Incredible Droid

image It’s pretty easy for me to gush wildly about Android phones as I’m a bit of a mobile technology geek.  From my first mobile device the Apple Newton 130 to Microsoft Palm sized PC based competitors to the Palm Pilot, to my current favorite of Android based devices I’ve mostly kept on top of the current state of the art.

Of course I couldn’t always afford the latest and greatest, so like any geek worth their statistical prowess I’d read & re-read any materials I could find on my favorite mobile devices.  Nowadays, that fascination and passion has turned to social media (sorry folks, you’re stuck with me), but mobile is one of the key technologies in our mobile lives and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check out new things.

So when an opportunity to check out a new Smartphone or other piece of mobile tackle comes along, I’m all over it.  Such is the case with Verizon’s Droid Incredible (by HTC).


The Incredible is an Android based Smartphone with host of great features.  I’ll knock out some of the top items a techy geek like me thinks are important.  It’s got a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3.7” 480×800 AMOLED display, 8 megapixel camera with flash, and 1xEVDO rev. A 3G from Verizon.  Things I’m taking for granted are here too: Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, Android 2.1 (Eclair), microSD (up to 32GB), push mail (Gmail/Exchange), and Micro USB connection/charger.

Personally I’m on my 2nd Android phone (the Nexus One), and have had the opportunity to use many others (Droid, Droid Eris, Hero, Cliq, MyTouch 3G, G1) so I felt pretty comfortable with the device.  The phone is a “candy bar” style, meaning it’s basically a slab, and doesn’t have any flip-out or slide-out parts – and that’s a darn good thing in my book.  Less stuff to break.

Front View with Optical Joystick The large screen dominating the face of the phone is fantastic brightly lit and crystal clear, with flush touch-sensitive buttons for Back, Settings, Home, and Search built into the lower edge.  An “optical joystick” is a nice alternative to the standard Android trackball, works well, and is intuitive in function.

Performance of this phone is excellent, matched only by the Nexus One, and probably by other phones based on the 1GHz Snapdragon processor.  This alone makes Android exceptionally snappy and fun to use.  Video streams play without stutters, and audio quality is flawless – either from the included 8GB microSD card, or streamed over a variety of wireless options.

Back View Since this is an HTC device, sold by Verizon, it carries the signature HTC Sense UI.  This enhanced interface that rides on top of Android, provides a bit more consumer-centric interface than the default one designed by Google.  It also brings a uniformity of usability when you compare your Incredible to your friends Droid, Eris, or Hero and other HTC phones on other networks.

I didn’t use the camera too much, but it worked as expected and I thought the quality of the pictures was perhaps a bit better than on my Nexus One.  This is probably due to the 8MP camera in the Incredible, and the ability to upload directly to Picasa was flawless. Below is a sample picture I took out the window.


That brings up another aspect of Android that folks like me take for granted.  All Android phones, the Incredible included, are closely tied to Google online services.  That’s not to say that you can’t use other services, and tools, but the integration of Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Talk, Voice, and Picasa is impressive.  This is what you’d expect from well planned online integration – something that each of these online services were not originally designed for but have developed into over time.  The HTC Sense UI doesn’t break this as much as enhance it.

Here’s a few pics to show how the Incredible stacks up with a few Android phones I had lying around.  (From left to right: T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile/Motorola Cliq XT, Google Nexus One, Verizon/HTC DROID Incredible)


Stacked up to show thickness.

(From top to bottom: T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile/Motorola Cliq XT, Google Nexus One, Verizon/HTC DROID Incredible)

Left Side View

Right Side View

Bottom View

Top View

There are a couple of personal opinions I want to share,  One about the phone and one about Verizon & Skype.

  • First, the case on this particular phone is as creaky as an old guy’s knee (I should know, I’m developing one).  It’s probably because this is a promotional unit that’s seen several different people over the past couple weeks for review purposes – exactly why I have this one.  But if the case gets this loose and “creaky” in few weeks use, what will it be like in year?  Like I said, it could simply be this unit.
  • Second, the relationship of Skype and Verizon – and my point is directed more at Skype than the big V.  I really want to thank Skype for signing up with Verizon to only allow the Skype Android Client to be offered to Verizon customers only – what a bunch of bullshit.  There are millions of Skype customers on Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and pre-paid networks too – thanks for leaving us out in the cold.

To conclude, the Verizon Droid Incredible is a great phone, it’s Highly recommended for Verizon offers.  It’s a sister to the much-vaunted and desired Google Nexus One, and is available and supported through Verizon.  You can order the phone now, but don’t expect it to ship until May 14th – though I’ll tell you it’ll be worth the wait.


Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Ok, in a moment of weakness (or brilliance… you decide) I jumped at the change to go back to a simple feature phone rather than a smartphone.  So my trusty T-Mobile MDA (my MDA Page is here) has been replaced with the phone you see to the right – a Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. I’d been planning on waiting it out for the US version of the HTC Touch Diamond that would leverage T-Mobile’s 3G network. Or biting the bullet and jumping from T-Mobile to AT&T just for the 3G iPhone this summer.

Instead, I found something that I hadn’t been looking for. Simplicity at a price that I couldn’t pass up. While talking with Amy about phone and such, it dawned on me that the one function of my phone that I use more than anything is… voice calls!?! Yep, turns out all the fancy ‘why? because I can stuff’ just doesn’t count for much when all I really used all my smartphones for over the years is voice calls.

Sure, I’ve used weather apps, email apps, feed aggregators, note taking apps, the new fancy touch-scrolling “today” apps, and many, many, many others.  But in the last year, they’ve really not been of use to me. Probably because of having a laptop with me more often than not, and the proliferation of WiFi.

Still there where two items that I couldn’t live without. Tethering of my laptop and the ability to receive email. Tethering and using the phone’s EDGE service works fine, but alas, email simply sux. I’m working on a solution to that, but it’s not a show stopper. A nifty feature is the ability to sync music with Windows Media Player & Rhapsody’s 4+ million tracks. Kicks ass as a media player, something I hadn’t planned on but was drawn to in the end. I happened to capture a speedtest while connected via EDGE and testing that out.


Then nice thing is that for the first time in about 5 years (probably longer) I’ve got a sexy little phone rather than a big brick hanging off my belt. The fact that it was uber affordable in comparison to a smartphone that’d not use 1/10th of the features helps too.

Being a IT guy, and a technologist at heart, I still long for the big-buck devices… I just don’t have a real use for them at this time. We’ll see if this lasts.

jkOnTheRun: Has a UMPC influenced your smartphone usage?

mobilityKevin C. Tofel has posted a fantastic article over at jkOnTheRun that got me thinking.  The article talks about mobility And how the features of his UMPC have augmented his smartphone.

In answering a reader’s question about what smartphone software he recommends, Kevin talks about how most of the functionality he used on his smartphone simply works better on his UMPC.  I also have noticed a big change in how I use my mobile devices.  Ever since I started using standby and sleep molds, my laptop usage has changed dramatically.

I have found that using standby allows me to get to my desktop faster and with minimal hassle.  Since about February of this year, my laptop has become more useful and I have become more productive.  Unfortunately, this also means that I have been using my smartphone much less than I have in the past.

On my pocket PC I have many software packages installed, but find myself using them less and less often.  For example, I have a blogging client on my pocket PC but rarely use it because it is much harder than using the client on my laptop.  I also have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for my device but again find it cumbersome to use.

While I do not have a UMPC device, I have noticed a significant difference in how well use mobile computers.  So how has a UMPC or other mobile computer change the way you use your smartphone? 

 Via: jkOnTheRun – Has a UMPC influenced your smartphone usage?

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T-Mobile Wing – To Upgrade…or not

T-Mobile has finally released an upgrade to their popular MDA called the ‘Wing’.  I’ve been a happy T-Mobile MDA owner for well over a year and am trying to decide whether to upgrade to the Wing or wait for the next version.

The Wing is a nice upgrade, revamped keyboard with larger keys, Bluetooth 2.0, 2 Megapixel camera, and Windows Mobile 6.  What isn’t updated is the RAM/ROM, which really isn’t a problem, and the processor which runs at 200MHz.  The MDA has the same speed processor in it an can at times be really slow.  The other item that many, including myself, are missing is the 3G portion.  Yes, Tmo only has EDGE right now, and will use a different 3G frequency when they do roll UMTS and HSDPA later this year.

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New smartphone from HP

Hewlett Packard iPAQ 514 Voice MessengerI’m not sure that I really trust HP to produce a good phone… why is that?  I really enjoyed my HP iPaq h4155 a few years back, but everything since has been a disappointment.  Please note that I haven’t bought an HP mobile device since the 4155, so my opinions are solely based on limited-time tests, betas, and technical specs.

Trusted Reviews has a one (a review that is) on the new Hewlett Packard iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger which they rate as 8 out of 10 on an average.

Though the screen is a bit low on the resolution side (176×220 – how old school), it is a full 2″ diagonal screen.  Other features include a 1.3MP camera, WiFi, and Bluetooth.  It does have a quad-band radio with EDGE support, 200MHz processor, standard 64/128MB RAM/ROM, and microSD slot.

It does run Windows Mobile 6, so its not likely to be behind the OS feature curve for some time, but for me, the low resolution, standard “candy bar” layout, and lack of a QWERTY input device means that it will not be on my list any time soon.

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