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Monday, July 5, 2010

My Droid Incredible just wasn’t incredible.

I have suffered with Droid envy for months. It used to be iPhone envy but that would have entailed a move to the dark side. I could cheerfully move to the Droid but reluctantly to the iPhone. The $29.95/month data plan was also a hang up. (pun intended) However I succumbed to my desire and ordered the Droid. When it didn’t arrive on the time schedule the Verizon rep had told me to expect, I called. Five frustrating calls later I found out it was not “really” in stock but would be soon.

Finally the anticipated day arrived. I felt like a 8 year old on Christmas morning. My frustration with activation is detailed on previous post. After activation I added a couple of neat applications. I added a bar code feature that allowed my phone to capture a bar code and then do a Google search online for the product. That was pretty cool and this is just a small peek into how retailing is going to be fraught with change.

I liked being able to set up my music as ring tones. That seems like that should be on every phone but at least I was finally able to attach the music I wanted to people who evoked memories of that song.

I downloaded a couple of books and used the pdf feature and read one of them in the Dr’s office while I waited, definitely a very good feature that made a lot of sense to me.

I was a little disappointed when I edited a photo to use as wall paper and the Droid did not like the edited photo. It displayed it but very, very blurred. I tried many different formats and sizes to no avail. I did not resolve this issue.

I am highly concerned about the number of folks who seem to feel talking on their cell while, smoking, eating and driving is reasonable. Since I hate to include myself in that category I decided to order a new hands free speaker phone. I got the Motorola T505 which allowed me to send the call through the car stereo. I was really tickled with that feature since you can then crank the volume up to finally hear some of those hard to hear calls. The Motorola paired easily and I could even play the music stored in the Droid on my car stereo. I could receive a call and answer with the Motorola and the Droid Incredible. Then I tried placing a call with the hands free mode. No luck. I paired the Motorola with my LG Dare and all features worked just fine. So I called Motorola and to be brief (really this is the succinct version) after a few dead ends I was told to talk to Verizon. I called Verizon tech support and was told to call HTC, the manufacturer of the Droid Incredible. The Verizon rep also suggested I go to the Verizon brick and mortar store for tech support. I never was able to get to HTC tech support. After 45 minutes of bad on hold music I gave up.

The next day I went to the local Verizon Wireless store. There I was told that they had no idea how to solve my problem. They weren’t an “official” Verizon Wireless store and I would have to drive another 15 minutes to get to the “official” Verizon wireless store.

Upon signing in at the “official” Verizon wireless store I was told to sign in for tech support. After a reasonable wait, made more reasonable by my ability to read a book on my Droid Incredible, I was taken. I explained my problem to the “official” Verizon tech who promptly told me, “none of the Droids support voice dialing” in the manner of the previous Verizon phones. He told me I could put their Voice Dial icon on my main screen and use it to voice dial. He knew of no way to use a voice dialing hands free device on the Droid. At this point I asked how to return the phone. He told me to go to the front. At the “front”, the woman asked me if the tech had transferred me to her. I admitted I had no idea and since she didn’t have my name on her screen, she told me I would have to sign in again. My pique may have shown so she asked what did I want? I asked how to return the phone and she told me the original packaging and such but she would be charging me a $35.00 restocking fee. I took umbrage to this and she said, “well if you got it online you can return it online with no restocking fee.”

I pondered my decision on the drive home.

I really liked the 8 mega pixel camera, I loved being able to read pdf files on the Droid. I was surprised to discover I could upload MS Office files and read them on the Droid too. The bar code application was really cool but….

I get no stinking signal at home. The only place I showed full signal bars was at the “official” Verizon store. At the unofficial Verizon store I didn’t show any bars and 1 bar was pretty much normal every where else. The 3g data worked fine as long as I was tied into my WIFI. Elsewhere my experience with Internet was iffy at best.

Perhaps I am a closet Luddite when I expect things to work the way they are advertised.

The decision made, I finally got a delightful woman named Diane at Verizon who listened sympathetically and told me how to return the Droid (not so) Incredible.

I’m not going to return the Motorola hands free unit and will review it after I have some use time. It works just fine with my two year old LG Dare. I’m stuck with the very cool, neon green, silicone glove I got to protect my new Droid and the clear screen covers I bought to protect the touch screen.

Since my Verizon service is just barely acceptable with the LG Dare it’s possible that my Verizon Dead Zone home contributed to the lack of incredibility of the Droid Incredible.

Considering the number of locales that have banned any cell phone use in the car without the implementation of a hands free unit, it is simply astounding to me that “none” of the Droids are capable of using voice dialing through a hands free unit.

As a pda the Droid Incredible is incredible, as a phone it is abysmal.

There needs to be some attention by Verizon to see that their signal strength meets their advertising copy and their phones work well as phones as well as multipurpose connection devices. Perhaps my next venture into the smart phone world I will rent a space next to the Verizon “official” store so I will at least have the signal strength to justify the smartness of the phone and it’s $29.95/month data plan.

Alas this prolonged epiphany has no happy ending, my Droid Incredible just wasn’t incredible.

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