You've probably seen the ad, if you were watching sports at all this weekend. But in case you haven't, I've put it below. Inconsistent apostrophes included.
This device is widely rumored to be the Motorola Sholes/Tao (pictured below) with an amazing 480 x 854 pixel screen, and it would be the first device running Android 2.0. This sounds like a great device and some much needed competition for the iPhone . . . but there are a few caveats.
The commercial lists some things you can't do with an iPhone and then proceeds to go into future nightmare/Max Headroom mode announcing the "iDon't Droid."
iDon't have a real keyboard
iDon't run simultaneous apps
iDon't take night shots
iDon't allow open development
iDon't run widgets
iDon't have interchangeable batteries
Most of the things in the list won't matter for most users or are ambiguous at best.
The 5-megapixel camera that takes pictures in the dark is probably closest, except I don't care about megapixels or a LED flash that barely works -- I just want a better lens on my phone.
The batteries: I don't want to carry around an extra battery and if I do need extras I'll just buy an external battery adapter which I bet is less expensive than the replaceable batteries in the Droid.
The real vs. screen keyboard battle has been raging for a long time. Sure, I'd rather have a real keyboard and some extra screen space while I am typing, but I don't think I'd trade it for having to slide out an extra portion of the phone to do it. It is a trade-off that I know some people will embrace -- I'll take a wait and see on this one.
As for running apps in the background, I do it currently with a jailbroken iPhone. For the most part, this isn't necessary and also causes battery and stability issues. For most people this isn't an issue either.
Most interestingly perhaps, Verizon is taking on a handset maker (Apple), itself being a wireless provider. Yes, this is weird and makes little sense on the surface.
Verizon Cripples Handsets
To understand what this really means, you have to look at Verizon's other handsets. Verizon is going to have their fingerprints all over this Droid thing. For instance, they are notorious for blocking Bluetooth access to devices, only allowing headsets to connect. They also force their customers to use their own branded VZ Navigator GPS service instead of, for instance, picking their favorite at the Android Catalog. Photos and videos? Verizon VCast Video services will probably be your only choice. They haven't gone public with this information yet, so these are all guesses, but I wouldn't be surprised to see limitations and a big fat walled garden put on this thing.
So I don't think it will be "Open" at all.
And that brings me to one last observation. The iPhone isn't going on Verizon ... neither is any Apple product (tablet?). Not for the foreseeable future anyway. This "iDon't" commercial signals the end of that speculation. So we can all move along now with the knowledge that even though AT&T is a horrific carrier and its service isn't the best, they might just be the best the American marketplace has to offer.
This story, "Verizon's Droid Campaign Attacks iPhone " was originally published by Computerworld.