The Motorola Droid Gets Android 2.1, New Features.
April 21, 2010 Leave a comment
Well, it has finally arrived. Android 2.1 for the Droid.
While I have personally have been using a 2.1 ROM for awhile now (Smoked Glass 6.0.1) (TRY IT HERE) I still have been waiting to try the “official” update and see what Android has decided to do with the features that are capable in 2.1.
Android 2.1 brings a fairly large number of improvements and functions for a point release. We’ll all have different thoughts on what specifically will be most welcome in the update since we all have different needs, but voice-to-text and multitouch support in native apps are tops on my list.
While not as visually stimulating as the previous ROM I was using, I still find some of the aspects of the OS have improved. The UI performance is much more “snappy” and the response seems to be much more exact. Also, the built in pinch zoom is a nice standard feature to have, and is useful. There are also a few apps out there now that I have can install with 2.1, (Google Earth, etc) and those are always nice features to have around.
The biggest disapointment I have found so far is the lack of changing the GUI at all. While this may be a somewhat unimportant feature in most aspects, I find that when I get a major and much awaited update (Especially a release that has been delayed over and over again), I really do like a fresh feel and look to be included, even if in some small way. I would have especially enjoyed the NEXUS ONE style launcher, but I can’t complain, as I still do enjoy the slide up drawer that the DROID is still using. (There is an alternative downloadable launcher on the market known as the HELIX Launcher and its included in the Smoked Glass ROM) that does style itself somewhat after the NEXUS ONE style launcher, but I really don’t find that this is necessary, and tends to be a memory bloat of sorts.
Here is a quick list of some of the updates that Android 2.1 includes:
- Email – Yahoo Mail is now supported – customers can simply sign in with their Yahoo! Email address and password. Note: Yahoo! Email is not available over Wi-Fi
- Pinch to Zoom now available in the Browser, Maps, and Gallery
- Speech-to-Text – Customers can now use their voice instead of typing whenever a text-entry box appears.
- Google Goggles is now preloaded
- The new Gallery application uses 3D layout and shows both pictures taken with the customer’s Android device and images from Picasa Web Albums account online.
- Live Wallpapers offer richer animated, interactive backgrounds on the home screen. Access them with a long press anywhere on the home screen. Tap Wallpapers, then Live Wallpapers.
Concerning Live Wallpapers:
When using the live wallpapers on the Droid, I tended to see some decreased response speed in the scrolling on the home screen, and I also experience memory bloat, which in my personal way of doing things, is bad. I tend to lean towards sacrificing “coolness” in favor of saving memory and maintaining speed. I get plenty of pleasure taking a picture of some cool texture around the house, throwing some cool effects on it in Picsay, and then making that my background. The live wallpapers are cool when showing off the phone, and they do make somewhat of an impression, even if limited in sorts depending on what sort of crowd you tend to be around when showing off your technology ( I can personally tell you someone like my mother or my non-tech friends really could not give a hoot about floating leaves in a pond on the background of the phone)
Here is a cool video detailing some cool stuff with live wallpapers. (YOUTUBE)
Cool 3D Photo Gallery
Developed by Cooliris, the new gallery makes the previous and any other gallery option simply appear obsolete. The gallery is interactive and makes viewing and showing off photos and videos on the phone fun and impressive, and the speed and response is remarkable. Swap & move albums and pictures around. Double tap plus Pinch Zoom in and out of photos. Activate the camera or camcorder conveniently from the application. The live type background that changes on sweeping through the photos is also a nice touch.
Native Pinch-Zoom in Apps
Thanks to Apple/Google recent corporate fights, the Pinch-Zoom feature similiar to iPhone was incorporated into native apps like the browser, Photo Gallery and Google Maps.