My Worst Electronic Device Ever

Is my motorola droid/millstone.

here it is alongside the Crackberry it was meant to replace.

In fact it has been completely rubbish.

  • The sideways form factor is very inconvenient
  • the on screen keyboard is laughably unusable
  • which is fine because the bundled Android email client is an embarrassment, Trades descriptions inspectors are currently  investigating whether calling it an email client is illegally misleading.
  • The physical keyboard is so flat (so it will slide under) you cant really type on it, its not contoured like the BB.
  • It weighs a ton
  • The battery takes 3+ hrs to charge and lasts 20 mins (ok – exaggeration, but it wont last 24 hrs, unless I put it in flight mode when its lasts 3 days, or in the Netherlands where it also lasts 48 hrs plus, not in the UK or CH though.
  • Android OS is ok, browser and email are appalling, but better alternatives are available in the marketplace.
  • the millstone screen could be good, but as it ignores about 80% of inputs and misinterprets the other 20 its is useless. Its too small and won’t zoom reliably.
  • The touchscream (sic) is now so totally fooked that it is unusable even by someone as calm and mild mannered as me. It has been given a 2 foot drop in an attempt to fix it, but is heading for a 4 foot drop/window lob any day now
  • The music player is bearable, but close to impossible to manage a few hundred tracks.

Overall this pile of pants has put me totally off Motorola and touchscreens, I’m willing to give Android another chance, mainly cos there isn’t any real alternative. I want more control than Apple will permit, and Windows is too risky, and all the others have folded, or are about to fold I think.

I have bought a Blackberry which is a great physical device, but the software is complete rubbish. Turns out you can’t use a blackberry for anything other than phone and text without a specific blackberry data plan. The email app for example can only connect to a blackberry provider, or some web ones with a bit of messing. Far short of the ease of pointing Android at any POP or IMAP box. So the BB turns out to be a really dumb appliance. Especially when their servers go down eh?

Now RIM are struggling at the moment, and I can see why, not everyone wants to subscribe to a monthly plan to use basic services. Seems to me they could quickly and easily boost interest by porting Android to their devices. I bet given a few pointers the community would do if for them for free. Their form factor is a winner, but their software makes them a loser.

Motorola are about to release a BB form factor Android phone, but given my 12+ months of utter disappointment with the millstone I have no plans to buy anything of theirs again.

Have you got a good touch screen phone?



7 Responses to “My Worst Electronic Device Ever”

  1. Gordon Says:

    My HTC Legend is over 18 months old and only now beginning to feel a bit ‘last year’ with phones (including my wife’s personal Desire S) now whizzing around with >1GHz CPUs and stupidly large screens. It’s served me well though and I can’t seem me looking anywhere other than Android for my next phone. Here’s why:

    I may have considered Apple but my wife’s work iPhone 4 has shown me that for all their holistic-happy-clappy-design BS, they are still just as crap as the competition. The thing has required two full resets already and she’s only had it for a couple of months. Plus, it needs bloody iTunes to even work…

    Windows Phone looks interesting but it is tied to the MS stack the same way Android is to Google’s and I guess I’m just Google’s bitch.

    Don’t even get me started on BlackBerry. I endure my work one ‘cos I have to. I will say no more on the subject.

    What I’d really like then is a 3.5-3.7″ Android device with 1.2GHz dual-core chipset, 1GB RAM, a whole bunch of internal storage (at least 8GB) but it seems manufacturers only want to offer this latest kit in a package that includes an IMAX-rivalling screen. NFG.

    The aforementioned Desire S almost fits the bill though. It’s very polished and solid, both in physical and performance terms. It is a 2011 model though and with the speed of development I’ll be looking for an equivalent next year. Are you listening, HTC?

    That all said, these devices are immensely complex and have to be rushed to market to make hay while the marketing sun is shining, so we pretty much have to forgive their little flaws.

    Sounds like the Milestone is a bit of a dog though, condolences!

  2. Mattias Says:

    I have been using the Android Exchange client since Android 2.0 and works fine for me. Now I use Android 2.3 (Xperia Arc), before I had Google Nexus. I miss notes, but email + calendar works fine.

