Motorola Devour is like the Droid’s weird cousin

Motorola Devour.Verizon and Motorola announced a new phone today. Called the Devour, the phone looks like a mini-Droid, or as my title suggests, the Droid’s weird cousin. It’s got a smaller display, a presumably smaller keyboard (yikes) and runs Anroid, albeit through Motoblur, Motorola’s odd Android distro.

I would guess the phone is going to fall somewhere around the Droid Eris in terms of price. It’s not a bad phone for $100, but like the Eris, it seems like a waste for what you’d get if you spent another $99. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Motorola is so obsessed with the physical keyboard, either. The pad on the Droid sucks. It really sucks. Android’s software keyboard is just so much nicer, why not rely on that?

If Motorola is your thing, you can get the Devour in early March.


Google Maps Navigation comes to Android 1.6

Google Maps Navigation at work.One of the most exciting parts of the Motorola Droid launch was the inclusion of Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn GPS system from Google. At first the feature was only compatible with phones running Android 2.0, which is only the Droid. Today Google announced that it would be moving the nav system down to Android 1.6, opening up the service to phones like the MyTouch 3G and G1.

I’d call this a big win for Android users. Until this update the hope was that some enterprising developer would hack the thing down to 1.6. This still leaves out the Motorola CLIQ and HTC Droid Eris, but hey, it’s better than the original situation. The 1.6 release also adds layers, allowing you to overlay information on the map, like Wikipedia articles on local points of interest and public transit lines. The one thing 1.6 is missing is the “navigate to” voice command, so you’ll have to enter everything by hand. Life’s tough, isn’t it?


Will the Android explosion scare away developers?

The robots will kill us all.For the most part I’m still comfortable saying that Android growth is a good thing. The platform still needs to expand its app offering to be able to effectively compete with the iPhone. But while most would consider the number of devices sporting Android these days a good thing, it could drive developers crazy.

Android’s adaptability is one of its best features, but it’s a bit of a nightmare for developers. It means making sure apps work on all kinds of hardware, while iPhone developers have just one handset to worry about. For big developers its less of a problem, but for the small guys it means spending time debugging instead of updating apps and releasing new features. “You may build an app that works perfectly with all three firmwares, but then when you run it on carriers’ ROMs it completely blows up,” said Chris Fagan, co-founder of the Android development house Froogloid. “So we find ourselves having to create apps that are compatible with multiple firmwares, multiple ROMs and multiple devices with different hardware.”

Obviously this could cause some problems for carriers as well. As newer versions of the OS are released, older handsets might be left with out-of-date applications that no longer receive support from developers. Even though Android’s open-source platform means it can be hacked onto older devices, some of the features won’t work, like multi-touch from 2.0 on the original HTC G1.

Unfortunately that’s probably just what will happen. Developers will decide who they want to target and just support a set of devices. Everyone else will be stuck wishing they’d paid the extra benjy for the next phone up.

Source: Wired


Can’t afford the Droid? Get an Eris

Droid Eris.It looks like Verizon will be launching more than one “Droid” branded phone on November 6th. According to a leaked document picked up at Engadget, the HTC Eris will hit stores the same day as Motorola’s Droid at $199 with a $100 mail-in rebate.

The Eris is basically a rebranded HTC Hero, though in this case running Android 1.5 with the popular Sense UI. It’s a sharp looking phone, but the processor leaves a bit to be desired. Also, no word on whether Verizon will be pushing Android 2.0 onto this thing, so you could be missing out on Google’s free navigation app. Motorola’s Droid, on the other hand, gives you a physical keyboard, much faster processor, and guaranteed Android 2.0.

For the price, though, it’s hard to go wrong. The regular HTC Hero costs $180.

Source: Engadget