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.

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.

Topics: Emerging Tech

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Editor, ZDNet UK. Ex technology/technical editor of ZDNet UK, IT Week, PC Magazine, Computer Life, Mac User, Alfa Systems, Amstrad, Sinclair. Micronet 800, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, and a dodgy TV repair shop in the back streets of Plymouth. Can still swap out a gassy PL509 with the best of 'em.Dear Reader - contact me via our m... Full Bio

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