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Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Phone - Motorola Droid 3

I got my new cell phone. It's a Droid 3 from Motorola.

Overall, I like it so far.

The "pentile" screen seems fine. It doesn't bother me. A lot of people said they didn't like it.

The phone is 3G and not 4G. That doesn't bother me, because my primary goal is to use it on the subway. (Ironically, my contract ended and I'm unemployed again. That means I won't be using it for my daily commute. I should find a new job again soon.)

Now that I have free time, I may experiment with the Android SDK.

There were some UI gotchas.

You click on "e-mail" to configure a new account. You have to go to apps-gmail to actually read your e-mail. That was extremely confusing. I kept clicking on email-gmail, and it asked me to configure a new account, but no hint on how to use an already-configured account.

I'm trying to figure out how to get it to stop saying "Droid!" every time I get an E-mail. (I googled and found the answer. Go to the gmail app and change the settings.)

If you want to delete a desktop icon, it's very unintuitive. You have to click and hold the icon, then a trash can appears, then you drag it to the trash.

If you have the phone plugged into the USB port, you can't read any files on the SD card. It mysteriously didn't work, instead of giving a helpful error message.

If you put more than 100-500 files in a directory, the file manager can't handle it. I put an Atari 2600 emulator on my phone, but mistakenly put all the roms in one big directory. It's better to break it up into a, b_c, etc. (I told my coworker about that. He said "WTF? You can make folders on an Android phone? I didn't know that.")

Astro File Manager is a must-have app. I'm using the free ad-supported version.

I'm using jota text editor to write this. There's no plaintext editor that comes with Android. Amusingly, they make text files default to UNIX-style carriage returns, rather than Windows-style CR/LF. You can change that in the settings.

It seems that all the Blogger Android apps suck. I'll do a more detailed analysis later. The jota text editor is still orders of magnitude better than my crappy LG envTouch.

When I plug the phone into my USB port, the sd card nicely mounts as a drive. That was a problem with my LG envTouch. I had a hard time transferring data from phone to PC. The Windows driver was crappy/buggy, and the phone wouldn't mount properly.

I got a 16GB micro sd card from Radio Shack for $25. The 32GB cards were a *LOT* more expensive. They were $60+. Apparently, there's an "external SD card" and also an "internal SD card". There's about 2GB of internal app space. With most apps under 1-2MB, I shouldn't run out.

You can download .apk installer files on your PC and then transfer the file to your phone. That saves bandwidth.

Allegedly, Verizon banned tethering apps, because they want to sell the $10/month tethering package. The Droid 3 seems to support tethering by default. However, I tried it, and it didn't work. (However, I mysteriously get no Internet reception at home.)

The battery ran out quickly on the first day. However, some sites said that it takes a couple of charge cycles before the battery performs at 100%. Allegedly, the newer batteries don't have a "memory". (With old rechargable batteries, if you consistently only used 50% before recharging, then the max charge on the phone became 50%. The new batteries don't have that defect.) After a few days, the battery duration seems better.

I'm not going to bother with a case. I do want to get a screen protector, from my fingerprints and scratches. I've had a hard time finding a store carrying ones that fit a Droid 3. Even the Verizon store didn't have any Droid 3 compatible accessories. I got some generic screen protectors at Radio Shack.

Overall, I like the phone. It seems worth it.

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