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Droid Life Q&A Session: Volume 1 Answers

At the beginning of the week, we announced a new feature for the site that would give you (the community) a chance to ask the DL team anything that comes to mind. The questions could have been Android related, but they definitely didn’t have to be. We are humans after all and don’t mind talking about things that aren’t tech-related here and there.

So after soaking in the massive amounts that were asked, we grabbed a handful of the most voted on and did our best to provide a variety of answers. For reference, you’ll see answers from everyone on the team by their first initial K (Kellen), T (Tim), E (Eric), and R (Ron). We had a ton of fun not only reading through the questions, but answering as well and are looking forward to doing this more often. We hope you enjoy.

What does Droid Life feel is the current or soon to be released best Android phone available from Verizon?

K:  Personally, I’m getting giddy over the RAZR HD. I know that probably makes me sound like a Moto fanboy, but this is the first device in quite some time that they will probably release as a complete device – HD screen, massive battery, ICS, great camera, etc. Other than that, you can’t forget about the Galaxy SIII which should be here long before the RAZR HD. Even if the U.S. carriers tweak it some, it’ll be impressive. 2GB of RAM, anyone?

T:  Well, until we know the exact fate of the device, I would have to say the Samsung Galaxy SIII is a safe bet for most folks.

R:  Everyone has different preferences. The best phone on VZW is probably still the Gnex, but I’d personally like to get my hands on the Droid Incredible 4G. I loved the Rezound. If I could get the Dinc 4G running stock Android with that new Sense clock I’d be a happy camper.

What do you do with all of your blog review handsets, after they’ve been reviewed?

K:  Well first, let’s set the record straight on this topic. Review units are just that, review units. They are not ours to keep. While we would love to hang on to every new device that cruises across our desks, that would probably be both unethical and illegal on some level. When companies have new products that they would like us to check out, we usually have a 3-4 week time frame to get down and dirty with them and then they are returned. If you see us with a phone for a longer period of time than that, it probably means that we loved the phone so much that we bought it out right, just like every other wireless customer.

R:  Pack them up and then weep profusely after dropping them off at FedEx to be returned.

Which Android phone in your opinion was the most dissapointing? 

K:  There really were so many bad ones, like the DROID 2, Charge, Revolution, and DROID 4. If I had to pick one though, and I hate to do this, it would have to be the Bionic. After impressing the world at CES in January of 2011, it then ran into so many issues that it was delayed and completely recreated over a 9 month stretch. After finally launching, the Bionic was a disaster with its cheap specs and massive bug list. The phone should have been scrapped and never released, especially with the DROID RAZR dropping just 2 months later.

E:  Most disappointing phone for me had to be the D2. Moto had the world in the palm of it’s hand after the OG Droid and decided to put more time and money into the Droid X. I have seen more people jump the Android ship to iPhone because of the D2 directly than any other phone that I can think of.

Most successful?

R:  The most successful phone in my mind is still the OG Droid. In terms of numbers the Galaxy S, S2, and S3 are the most successful, but they wouldn’t have had a shot without the OG Droid. If you can think back to 2009, Android wasn’t doing well. The iPhone was still considered the best option for a smartphone. The Pre was out, but exclusive to Sprint. It was a really interesting time. People were still transitioning away from RIM and Nokia into something more modern, but no one knew for sure what would be successful. I still wonder what it would have been like if the Droid launched on all four carriers or if the Pre came out on Verizon too. How would that have changed things? Having the Droid on Verizon (which was a massive carrier, but lacked many innovative phones) really changed the game for both Verizon and Android.

T:  Most successful? In my opinion, the OG DROID and the Galaxy Nexus have been the biggest hits in my eyes. I have only seen a line of people stand out front of the VZW stores for two devices, the OG and the G-Nex. ‘Nuff said.

K:  From a sales perspective, the original DROID, DROID X, Thunderbolt and RAZR are probably all success stories. As far as a community goes, there are only two, which both Tim and Ron mentioned – the OG and the Galaxy Nexus. Rarely do you find phones that can create such a buzz around these parts.

Would you still recommend the Galaxy Nexus now that it’s six months old?

K:  It depends. I’ve found that I use the camera on my phone so often now that the Nexus is no longer an option for me. You can talk about radios all day long as being the number one issue with that phone, but Google and Samsung should be embarrassed for that thing inside that they claim to be a camera. With that said, if you need to have a fully-open device with a massive developer community that will support a phone far beyond what a carrier will, then the G-Nex is the logical choice.

T:  If I was recommending a phone to a family member or friend, I would recommend the Galaxy Nexus without hesitation. It’s a solid device and despite some people’s beef with it, it’s still quite the little workhorse.

E:  Yes, it’s still one of, if not the best ICS device out there right now. I couldn’t be happier with mine.

R:  If you need a phone right now, absolutely. It’s still a great device. Not my favorite form factor or screen, but it’s great. If you can wait for the new Nexi later this year I’d do that, though.

So exactly what does “Droid Life” mean to you guys? Not the website, but actually Android. Does Android assist you in everyday life or does it isolate you from the rest of the world?

