Tech & The Web

Droid Disappointment

123RF

My struggles with the new Droid X continue, and the two biggest complaints are each potential deal-breakers.

The most serious for me is that Droid can’t seem to connect properly with my workplace’s email system.  The Verizon rep, who was very helpful and spent nearly a half hour trying to make it work for me, says that there’s one critical piece of information, the incoming server port number, that’s missing from the corporate IT instructions.  Incoming mail, however, isn’t the problem: I can receive email fine, but I’m unable to send anything, so there’s no way for me to respond.

The rep says that having the incoming port number wrong could affect outgoing mail, even if we know we have the right outgoing port.  That doesn’t make any sense to me, but then I’m a Mac guy and we Mac folk don’t worry about ports and things like that: our stuff works without us having to know such information.

So I have to get in touch with our corporate IT people today to ask them for this info, and I’m sure they won’t like being pestered about it because their information page already says that they can’t supply support for personal phones, but then again if that one number is really that critical, it ought to be there to begin with.

I’m dubious, though, because of this post at a Droid forum:

“Did you receive the update that allows Flash 10.1 to be downloaded? This update wreaked havoc on many phones’ ability to access Microsoft Exchange. I spent hours with Verizon, who was very helpful and even participated in a conference call with Motorola. BTW, the 2 Motorola Level 2 reps I dealt with were HORRIBLE. Of interest, when you call Motorola for support, the last menu option is for issues with Microsoft Exchange and corporate sync! What does that say?”

It adds that the way around it is to have your IT department make some kind of exception just for me, which I know won’t happen, or to buy some secondary program for the phone, which I absolutely will not do: the phone needs to work without me buying something else to make it work.

If they can’t make the phone compatible with my work email, I’m not keeping it.  That one is a definite deal-breaker.

The other issue is battery life.  I could go every other day with charging my iPhone.  I can’t go one complete day without charging the Droid.  The Droid comes with an app that kills other apps to save the battery.  I upped the settings so that it gets that much more aggressive: when the screen is powered off, it’s supposed to kill pretty much everything.  Turns out, it doesn’t.

The rep looked at my phone and turned off widgets for Wifi and GPS.  He said if I’m not using that, I should turn it off: otherwise, the phone is constantly looking for GPS positioning and Wifi service, even when it’s asleep.  That means when I need navigation, I have to manually turn GPS on to get me where I’m going, and then turn it off again; or when I need to browse the web and I want faster service, I must first turn Wifi on, let it see if Wifi is available, then remember to turn it back off when I’m through online.

Sorry, Droid, but that’s a load of crap.

I had GPS and Wifi always on with the iPhone and I still could skip a day of battery charging without the phone dying.  The rep did acknowledge that Motorola didn’t make the best batteries.  That’s what I call a design flaw, and not something I’m willing to be inconvenienced for every time I want to use the phone.

There was a time when it was understood that technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not the other way around.  We need to get back to that mindset.

3 Comments

  1. The default outgoing port for MS Exchange is port 25, if that helps, and the service/protocol is SMTP.

  2. Man, that's unfortunate. Why wouldn't the Droid's GPS activate on demand, rather than require you to manually disable and re-enable? That is quite a design flaw. GPS kills the iPhone 4's battery life, too, but it only works on demand, when a location fix is needed. (Then again, Android's background services work much differently.)

    After reading lots about Android battery life, I'm beginning to think the Apple approach to multitasking is the correct one. We have different expectations for portable computers than smartphones; we expect our phones to last more than 8 hours, while we know that a computer will have maybe four hours of life before we need to keep it plugged in (though Mac battery life is impressive). Smartphones are a different utility, have different uptime expectations, and engineers need to come close to meeting (at least partially) those expectations. Based on what I hear and have observed, I am just not yet sure that Android gets the battery life challenge very well.

    And I agree that having to "kill tasks" on a phone is ludicrous. (I still have to do it occasionally on the iPhone, and that's obnoxious.) Android needs serious UX work still.
    My recent post Five years of jaredwsmithcom on WordPress half a month late

  3. I’m sorry to hear you are having issues with the Droid. I don’t connect to corporate email so I never hit that one. Gmail is my work email, so that works fantastically as you might imagine. I can confirm that the battery issue isn’t just a Motorola issue. My HTC Incredible has to be plugged in every night or I’ll lose it sometime during the next day, but I haven’t taken any aggressive steps to improve it. I hope you get stuff worked out in one way or another.

Comments are closed.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.