In this day and age, a smartphone is a must, but the tough part is figuring out which one is the best choice for you as a home-based or any other type of business or business opportunity owner. In the first part of this series, we examined what makes the iPhone a good fit for any small business entrepreneur. This week, we’ll take a look at what the Droid has to offer.
First of all, to clarify, the Motorola Droid is an Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphone that runs Google’s Android operating system. The Droid is only available through Verizon, but you can get an Android-operated phone through any carrier. For the purposes of this article, we’ll examine the Droid specifically, touching on the benefits of having an Android operating system as well.
Originally launched on November 6, 2009, the Droid was touted as an alternative to the iPhone, since it was only available to AT&T customers at the time. Despite the fact that the release of the Droid was highly anticipated, it is taking a little bit more time to catch on. According to TopTenReviews.com, the Droid X comes in at No. 2, right behind the iPhone, on the list of the ten best phones for 2011. Larger than the iPhone, the Droid X weighs 5.4 ounces and is 2.5 inches high and 5 inches wide. The screen size is larger as well at 4.3 inches, compared to the iPhone’s 3.5.
The Droid X has many of the same calling features as the iPhone, with a digital camera, digital player, video recorder, e-mail, three-way calling, call hold, call timer, call waiting and caller ID. The battery life is a smidge longer at up to 480 minutes versus 420 minutes for the iPhone. TopTenReviews.com notes that the Droid X is comparable to the iPhone in all aspects. “The Droid X has a few flaws,” according to the site. “We would like a longer standby time in regards to the battery life, and even a physical keyboard would be nice. If you are looking for a smartphone that has many similar features as the Apple iPhone 4, but don’t want to fall into the Apple fan club, the Droid X gives you what you want and a little bit more on smartphones.”
Though the Droid X made the top-ten list, the most recent version of the phone is actually Droid 2, which was released on August 11, 2010. According to CNET.com, the advances in the phone are noticeable. “The Motorola Droid 2 sports a sleeker look and an improved keyboard. The smartphone also features a faster processor, double the RAM of the original Droid and ships with Android 2.2 [operating system].” CNET reports that there are cons to the phone as well, such as a no front-facing camera, no HDMI port and the keys are stiff when pressed. However, the Droid and Droid 2 both have slide-out keyboards, while the Droid X is strictly a touchscreen phone. The Droid 2 also has a smaller screen than the Droid X at 3.7 inches, and weighs slightly more at 5.96 ounces.
Like the iPhone, the Droid 2 can connect to both Macs and PCs by using the USB cord that comes with the phone. When hooked up for PCs, Droid will appear under “Computer;” and for Macs, the phone will appear on the desktop.
For small business owners, the Droid’s physical keyboard might be just enough to make it more attractive. Though if you prefer a touchscreen, you can either purchase the Droid X or you can forgo the keyboard and type on the touchscreen for all Droid phones. The keyboard makes the phone a bit bulkier, but for some that is a small price to pay; and it’s still much easier than lugging around your laptop. “The Droid 2 is a great choice for business owners,” according to http://www.onlydroid2accessories.com/. “The appeal of the Droid 2 is simple for the small business―it's a reasonable blend of a spacious, easy-to-use QWERTY data entry tool and a high-power, app-friendly, touch-activated smartphone.”
When Droid was first released, Verizon reached out to the business world with promises of the ability to save time and money by multitasking, but the release didn’t explain why the Droid is better than any of the other options. Here is a sample of what Verizon believes the Droid can offer to small business opportunities: “Its high-speed Web browsing; voice-activated search; brilliant, large-touch screen; plus access to thousands of applications on the nation’s largest and most reliable, wireless 3G network combine to make the Droid a sophisticated tool for small business customers in any industry.”
However, an Internet search with the keywords “Droid 2” and “small business owners” does not bring up a large number of results, indicating that the iPhone and BlackBerry might still rule for small businesses. The press release does boast thousands of apps for businesses, such as DocumentstoGo by DataViz ($19.99), which can edit Microsoft office documents and access PDFs, and Mobile Banking by Bank of America (free). Motorola has also released Droid Global for businessmen and women who travel internationally, and Droid Pro, which will support services necessary for a business-class phone, such as Exchange support that gives users the ability to view and edit Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents. It also offers security features and, as expected, costs a lot more. Be sure to check and see if a Droid 2 has enough capabilities to suit your needs before spending more on features that might not be necessary.
Overall, it seems the Droid is gaining steam, but it doesn’t appear to be overtaking the BlackBerry or iPhone just yet in the business sector. This doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t the right choice for you and your small business. If the iPhone’s touchscreen is your main beef with the product, then the Droid 2 might be the right alternative for you. But before you make your final decision, stay tuned for the last part in this series, which will focus on the BlackBerry.