Greetings, fellow Droids! I'm John and new to the Android world as of yesterday. I look forward to contributing to the board!
For those still reading (either you're seeking a cure for insomnia or you're a dog who's nosing his way around the room looking for food), here follows some background on my cell phone history along with a few of the frustrations experienced by this mid-30's traveling professional and average consumer:
I purchased a Motorola DROID yesterday, my first venture into the (so far) wonderful world of Android operating systems. Since my first cell phone experience back in 1994, I can remember most of the makes and models of the phones I've owned or used over the years. Some were reliable, some offered advanced functionality, but never did any phone seem to consistently offer both. I remember the groundbreaking appeal of the uber-trendy Motorola StarTAC, which was one of my first personal cell phones. It featured advanced functionality and packed in a small, sleek body. For those who owned a bag phone or the popular Motorola "Zack Morris" phone, it usually meant giving up reception and clarity when moving to cell phones which were either smaller or didn't have a huge, rubberized antenna protruding from a 13-inch long body.
When my needs evolved into the PDA/Smartphone market, it always seemed like I had to give up some key business functionality with each successive, "smarter" phone no matter the operating system, phone manufacturer or wireless provider. I've had BlackBerries, a couple Palm Treos and, most recently, an HTC Touch Pro, each of which was supposed to help me easily and efficiently streamline all contacts, activities and communications whether business or personal. When using the BlackBerry or Palm variants, I needed additional, extra server equipment or was forced to purchase third party software for the phone to function properly with whatever employer I was with at the time. There were many elements and features across individual models that seemed to work but, more often than not, each phone regularly elicited curses for its overall ineptitude. These curses were usually followed by a necessary, model-specific ritualistic series of moves designed to unfreeze the phone's operating system (I became very fast at popping off back covers of a frozen Treo to do the daily battery-removal-reset). The Alltel Touch Pro was at times a great phone, but the Windows operating system was sluggish and the battery life was so awful that when traveling (even with every communication tool and function turned off) I was forced to carry a spare battery at all times in order to last a full business day.
I have been a Google fan for years and was among the early group of Gmail adopters. The Google products work so well (that is, they do what they promise to do) that I use many of the Google applications to streamline my personal life (e-mail, photos, calendar, et al). Unfortunately, I was always forced to choose tried platforms like Palm and Microsoft to easily manage my business life. Naturally, the "Google phones" intrigued me, but as the consummate road warrior, they weren't yet a viable "business phone" platform. As far as the iPhone goes, in addition to it not being business friendly, I happen to like having a separate music/video player. Then again, neither do I purchase televisions with built-in DVD players or all-in-one toaster/microwave/blenders. Like many tech-savvy users, all I wanted was the simple ability to seamlessly access and manage all of my preferred personal and business communication portals in real time using my cell phone. It didn't matter if that portal was push e-mail from the company's Exchange server or a personal Facebook page. To date, RIM, Palm and Windows-based phones have left a great deal to be desired.
After reading dozens of online editorial and user reviews (which greatly allayed my fears, especially regarding battery life), I jumped in head first with the Motorola DROID. I have had a great experience so far, and the phone is quickly living up to its hype. Of course, my Gmail account set up in seconds, and I was pleasantly surprised when it was just as easy to set up my Exchange mail, too. The huge and ever-growing list of gadgets available is awesome, and I've already downloaded a couple dozen I can't wait to fully test. The DROID has also made managing my contacts easy (finally!). When setting up new e-mail accounts or when using some gadgets like Facebook for the first time, you are presented with the option to sync the DROID with that particular account's contact group. After syncing phonebooks or contact groups with other smartphones you're usually forced to then manually consolidate and delete duplicate and triplicate entries in your phone's contact list. The DROID miraculously – and automatically – consolidated all of the unique information and discarded the redundant information from multiple contact groups (e.g. Outlook contacts, Gmail contacts, Facebook friends, et al) into single contact entries. Fantastic.
So far, so great! I'll be checking the boards regularly to get tips and tricks and to help contribute to solutions where I'm qualified. I'm looking forward to really making this DROID work for me!