The Droid: Is it all hype or a really good phone?

Being happy with a plain old cell phone for a long time, I have recently found myself interested in an Android phone. I don't know if it's the commercials causing the interest or the laughter I get from nearby teenagers when I'm texting.

An Android phone is any phone device that runs the Android operating system. They belong to the class of cell phones called "smart phones," which are essentially handheld computers with a processor, memory, storage, an operating system and so forth. They do way more than simple phone conversations or texting. Like a PC, they are only limited in what they can do by the installed applications.

There are many Android phones in use today. Most run an older version of Android that had problems common of new technology and therefore did not attract a lot of attention. That is changing quickly as a flood of new devices running the newer 2.0 version of Android are now hitting the market. One of the first is Droid, which is the name of a particular handset from Motorola offered by Verizon Wireless. In early November, Droid had the distinction of being the first Android v2.0 phone from Verizon.

Many media outlets that follow the technology say Android v2.0 is about to have its moment in the sun. They predict Android-based smart phones are serious contenders to surpass the Apple iPhone in popularity.

Flurry.com reported 250,000 Droids were sold in the first week. Compare that to 1.6 million iPhones in their first week. A closer look at the numbers reveals many iPhone sales were to people upgrading or Apple brand loyalists.

Considering Droid is brand new and has no follower, 250,000 is an impressive number. With many handsets quickly coming from many manufacturers, Android v2.0 will be something to watch.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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