Should You Get a Droid?

"iDon't have a real keyboard…iDon't run simultaneous apps…iDon't take 5-megapixel pictures…"

These are the first three points in a powerful smackdown ad campaign for the Motorola Droid, clearly targeting the iPhone. The message is clear: where the iPhone lacks, Droid excels.

While most of us are probably yawning at yet another iPhone comparison, the strategy has paid off. Sales for the Droid are estimated at 700,000 already, and are expected to hit 1 million by the end of the year. But does the Droid live up to the hype? And how does it stand up to the expectations of enterprises? Let's take a look at these questions in more depth.

What the Droid Offers
Many of the Droid's more exciting features have been publicized in the ubiquitous online and TV ads—support for simultaneous apps, a 5-megapixel camera, and a removable battery. The Droid's 3.7 inch screen displays 854x480 pixels, making it one of the best resolutions available on a smartphone. Performance appears to be comparable to competing devices, but check out this review on engadget for a more in-depth look at hardware and performance specs.

Above all, the Droid is available on Verizon's network. This is probably its biggest selling point, considering Verizon's network is widely accepted as the most reliable network, offering the greatest national 3G coverage (as recent ads targeting AT&T have been quick to point out).

New Android 2.0 Features
While Android 2.0 may not be a huge evolution from previous versions, there are a few noticeable enhancements. First off, Android 2.0 supports multiple Gmail and Exchange accounts, letting you create a universal inbox for all your accounts. Another feature (which is heavily promoted in the Android 2.0 video) is Quick Contact, which lets you tap on any contact and have a window pop up with all the different ways you can communicate with that contact (social media, email, view a map of his/her home address, etc.). While it hardly offers the tight social networking integration of devices such as the Palm Pre and Motorola CLIQ, it's a good blend for people that use various social networks but don't want a device that revolves around them.

One final really cool thing about Android 2.0 is turn-by-turn GPS navigation, which, if you're like me, is basically an essential to survive.

Android and the Enterprise
Can you use the Droid and other Android phones in the enterprise? Sure. Do they offer the kind of security and management features out-of-the-box that BlackBerry devices and Windows Mobile phones have? Certainly not. As stated in this CNET article, Android supports ActiveSync, but can't sync Tasks, To-do lists, and Memos.

The article goes on to express concern with the fact that Android doesn't allow for remote wipe (in the event of a device being lost/stolen) or remote provisioning/setup. But these concerns can be easily conquered—many mobile management products today support Android devices, granting remote wipe/provisioning and a lot more. So, assuming your organization has a multi-platform mobile management solution in place, using the Droid should be no big obstacle.

Closing Thoughts
I think the Droid is a strong choice. Most of the Android phones currently in the market are somewhat lackluster, and Windows Mobile is quickly becoming the joke of the marketplace. If your organization doesn't support a variety of devices, push for it—smartphones are a big source of individual expression, especially for VIPs. Great network, snazzy device, and it's not an iPhone. Being a Droid user is pretty cool in my book.

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