’s reign at the top of the smartphone market.

One of the most glorified selling points of the iPhone is the simplicity of its OS. Everything is only a few slides of the finger and a press of the finger away. While I never did have an iPhone, I did have an iPod touch. The interface was extremely navigable immediately. There wasn’t much to learn when t came to general functions or where something may be hidden. Everything had an icon, and you just scrolled to where the icon was located. The most recent update to the iPhone OS even allowed you to group apps on different “pages” of the sliding menu.

Droid’s interface is generally simple, though a first time user does have to learn the functions of certain buttons as well as the extensive settings menu.  Also, the initial clutter that is all of the application icons is a bit daunting as well initially. But the burgeoning Android user will know how convenient it is to have icons to ALL installed apps listed alphabetically in a slide out menu. This allows the user two place all sorts of widgets and the icons of the most used apps on one of 3 main screens.

Motorola Droid

I have yet to become too “app” savvy, and am in need of tips for useful apps! I do use two widgets, The Weather Channel and CNN widgets. TWC widget is a quick and convenient way to immediately check weather and temperature, with forecasts only a click away. CNN seems to be a good news widget, bt to be honest, I don’t look at it too much. I have heard that USA today might be the way to go with regards to a news ticker. I might have to give it a shot.

Don’t forget the “Social” apps! Dont worry. Facebook for Android already comes pre-loaded. So you can check that one off of your list. If you are into Twitter, I recommend Twidroid Free edition. The app allows you to update Twitter, while receiving tweets for those you follow instantly. AIM and Myspace apps are also available.

Droid requires you to have a Gmail account. Thus, your account’s email is synced to the device! It is possible to sync more than one gmail account (like my personal one and the account for The Heap!) and email addresses from other domains. In addition to email, your user name serves as your GChat name as well! Your buddies can chat with you on your phone as well!

The main free sports app for the Android OS is SportsTap. The app itself is very good, as scores from sports around the world, as well as surprisingly detailed box scores/ stats are readily available. The widget was disappointing because it didn’t seem to work most of the time. The favorite teams customization is pretty useful, as you are alerted when your team is playing and of changes in score. (Another Overtime loss for the Lightning tonight, by the way)

Then, like iPhone, there are an endless amount of created apps for just about anything! Some fun ones are the Coin Flip and Magic 8 Ball apps, that use the phone’s accelerometer to roughly simulate the physics of an actual coin flip or the shaking of the 8 ball. Google Sky Map is by far one of my favorites, as it uses the phone’s position and orientation to accurately tell you what constellations celestial bodies are visible by the user! It is absolutely amazing! And lastly, I have some other practical apps, like Flixster movies for times/reviews, Kayak for travel plans and Phoneflicks for organizing my Netflix queue.

As we can see, this has gone for far too long! I’ve decided to cut the review into parts. Part 2 will be about Music Apps, music playback and other media/ entertainment apps/ capabilities! Part 3 will most likely be about functionality, messaging, what I like and don’t like, and what makes Droid a serious contender in the smart phone battle! I might even make my own review video, showing off my Droid and showing you heapsters how it works! Stay tuned!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Another Weekend Excursion

At long last, my long awaited return to campus will be tonight. Carroll Hall will be my home for a few days. So I’ll get to see how the likes of James Geyer made it around to campus. Unfortunately, I will not have my laptop with me, so we must once again go another weekend without posts. But don’t you worry, I’ve got a running list of upcoming content for when I return.

It will be nice to get away from here for a bit and celebrate a happy occasion and be somewhat free from obligations. I know I’m going to be teary eyed!

Lucky for you, I will have my cellphone, which means I will be able to Tweet what I am doing. Make sure to keep checking the Twitter widget up at the top left for the latest of my ND adventure!

I wish you all a safe and joyous weekend. We’ll be back full time on Monday.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Heap: On Vacation

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It’s about time I get some time off! The Heap Master is on vacation! So as expected, there won’t be any posts until Tuesday!

So far, I’ve gotten my car washed, enjoyed some good family time, and went bowling! Then I just came back and passed the F out!

Today on the agenda, Busch Gardens and a possible game night? Hopefully some quality sleep time as well. Nevertheless, we will be on vacation here at The Heap until late Tuesday.

But don’t you worry. You can keep up to date with what is going on thanks to Twitter! Check the Twitter feed regularly to see how the vacation is going!

Take care!smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Heap 2.0

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The update is finished! The layout is neater, and more sharp. The new header is a bit more imaginative… but not by much. It’s times like these where I wish I knew how to do some graphic designing. As I mentioned before, I have listed the blogs email. Feel free to drop me a line or chain email there. And lastly, the newest and coolest feature is the Twitter feed! Now you’ll always know what The Heap Master is doing!

If you have Twitter and like reading the blog, follow me! The Heap will be sure to return the favor.

Hope you enjoy the new look!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser