New Verizon Droid ad aims at iPhone

You’ve probably seen the ad if you were watching sports at all this weekend but in case you haven’t, I’ve put it below. Inconsistent apostrophes included.

This device is widely rumored to be the Motorola Sholes/Tao with an amazing 480 x 854 pixel screen and would be the first device running Android 2.0. (Boy Genius Report has a review and an image gallery of the Motorola Droid. It looks really impressive.) This sounds like a great device and some much needed competition for the iPhone…but there are a few caveats.

The commercial lists some things you can’t do with an iPhone and then proceeds to go into future nightmare/Max Headroom mode announcing the “iDon’t Droid.”

iDon’t have a real keyboard
iDon’t run simultaneous apps
iDon’t take night shots
iDon’t allow open development
iDon’t customize
iDon’t run widgets
iDon’t have interchangeable batteries
Everything iDon’t

Most of the things in the list won’t matter for most users or are ambiguous at best.

The 5-megapixel camera that takes pictures in the dark is probably closest, except I don’t care about megapixels or a LED flash that barely works - I just want a better lens on my phone.

The batteries: I don’t want to carry around an extra battery and if I do need extras I’ll just buy an external battery adapter which I bet is less expensive than the replaceable batteries in the Droid.

The real vs. screen keyboard battle has been raging for a long time. Sure, I’d rather have a real keyboard and some extra screen space while I am typing, but I don’t think I’d trade it for having to slide out an extra portion of the phone to do it. It is a trade-off that I know some people will embrace - I’ll take a wait and see on this one.

As for running apps in the background, I do it currently with a jailbroken iPhone. For the most part, this isn’t necessary and also causes battery and stability issues.For most people this isn’t an issue as well.

There are a few other revelations in the commercial. It says the release is on October 30th (if you read the XML of that little alien handwriting on the bottom [via Engadget]).

Most interestingly perhaps, Verizon is taking on a handset maker (Apple’s iPhone), itself being a wireless provider. Yes, this is weird and makes little sense on the surface.

Verizon cripples handsets.

To understand what this really means, you have to look at Verizon’s other handsets. Verizon is going to have their fingerprints all over this Droid thing. For instance, it is notorious for blocking Bluetooth access to devices, only allowing headsets to connect. It also forces its customers to use its own branded VZ Navigator GPS service instead of, for instance, picking their favorite at the Android Catalog. Photos and videos? Verizon VCast Video services will probably be your only choice. It hasn't gone public with this information yet, so these are all guesses, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see limitations and a big fat walled garden put on this thing.

So I don’t think it will be “Open” at all.

And that brings me to one last observation. The iPhone isn’t going on Verizon… neither is any Apple product (tablet?). Not for the foreseeable future anyway. This “iDon’t” commercial signals the end of that speculation. So we can all move along now with the knowledge that even though AT&T is a horrific carrier and its service isn’t the best, they might just be the best the American marketplace has to offer.

This story, "New Verizon Droid ad aims at iPhone" was originally published by Computerworld.

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