The Motorola Droid, also known as the Motorola Milestone in some markets, was a pivotal device in the history of Android smartphones. Here’s an in-depth review of the Motorola Droid:
Launched in 2009, the Motorola Droid was a collaboration between Motorola, Verizon, and Google. It played a crucial role in popularizing the Android platform in the United States, thanks to a significant marketing push by Verizon. The device was positioned as a direct competitor to the iPhone.
- Operating System: Initially shipped with Android 2.0 Eclair.
- Display: 3.7-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels.
- Processor: 600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8.
- Memory: 256 MB RAM with 512 MB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 32 GB.
- Camera: 5 MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus.
- Battery: 1400 mAh removable battery.
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS.
- Other Features: Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, dedicated search button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Physical Keyboard: The slide-out QWERTY keyboard was a significant selling point for many users, offering tactile feedback for typing. Display: The Droid's screen was sharp for its time, boasting a higher resolution than many competitors. Android Experience: Being one of the first devices to run Android 2.0 Eclair, it introduced features like Google Maps Navigation. Build Quality: The device had a solid and industrial feel, reflecting Motorola's design ethos.
- Weight and Bulk: The inclusion of a physical keyboard made the device heavier and bulkier than some competitors.
- Camera Performance: While the camera specs were decent on paper, the actual performance was often criticized for being slow and producing mediocre images.
- Processor Speed: The 600 MHz processor was adequate but was quickly outpaced by newer devices.
Comparisons to Other Technologies:
In 2009, the smartphone market was beginning to heat up. The Motorola Droid faced competition from:
- iPhone 3GS: Apple’s offering with its smooth iOS experience, App Store ecosystem, and sleek design.
- HTC Hero: An early Android device featuring HTC’s Sense UI, which added a layer of user-friendly features.
- BlackBerry Storm: BlackBerry’s attempt at a touchscreen device, targeting its traditional business audience.
The Motorola Droid was announced in October 2009 and released in November 2009.
- Keyboard Layout: Some users found the keyboard layout to be cramped and criticized the placement of the d-pad.
- Software Bugs: Early versions of Android on the Droid had their share of bugs, though many were addressed in subsequent updates.
- Battery Life: Typical of many smartphones of its era, the battery life could be a concern for heavy users.
The Motorola Droid was a landmark device for Android. With Verizon’s “Droid Does” marketing campaign, it brought significant attention to the Android platform and positioned it as a viable alternative to the iPhone. The device’s success laid the groundwork for a series of “Droid” branded phones on Verizon. While it had its limitations and faced stiff competition, the Motorola Droid’s impact on the Android ecosystem and its role in popularizing the platform cannot be understated.