Android dreams dashed: annoyed by Droid, dismayed by Desire

Android dreams dashed: annoyed by Droid, dismayed by Desire

Summary: Not having a good Android time of it at the moment, although that's not the fault of the burgeoning operating system.As I mentioned, I managed to break the screen of my HTC Desire - just as my initial thrill of delight with the box was hardening into a long-term love affair.

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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Not having a good Android time of it at the moment, although that's not the fault of the burgeoning operating system.

As I mentioned, I managed to break the screen of my HTC Desire - just as my initial thrill of delight with the box was hardening into a long-term love affair.

I still don't know how I did it - this is the first time I've had a phone do that in my possession since the early days of TACS, but I guess they're getting fragile these days.

To get it fixed, I have to actually go to an actual shop with the actual hardware and ask what the metaphorical damage will be - something I only found out after having to remember my My T-Mobile username and password and navigate through a tortuous diagnostic process. No popping it in the post.

So, while I try and get my act together for that, I've borrowed a Motorola Droid - oh, sorry, Milestone. Which has very similar specs to the Desire; in fact, since it's a slider with a physical keyboard, you could even say it's better in some ways. And it runs much the same software: Android 2.1.

But. It doesn't tether (which the Desire did). And, although Froyo is now out for the Desire (how annoying is that?), there's no sign of it coming for the Milestone in the UK. It is for the Droid, which the phone is officially called in the US and by just about everyone in reality, but even then the phone won't get tethering. "Hasn't got the hardware", says Motorola, which is obvious balderdash: it has more than enough hardware to do either USB or Wi-Fi tethering. That's just a straightforward 'please buy our next one' stance.

And... I just don't like the Milestone very much anyway. The keyboard is just too small to be useful (and the top keys are too close to the lip of the screen for me to hit them correctly most of the time). The thing is bulky and has sharp corners. The screen is meh. There are system hangs. The controls bump easily in the pocket. The inertial scrolling is just not quite smooth enough to be nice.

It's not easy to love.

Which is a crying shame - I so want to love Motorola. It's the company that invented the walkie-talkie, kicked off mobile phones properly, and built the radios for Apollo. It's got serious radio cred.

The good news is, the threatened Android fragmentation - where different manufacturers make so many changes to their phones that it's no longer one operating system - doesn't seem to be happening. You can move between different phones without any brain judder (well, until you find your favourite feature has been turned off for marketing reasons, when you just die a little inside).

And, until I get my shattered Desire into the hands of a T-Mobile shop, it's all I've got.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Rupert Goodwins

About Rupert Goodwins

Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.

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6 comments
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  • poooor you. So pitiful, such a shame. It's very nice to use ZDNet to pour your personal complaints into the world of so-called news.
    psintel
  • The milestone tethers fine thank you very much! Just download PDAnet and it works beautifully. I regularly tether mine on car journey's where I'm not the driver to get some work done. The Google Satnav works fine at the same time as well by theway.

    How on earth did you manage to break a desire? I've dropped my milestone loads of times and it seems to be bullet proof.
    m0thman-03151
  • Oh... and by the way, the milestone's getting 2.2 in September, a month after the Desire.

    http://www.knowyourmobile.com/blog/553376/motorola_milestone_gets_android_22_in_september.html
    m0thman-03151
  • That's OK - everyone can blog here!

    As for the Milestone update - is that just in Germany?
    rupert.goodwins@...
  • Only three months of my O2 contract left - then I too can grab a Desire...at last, the phone that has everything I want.
    Manek Dubash
  • can your Milestone search any mail that isn't Gmail? that was the tin hat on the coffin nail for me - I dropped it for the Palm Pixi because it wouldn't search Exchange email, but it did have plain Android on it rather than the Moto install. I'm still missing my EVO - will try the Desire the week to see if it makes up for it (thought what I really want is a Torch because I just love the three-day battery life)
    M
    Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe