I wasn’t getting anywhere with the Exchange client that came with the Droid X, so I downloaded one called Touchdown. Not only did Touchdown work better for me, it provided logs of its interaction with the server which helped me to figure out what was going wrong.
With the Exchange client working, I downloaded and set up some free apps, and also customized the screens. There’s a lot more customization to do than on the iPhone, since in addition to icons associated with launching applications, you can populate the screen with widgets that actuate services and/or display information. These widgets are not restricted to the size and shape of the standard app icons. Indeed, the app icons themselves can be resized. The whole thing makes for a richer interaction at the OS screen level than with the iPhone.
Happy with how the free apps were working out, I tried to buy an app. No go. The Droid gave me this error message: “A network error has occurred. Retry, or cancel and return to the previous screen.” Repeated tries produced the same result. Searching for the message produced a flood of entries. It seems that Android phones can get confused about their primary Google account, and when that happens, you see the above message. The most reliable fix reported was a hard reset. There were instructions posted about how to clear the primary Google account without a reset, but they were for a different version of Android than the one in the Droid X, and I couldn’t make them work.
I called Verizon support just for drill. The tech had never heard of the problem, and led me through a few generic networking tests (Can you browse the web? Can you receive email? Let’s try a soft reset.) before saying that the only thing left in her bag of tricks was a hard reset. I gave up and did it. When the phone came up, auto-activation worked (it hadn’t the first time). Then I created a brand new Google account just for the phone. I will not add another Google account to this phone, as I have read that doing that can cause the problem to recur.
I redid all my customizations, loaded the free apps, as well as buying a few apps. It went a lot faster the second time, but there was a repeated glitch where the system would have a network error right after I entered all my credit card information, and when I went back to that screen, all the fields were blank, and I had to fill them in again (The Droid X virtual keyboard is a whole lot better than the one on the iPhone, but it’s still no joy to use.). On the fourth try, it worked. Now my credit information is in Google’s cloud (not a particularly comforting thought) and I won’t have to enter it again.
The Droid X is set up and working fine. Next, an assessment.