K:  Yeah that name “Droid Life” has certainly turned into something far beyond what I ever expected it to. At this point, I’d say that I clearly do live a “Droid Life.” My phone is my tool for life. It makes it more efficient, a conversation starter, a community builder, and an entertainer. I could not imagine what things would be like without Android in my life. It definitely wouldn’t be as fun.

T:  My passion for Android has easily passed just a love for the hardware and OS. I have fallen in love with the community as a whole and if Android can’t help me complete a task, I know there is a group of folks out there willing to spend their time helping me. Everyday I’m impressed at the number of folks who are so dedicated to voicing opinions and helping fellow enthusiasts/fanboys. And I wouldn’t say it isolates me, if it wasn’t for Android, I wouldn’t be able to talk to all of you everyday!

E:  I’ve probably bought into the Google ecosystem more than most people. The last thing holding me onto Apple (besides my Macbook, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon) was the iPod. As soon as Google announced Google Music I moved it all over there and haven’t looked back. I enjoy going to the Play Store and browsing the deals they have on books and music and will buy if the price is right. So far Android keeps me centralized to all my aspects of life, other than Facetime which all my friends have on their iPhones, I don’t feel cut off from them in anyway.

R:  I love all things mobile, so my life is more than Android. That said, to me Android represents an open ecosystem that allows for insane customizations. Apple has one device, which might be great for some, but it doesn’t fit every need. Windows Phone has a lot of SKUs, but the software is limited and identical. With Android you can have all sorts of variations in software and hardware, which allows for crazy ideas like the Echo or the Evo 4G, etc. We’re just beginning to see the customizations and variations that Android can allow for.

What screen technology do you like better LCD2 or AMOLED HD?

T:  Short answer would have to be LCD2. If you haven’t played with an HTC One X, then stop reading this and get your hands on one right now.

R:  I’ve tended to like LCD screens better than AMOLED. AMOLED are bright, but the color fidelity hasn’t been great, traditionally. That seems to be changing now, but we’ll see.

K:  I’m with both Tim and Ron on this one. While the vibrant colors on AMOLEDs can be fun to look at, the crispness and clarity of the LCD2 that HTC is using in the One X is quite the technological feat. I’ll be interested to see what an HD AMOLED Plus looks like, but it may be a while before we see one.

Beyond the OG Droid why do you all love Motorola so much?

T:  We have a certain fondness for Motorola because they are the company that got many of us to care about Android in the first place. The OG DROID brought many of us into this community and sure, they do some stupid things, but you still got to have love for Moto. Plus, their radios kick ass compared to almost anyone’s.

R:  Motorola put Android on the map. They’ve made some bad business decisions following the Droid (with the possible exception of the DX), but I think phones like the RAZR MAXX have put them back on the map. They have a ways to go, but their build quality has traditionally been the best of all manufacturers. When you’re stuck with a phone for 2 year, build quality is an important feature.

What’s with all these ICS phones without soft keys?

R:  Phones take years to design and build. There’s a good chance manufacturers didn’t know that soft keys would be part of the Nexus design so they kept doing capacitive. It could also be that manufacturers have kept up with capacitive keys because the design of the buttons has become part of each manufacturers brand (e.g. you can tell a Motorola phone from a HTC phone by the capacitive keys alone).

K:  Ron is exactly right. Phones are planned over a year in advance, so the batch of phones that you are seeing hit stores in the first half of 2012 were all likely designed long before the Galaxy Nexus was released. By this summer and then towards the end of 2012, you should start to see more on-screen nav button devices.

How do you all feel about the direction the original Droid line is going?

E:  I’ve actually been pondering this question for a few months now. I’ve had every single Droid since the OG (2,3,4) and while their hardware has gotten better, Moto has drifted to the larger screens (X, X2, Razr) for more publicity. Personally, I think that’s fine, but Moto should take the Droid line back to it’s roots. Make it a developer phone, let people blast it open and do what they want. The Droid was originally everything that the iPhone isn’t and with the keyboard that idea still lives on. I’d like to see Moto put a little more oomf behind the next Droid and keep the brand alive and going. What if Moto’s Nexus (granted this whole 5 nexus idea happens) had a keyboard, how crazy would that be?

R:  Not great. The D2 was a disaster. The D3 and 4 were better, but not great. I’d love to see Motorola release an anniversary edition of the OG Droid with the same chassis, but updated specs and stock Android.

What is your favorite beer and/or brewery?

K:  Living in the beer capital of the world (Portland), that might be the toughest question of the week. I definitely prefer less hops (odd I know coming from Portland) and tend to lean towards anything Belgian-style (recommend the Tripel Karmeliet). The Abyss (seasonal winter) from Deschutes Brewery is always a winner on the local front. If you ever make it to Montana though, find yourself a Cold Smoke from Kettlehouse. Top 5 beers of all time for me.

T:  Easy! Great White from Lost Coast Brewery.

E:  Favorite beer has to be Dos Equis. Favorite brewery is a local place in downtown Indianapolis called Sun King. They make some really really good drinks there. Anyone near that area needs to check it out.

R:  I don’t drink a lot of beer. I’m more of a rum and Coke guy.

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