Droid review draws loyalist debate

Few products seem to draw out more passion and partisanship than that exhibited by smart phone owners—and especially among iPhone aficionados. So it wasn’t surprising to see readers jamming up the comments box on GCN.com after our review of the new Droid smart phone by Motorola being offered by Verizon.

Few products seem to draw out more passion and partisanship than that exhibited by smart phone owners—and especially among iPhone aficionados. So it wasn’t surprising to see readers jamming up the comments box on GCN.com after our review of the new Droid smart phone by Motorola being offered by Verizon.

The GCN Lab team praised the Droid, calling the new phone, which features the Android 2.0 operating system from Google, a potential game-changer in the government market. The reason: It broadens the market for mobile application developers. Apple subjects iPhone developers to proprietary rules and potential veto. Droid has no such limitations.

As often happens in response to product reviews, the comments quickly devolved into questions of favoritism and Apple-bashing.

“Droid does it better....than what?” asks one reader. “The reviewer seems to have based his review on his personal opinion of Apple's iPhone app approval process, which has spawned over 10x the apps for the Droid.”

“Thanks for the same old lack of useful information-- just like the Mac vs. PC adverts we see on TV,” wrote another reader. “If I wanted ideology, I'd read Politico. How about some real information for a change instead of the usual trash from 'true believers' on either side?

“This review is laughable,” wrote another reader. “Yes there is a review process for the iPhone and that is why the apps work. Open source is great except for the fact that anyone can write code for it and it won't matter if it conflicts with other programs running. I have personally used the Droid and believe me, it is no iPhone, not even close. This reviewer obviously has it in for Apple. Yeah, they are horrible (sarcasm). It is really crummy to have your computer and accessories work like they are supposed to.”

How did a review on the Droid end up as Apple bashing?” wondered another reader. “Oh and that feature you rave about 'so that anyone can make applications for it without fear of any type of censorship from any parent company' just means you'll get a ton of free hacks and viruses. Enjoy your Droid!"

On the other side of the argument were reactions from first-hand Droid owners who found their own things to like and dislike with the Droid.

“I moved to Droid the first day Verizon made it available, and it's far superior than any phone I've used, including the iPhone, “ said one reader.

“I have the Droid and had the Apple, Palm, and other PDAs,” wrote another reader. “The Droid is much better for what I do with it. It is not the Apple and that is good. My MS word, PPT and spreadsheets work very well as does the PDF application… I’ll keep the Droid!”

But said another reader: “I returned my Droid because it doesn't work well with MS Exchange. The calendar doesn't sync up and both Motorola and Verizon acknowledged the problem and told me they didn't know if or when this problem will be fixed.” (We’re checking on that.)

Fortunately, somewhere in the middle, were some practical responses from that added more light than heat to the discussion. Among them, from someone who appreciates the nature of government mobile communications:

“The Android is an open source mobile OS that enables multi-apps processing on a mobile device, meaning more the one application can run simultaneously. Think of what that means to government users in terms of their respective missions. What distinguishes Android from other Linux platforms is its Dalvik virtual machine. It provides a layer for programmers so they do not have to worry about the underlying hardware on which Android is deployed. This enables government developers to port applications across different hardware, making it platform independent. Isn't that what the government has been asking for-- application reuse? When it comes to the tactical edge, Droid has a replaceable battery. Imagine not being able to replace your battery during an operation or crisis situation.

NEXT STORY: Hands on with Army Go Mobile gear

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