The Droid X appears to be a worthy competitor to the iPhone. It is a less mature product, with releases to the OS coming thick and fast, and it is a bit less polished.
The philosophical difference between the two OSs appears to be similar to the philosophies of the two companies: Apple’s approach sacrifices control for simplicity, and wishes to control all aspects of the user experience: the hardware, the GUI, and the apps. Google takes a more cavalier approach: let others design the hardware, let the user control more things, and let the marketplace sort it out. The two companies agree on control of the application purchase experience.
Droid X negatives:
- The iPhone music player is prettier and more functional.
- There are a lot more iPhone apps available, although, with Android now outselling iPhones, that could change. The iPhone apps that are available appear more mature.
- The controls on Apple’s own apps are better thought out than on the apps that ship with the Droid X. The cute rolling wheels to set the date and time of an appointment, for example, have no counterpart anywhere near as elegant on the Droid X.
- The OS communications on the iPhone appears to be somewhat more reliable. Setup is easier on the Apple products.
Droid X pluses:
- Because of the widgets, the Droid X can be set up to be prettier and more convenient to use than the iPhone.
- The interchangeable battery on the Droid X is a big plus, and there is supposed to be an extended-life version available, but I can’t find anyone who has it in stock. Battery life on both phones is about the same: marginal to get through a whole day. The Droid X does charge quite rapidly.
- The big screen is a joy. The bigger virtual keyboard is a huge improvement. I don’t miss the extra resolution that the iPhone 4 provides.
- Verizon. ‘Nuff said.
- The ability to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot is nice. I initially thought that it was a waste of twenty bucks a month, then I realized that I could drop my thirty-dollar AT&T subscription on my iPad if I used it. I haven’t tried it yet, though.
- The haptic feedback is surprisingly useful, especially in bright light.
- The gesture-based device unlocking is fast and convenient, although more prone to a bystander seeing the unlocking information than entering keystrokes.
- Performance is good, except with Flash. I haven’t seen any evidence of memory leaks like on the iPhone OS, but it’s early days.
Overall, if I could get it on Verizon, I’d rather have an iPhone. But hardware and software choices dictate network choices, and I’m happy with the Droid X.