iPhone vs. Droid

I had an opportunity to play with the droid for a little while this weekend. Most of my observations are superficial and based on simplistic understanding of the device.

The Droid phone from Motorola is bulky. That’s understandable since it packs more battery and has a real keyboard, instead of the touch screen-based one that that the iPhone has. Unfortunately, Motorola could have done this more stylishly. The phone has a lot of sharp edges and didn’t feel gentle in my hands. It looked like a brick to me. Now I don’t mind the sharp edges. The Razor was a sharp looking phone with a lot of angular surfaces but it really looked like was something new and different. The Droid unfortunately reminds me of phones from the turn of the century.

Now as far as the software goes, I thought the UI was kind of clunky. The droid has a higher resolution screen, yet it fails to capitalize on it by using contrast and shades. In a way the UI reminded me a lot of Windows 3.1. Even the latest incarnation of Windows has adopted a color and contrast scheme that echoes OS X aesthetics. I suppose this is a reflection of Droid’s Android OS roots in Linux but even Linux has started to soften its tone.

Now lets come to the software. I’ve never been able to figure out the point of widgets on a phone. There is a limited screen space on a phone. Every app is friggin’ widget. What’s the point of an app that’s already smaller than a limited app on the phone.

The only thing that’s going for the Droid right now is its open development model and the Java programming language. The iPhone with its development tools limited to Macs only means that developers have to invest a lot more money to start developing for a iPhone. I think Droid and Android has some way to go before it can challenge the iPhone. What they probably have to do is to make sure that the Android experience does not splinter along handset manufacturing lines (like what happened to Windows Mobile) and keep  improving its looks.

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