Okay, you know I love the Droid, but…
I’m beginning to figure out what I don’t like about it and why.
First overall, there’s a lack of attention to detail that makes the Droid frustrating to use. Has anyone on the Google team used the Droid to watch a full-length movie? It can be done, but you have to be careful about how you hold it. It’s hard to explain. When you’re watching a movie on a phone, your hands get tired, so you have to change the way your fingers are holding the phone every so often. But be careful what you touch. There are a lot of little buttons all around the phone. Touch the wrong one, and the movie starts over from the beginning. Watching Fargo, an excellent movie for checking out a new phone (I never get tired of it), it started over a dozen times. Somehow, for some reason, this never happens with a movie on an iPhone.
This leads to the trouble with the camera. I know it has a lot of megapixels and it does movies, but it’s slow and awkward to use. I went to pick up some Chinese food this evening, and thought I’d take a quick picture of the kitchen. On the iPhone it would have taken two or three gestures. On the Droid, I fussed and pressed buttons and clicked and tried over and over to take a picture. I felt like everyone in the restaurant was watching me. No pictures.
It’s not all about megapixels
Earlier in the day on a walk in the neighborhood, I stopped several times to take a picture. Only one of them made it up to Flickr, and it took a couple of minutes of fussing to do it. The beauty of the iPhone camera is how quick it is. A communicating camera has to be fast. The whole idea is you’re going to take quick pictures while doing other things. If it’s not quick you don’t take the pictures, which thwarts the whole purpose of carrying the real-time camera with you.
I said in my inaugural post on this blog that one of the three things I valued in the iPhone is the camera. It seems I may have to keep the iPhone and carry it with me just to get that function. But I’m not giving up on the Droid. I’m an experienced computer novice, I’ve been a newbie many many times. And I know that this may just be the strangeness of a new device, and I may find a workflow that works.
On the other hand it could be that neither Apple or Google has figured this out yet. It could be that there’s a separate market for a communicating camera. I wonder why Canon and Kodak aren’t active in this area.
Another aside, I have a Flip and a Kodak, I bought the former, and was given the latter as a speaker at #140conf in LA. I don’t use either, because neither communicat. I have a Canon PowerShot that I use when I need a high-res picture, and now I’m contemplating carrying an iPhone just to use it as a communicating camera. All this says to me that there is a niche for a communicating camera.
And my main conclusion after three days of Droid use, it’s still lovable, but it needs a solid human factors going-over. It is nowhere near as nicely groomed as the iPhone is. But its openness is still impressive. For example today I thought to look to see if there are BitTorrent clients for Android. There are! Bravo.
Finally I’d like to welcome three new writers for this site: Josh Turmel, Christopher Smith and Michael Gartenberg. This is going to be a community site, the more points of view the better. I hope to get some people who are skeptical about the Droid, as well. As you can see in this post, I have a fair amount of skepticism myself. 🙂