It's been a while since I've written anything about my life as a smartphone addict. The reason is simple: It's a little embarrassing to claim the moniker of "smartphone addict" when you're stuck using a mobile device from the Stone Age. Of course, the Stone Age in mobile technology at this point is anything more than a year or 18 months ago. As of today, however, I've abandoned my stalwart original Droid by Motorola and am now using the Droid Razr Maxx.
Two years ago, I wrote about my selection process that landed me on my first smartphone, the Droid. At the time, there were signs that the Android mobile OS was on the rise, but it still felt like a bit of a risk. I certainly have never regretted my choice, even with all the -- quite legitimate -- problems with the Android ecosystem, ranging from malware in the Android Market to OS version fragmentation across devices that can be a real headache for IT departments.
Although my Droid has been with me through many adventures and has continued to function admirably, albeit a bit sluggishly, particularly with more recent apps, there hasn't been anything really exciting added since the Froyo update (Android 2.2) nearly a year and half ago. It's the Android device largely responsible for the rise of Android, but it was left to languish as all the newer, more powerful Droids supplanted it.
Now I'm using the Razr Maxx and am once again glad to be using the Droid that most reviewers seem to feel is the current pinnacle of the Android ecosystem. Of course, the time it spends on that peak is no doubt limited to weeks or a month -- until the next latest and greatest device sets the Android ecosystem a-buzzing. That's the nature of the mobile game these days, but what are you going to do?
I'll surely be writing more about how my addiction is fed by this new device, but here are some initial thoughts. The Razr Maxx is simply a sleek and beautiful piece of hardware. No, it's not as thin as its immediate predecessor and namesake, but as I saw someone tweet just the other day, whoever rejected a phone because it wasn't thin enough? The screen is clear and brilliant.
The Droid Razr Maxx doesn't come natively with Android 4.0, the Ice Cream Sandwich update, which is a big update by all accounts. Currently only the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is launching with that latest OS, but the Razr Maxx and the Razr are both promised to get the upgrade. In the meantime, I'll have the chance to get used to all the other nifty new features and gizmos the Razr Maxx offers that my old Droid didn't.
I spent several hours last night "moving in" to the new phone -- setting up email, Facebook, Twitter, which was all quite straightforward and easy to do. What I found slightly annoying is that there's no simple way to automatically pull all my downloaded apps from my old phone to the new one. Sure, through the Android Market, you can re-download to any device any app you've previously purchased, which is a very nice feature. However, it doesn't work with free apps you've downloaded -- for those, you have to manually search to find them before you can download again. Not nice.
I was up customizing the new Droid into the wee hours last night. (OK, the hour wasn't really very wee; only about 10:30 or 11:00.) At one point, during a short lull in the howling, snow-filled wind, I happened to notice the flicker of the 4G LTE indicator. There for a moment, and then it was gone. I live on the edge of 4G coverage, so it remains to be seen how much it will come in there. But today, I've been at my office in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I've had solid 4G all day. I haven't had the opportunity to put it to any speed tests, yet -- but that will come. I envision search races against the iPhone users around me. Heh.
The other big and obvious feature of the Razr Maxx is the battery -- the reason it's not so thin, and indeed its whole reason for being, some would say. Although I haven't really stressed it out with high-performance apps, I did use the device for three or four hours last night, without much time for the screen to rest. I took it off the charger around 5:00 p.m., I didn't plug it in overnight (which normally I would certainly do), and I've had typical use throughout today. Around noon, I got a notice from Smart Actions that it could very kindly help me conserve battery power, as it had sunk to 20 percent. Smart Actions: engaged!
I've got a lot more to investigate with this phone. Initial reactions are very good, though. The touch screen keyboard seems slightly slow to respond at times; I'll look into settings for that -- plus, unlike my old Droid, the Razr Maxx includes Swype technology, so I'll have to check that out at some point. I haven't even looked at the camera, or Motocast, or many other fine productivity tools that no smartphone addict should be without. Which means, stay tuned -- more to come on this one.