    Why wife has Xperia Mini Pro with nice keyboard, but she likes her Xperia Ray better, since smaller.

    At work, we use HTC Desire, nice phones.

    All my smartphones including iPhone needs charging EVERY night. It is almost like in the 90ies, where I had to change battery at lunchtime.

    3G takes more power than GSM. Big difference. However, EDGE is tooooooo slow. LTE will be even worse.

  3. sysmod Says:

    I use a Samsung Galaxy S II, Initially hated the touchscream (thanks for the name!) keyboard but I’m getting better at it using the little finger for more precision. Some things irritate – like why do they hide the phone numeric pad to the left when you are viewing the logs. Battery lasts a few days because I only enable the hungry things when I need them. Some websites are not designed well for mobile use eg aerlingus, and for each app the ‘accept to give them full access to your phone’ is still creepy. But for a quick google when you haven’t got a laptop, it’s very handy.

  4. Paul Mathews Says:

    Being a supremely cheap bastard, I opted to give Virgin Mobile a try (VM is owned by Sprint and ride their network) and bought one of their entry-level Android phones, the LG Optimus V (running Android 2.2). This phone has a 3.2″ screen and fits into my average sized hand about the way a phone pretty much ought to. I’ve been using this thing for about three months now. It delivers my email (gmail and hotmail), calendar (hotmail), and contacts (hotmail) pretty much okay. Can sometimes take a teeth-grinding amount of time to actually display the mail if there’s a significant sized attachment but usually, it’s a-ok. The bundled calendar only delivers only one of my hotmail calendars (I have two and my iPod delivers both of them to its calendar client) but is so ugly and ungainly it makes me want to scoop my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon. The contacts manager is actually okay (doesn’t deliver Groups but fortunately I ask so little of it). The browser, likewise doesn’t piss me off all that much (which, with these devices is sort of great). Non-mobile adapted websites are fun because I like to read stuff that appears to be rendered in 0.00001-point font. All in all though, for $150 for the phone and a measly $25 a month for 300 minutes of voice and unlimited text and data (I was grandfathered into that price, it’s $35 a month now), I haven’t much to complain about. Android’s not as slick as iOS but then, as someone else mentioned, I’m not shackled to iTunes or anything else in the Apple ecosystem.

    If you’re curious, here it is:

  5. dan l Says:


    I was on the Android train pretty early, circa the first week of the G1. I’m now on my third device, most recently the EVO. There is a list of things I really like, but there’s a list of things I’m not at all fond of too.

    I don’t know if it’s avaiable by you, but I think moto makes a android based blackberry looking device…

  6. mikewoodhouse Says:

    I recently replaced my ageing HTC Magic with a Samsung Galaxy S II and I’m reasonably happy with it. I also have a (work-supplied) Blackberry, which I disklike quite a lot – OK, the battery lasts a week, but as you noted, all it does is email and text. I don’t think much of the capabilities for either. While I was away last week I was able to USB-tether my Samsung using an app (PDANet) which worked well enough to remote into work to perform quick checks before heading off to the golf course. Spent a miserable few hours before departing trying to figure out how to do something similar with the BB (so that work could pay) but failed.

    The Samsung AMOLED screen is lovely and the software ranges from mediocre to good. Gmail works well, the Yahoo! client slightly less so. No experience with Exchange, but it’s going to depend on who wrote the client and how clued-up/less they are.

    My fat fingers prefer the on-screen Android keyboard, particularly in landscape mode, to the teeny-tiny BB one, physical keys or not.

    I’ve never used a Motorola phone that I liked. (Or liked one that I used, one of those).

    YMMV is probably appropriate here…

  7. Pob Says:

    Um, yeah. bugger all use as a comment but I figured out a while back that I hate all smart-phones:
    iPhones annoy me;
    Blackberries annoy me;
    Google (∴ Android) annoys me in general;
    MS really annoys me, even if I do make a living out of being a VBA developer;
    Nokia really annoys me for being left behind by all the others, even though the rest annoy me (as above).

    The point being that – apart from me being a grouch – I went for the option of a Blackberry and just use it for calls, texts and emails. Sod the lot of ’em!

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