Hey everyone. 1st post here, so pls forgive any newbie forum mistakes.
After 3-1/2 days, I am totally awed by this device.
It replaced an aging AT&T BlackJack (BJ). I only bought the Droid after verifying existence of an external entenna port under the battery cover, because I work inside a concrete, windowless bunker located inside an aircraft hangar. I am in Pacific NW - meaning it's usually overcast and raining. With my BJ inside the bldg I have zero bars 95% of the time (even on the best of days). I also use VZW Novatel USB727 connected to my laptop (AT&T never could get the BJ to tether with their plan) and require an external antenna to boost the signal enough to maintain a connection. I can connect for data most days - but at very minimal 1X speeds.
I brought the Droid into my office on Christmas eve to see if my external antenna connector would fit the incredibly tiny jack under the battery cover. Nope. But... wait a minute... am I seeing 3~4 bars with a 3G indication? Without an external antenna?! "No way", I thought. Then I began testing downloads (apps, for example), checking my POP3 mail accounts, sending SMS, etc. It was AMAZING! The tech guy in the VZW store (Go Wireless franchise, actually) told me I may not need the antenna with the Droid, but I was very skeptical. But he was absolutely correct. So far I am mesmerized by the quality of the hardware, its tight integration with the OS, and the Google influence.
I own three personal navigator GPS (Garmin, TomTom, Navigon). The Droid's Google Maps implementation is considerably more friendly and having the satellite view (and Strret View, when necesssary) is incredible. (I do miss Garmin's desktop software, though, for planning routes and such that get downloaded into the GPS.) The Droid's GPS is very accurate; with satellite view I can actually track my movement inside my house. The blue dot is superimposed on my roof and follows me around.
The Multimedia Dock and GPS car mount work very well. The $30 dock is a bargain in my opinion, considering it comes with a 115VAC->5VDC power supply and USB to micro-USB cable. Moto even delivered it via overnight FEDEX for FREE. I bought two: one for home and one for my desk at work. And it's definitely small enough to toss inside a shoe for travel, too!
The Android Marketplace is incredibly diverse; I was very surprised. Already loaded up on some very, very useful programs including my favorite travel site (Kayak), Linked-In, MySpace, G-Mail, etc. My favorite apps to play with is "Tricorder" (I work in electronic warfare) and a couple of guitar tuners. The Tricorder app really demonstrates the amount of technology packed into this amazing little box.
Wish list of things I could use right now! (I am a newbie and these may already exist. If so, please let me know.)
1) Make the Google Maps (in navigation mode) overlay rotate so the map (or satellite view) image on the Droid's screen is always oriented the same as I view through the windshield.
2) App to 'run' the Droid from a desktop keyboard - and monitor, if possible. I found multiple apps to control a PC from the Droid (e.g., run PowerPoint) but not the other way around. A couple of Bluetooth keyboard apps are listed in the Marketplace but nothing is reviewed as stable and usable.
3) Support for a SmartCard security token. I assume this would require some kind of USB or BT connectivity for a chip reader.
4) Stand-alone battery charger. I bought a spare battery from Moto but they did not have a stand-alone charger (like the BJ included in the box with the extended-life battery.) It would have been GREAT to include this into the design of the multimedia dock! I see some big external Li-Ion batteries that you may connect and recharge, but then I have to carry another Li-Ion battery. I'd rather have a small external charger (like the BJ model) that weighs about on ounce and connects via the standard charge cables for the phone. Less stuff to carry.
Hints for other newbie Droid users:
1) Body Glove brand leather horizontal carrying case fits the Droid *perfectly*. Available at Radio Shack. It has a magnetic closure, so you have to be careful on the direction the screen faces when inserting it. (The Droid has magnetic sensors under its back cover to tell which accessories are in use. The magnetic catch on the carrying case makes the Droid think it's in GPS mode, and it turns on. So just keep the back of the Droid towrd the belt clip and away from the magnet.)
2) Some of the snap-on Droid protectors for sale in the VZW store look good and protect it, but they interfere with accessories (dock and GPS windshiled mount, for example. They also make the battery hard to change, make typing on the top row of keys difficult, and partially obscure the microphone. I ditched mine after 1-1/2 days.
3) The Droid screen seems remarkably durable. If I keep it in a carry case (like the one mentioned above) instead of a pocket with coins and keys, I don't expect the need for a protective skin. I''ll probbaly keep mine 'commando'.
Cheers! I am looking forward to participating here...