Motorola Droid: Why Companies Should Take a Page from It

by on July 22nd, 2014
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Two years ago Android was barely a blip on Apple’s radar and the only notable phone in their lineup was the G1. Verizon, known for their network rather than their phones, had an extremely limited selection of smart phones, which made the iPHone the only option for anyone desiring a smartphone. AT&T had an exclusive contract with Apple, but Verizon desperately needed a smart phone. The Motorola Droid had the potential to be their saving grace. This is a look back at a classic Android phone and how it shaped the mobile phone industry. To find out how well it delivered, you’ll have to read on.


The aluminum frame surrounding the screen of the Droid, the nicely put together soft touch backing, and the weight of the device definitely gives it a high end feel even looking back from a vastly different smartphone market. It was firm enough to be a quality device and, despite it’s oddly shaped chin and design, it is extremely easy to hold in the hand. The battery compartment was a little weak and could have been improved, but was a minimal issue. The keyboard was the big draw of the Droid, but it had a weak spot. The keyboard had a very hard learning curve to be able to use it properly, which may have turned a few customers away. The creative design of the sliding mechanism letting the microphone sit beside the keyboard on the bottom half of the phone, while letting the screen sit on top of the keyboard allowed the microphone to be exposed at all times. The aggressive chin was definitely the most noteworthy feature in the design of the phone, which made it the first “cool” smartphone in Verizon’s lineup. This phone looked cool, but was the software able to live up to its hardware expectations, or was it the lotus of smartphones? (A Lotus is widely known to be a very good looking sports car, but lacks the punch that its competition has in actual specs and drivability.)


I consider this to be the most important part of this look back because this is really what made the experience wonderful for me. The Droid’s software was almost stock Android, which was fantastic because it meant that there was no meddling from the manufacturer. There was no Blur, Sense, or Touchwiz on top, which I think we have forgotten what it’s like to experience. These are all “skins” that phone makers load on top of Android in hopes of improving it. In later iterations it got a few upgrades from Motorola, but not enough to tarnish the experience. Stock android at this time was by no means perfect, but it was much better than what HTC and Samsung are coming out with because what Samsung and other companies overlay on the actual operating system make it more difficult to use. (I know the first complaint about stock Android is going to be the white notification bar.) It didn’t need to be perfect because all the benchmarks in the world don’t equate to real world functionality and a responsive, fast operating system. The original Droid’s software was simple and, because of it’s simplicity, it was clean and easy to use. It may not have had some of the features that the iPhone had at the time, but it was simple and wasn’t bogged down by alterations by handset manufacturers, which resulted in a more enjoyable product.

Wrap Up

The original Droid by Motorola was a giant leap forward for Android and, sadly, more recent software has taken a step back from this device, despite huge advances in hardware. Hardware companies should take a good hard look at how successful the original Droid was as well as why the end result was so amazing. It didn’t tamper with a good software experience by making a simple task more complicated through extra steps, which made customers happy, resulting in a sold out phone on release day in many stores. Modifications to Android like Sense, Touchwiz, and Blur have made Android phones run at a glacial pace and they have begun to ruin the Android Experience. Android fragmentation was born as a result of the desire from hardware manufacturers to differentiate their products, but companies need to recognize the immense value of a clean, lightweight version of Android without the burden of crapware or skinning. This is what makes the Droid by Motorola the best phone I have ever owned.

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