Motorola DROID Does? A Deep Dive Look

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User Interface



Next we'll take you on a nickel tour of the DROID in action...


During the initial setup of the DROID, you'll be asked to set up your Google Account. You can skip this step if you like, but keep in mind that many features of the phone such as Google Talk, Contact sync with the cloud, Google Latitude, Calendar, and the Android Market require a Gmail account. If you don't already have a Gmail account, you can set one up from the phone for free.

 

After you've completed initial setup, you'll see the DROID's home screen that has three fully customizable panels. The middle screen is shown by default with a handful of icons. You can scroll to the left or to the right to see the additional home screens. By dragging the tab located at the bottom of the screen upward, you'll get access to the full list of applications available on the DROID. You can add shortcuts to any of these applications to your home screens.

In addition to adding icons to your home screens, you can also add widgets. Verizon describes widgets as home screen icons that add content to a page that is not static. To add a widget, tap the menu button, select "add", and then choose Widgets. You can also access the add menu by tapping and holding anywhere on the home screen. You'll then see a list of widgets that you can add. There are widgets for the calendar applications, Facebook, and much more. You can also download widgets from the Android Market.

If you decide you no longer want to see a widget or shortcut on the home screen, tap and hold your finger on that item and then drag it to the Trash can at the bottom of the screen. You can also rearrange items by tapping, holding, and dragging them into place.

 

The DROID comes preloaded with a number of applications including an alarm clock, Amazon MP3, calculator, Facebook, Google Maps, Google Talk, YouTube, and more. For additional free and paid apps, the Android Market is also available with access to quite a few titles.

By tapping the microphone icon at the top of the Home screen (it's also available on many other screens), you'll activate the DROID's voice search feature. This feature lets you speak search terms to the phone. In our tests, the speech recognition feature worked very well. Assuming you've allowed the phone to share location information with Google, you can also perform local searches using the voice search feature. For example, by saying "pizza," we were able to find a list of nearby pizza restaurants using our voice.

At the top of any screen, you'll see the Notifications Panel. Here, you can get information about SMS messages, email, and much more with a simple glance. By touching and dragging the Notifications Panel downward, you'll see a more detailed view of all of the notifications.



For business users, one of the more useful features of the DROID may be the Corporate Calendar and the ability to sync Mail, Contacts, and one's Calendar over the air with an Exchange server. If you set up your corporate email account within the Email application, the Corporate Calendar will automatically be set up as well.

In terms of storage, the DROID comes with a 16GB microSD card preinstalled. You can swap out cards if you like, but you'll have to remove the battery to do so. By connecting the DROID to your PC via a USB cable and mounting the phone via the Notifications Panel, you can drag and drop music, video, pictures, and much more to and from the DROID.

Overall, we were pleased with the DROID's interface. Anytime you pick up a new phone, there's likely to be at least a small learning curve. Thankfully, Motorola kept things relatively simple and intuitive with the DROID, which should help minimize this learning curve for both novice and more advanced users.

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