Documents to Go for iOS Receives Minor Update for Excel Files

Documents To Go for iOS was updated today to include fixes for launching Excel files from the iOS search screen and other undocumented minor bug fixes.

Documents To Go is an office suite for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad that allow you to work with native Microsoft Office documents.  Documents To Go also features the InTact Technology that keeps the original file formatting ‘in tact’ after it has been edited on your iOS device.

Documents To Go is $9.99 in the App Store (link), $16.99 with Exchange Server support (link).  The update is free to all who have previously purchased the software.

Documents To Go 3.0 for Android Released

DataViz, Inc., a leading provider of Microsoft Office compatibility solutions, on Friday (10/22/10) announced the immediate availability of Documents To Go 3.0 in the Android Market and through www.dataviz.com. Documents To Go continues to be one of the top selling productivity applications in the Android market as well as one of the top downloads with its free “view only” edition.

What’s New in Documents To Go 3.0 for Android?

DataViz continues to offer both paid and free versions of Documents To Go, both of which have been updated significantly in version 3.0.   While the free version remains limited in its capabilities, it now adds the ability to view PowerPoint files, which was originally in the paid version only.  In addition, the free application is now ad-based.  Once the Full Version key is purchased, the advanced features become available, and the ads disappear.

The Full (paid) version contains a myriad of new features and enhancements including:

Google Docs

Google Docs users can now access all their stored files right from within Documents To Go.  Changes can then be made to these documents and saved back into Google Docs for “anywhere access.”  New files can also be created in Documents To Go and saved up to the Google Docs “cloud.”

Desktop Synchronization

Version 3.0 also offers a desktop application that provides Windows customers with the ability to easily transfer files from their computer to their Android-based device over a USB cable.  Users can then select individual files or entire folders to synchronize and all updates made in either location will be automatically synchronized.  As always with Documents To Go, 100% of the original file formatting will be maintained via DataViz’s acclaimed InTact Technology™.

Revamped User Interface and File Browser

Documents To Go 3.0 has added tools to browse and manage files on an Android device. Mobile workers can now view, edit, create, delete, rename, sort, filter, star, sync, backup and send files from one centralized application.  ‘Live Folders’ continue to keep recently used and favorite files in a conveniently accessible location.

Multitude of Optimizations and Enhancements

PDF To Go now includes pinch to zoom, multi-touch, rotate page and more.  Rendering speed and quality improvements were made to Slideshow To Go.  In addition, Office 2007 password protected files are now supported.


“DataViz is excited to continue innovating our Documents To Go product line and are encouraged by the success and growth of the Android platform,” says Bonnie Boyle, Documents To Go Business Manager.  “This release was the culmination of customer requests for features and our own desire to remain the best of breed in the Office category on the Android platform.”

Pricing & Availability

Documents To Go Full Version Key (3.0) is now available either in the Android Market or through www.dataviz.com for $14.99. All customers who purchased Documents To Go Full Version Key 2.0 will receive a free update to version 3.0 via an on device notification through the Android Market.  The Documents To Go Desktop software is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and can be downloaded from the DataViz website at www.dataviz.com/getdesktop.  For more information:  http://www.dataviz.com/products/documentstogo/android/index.html

Confirmed: RIM Acquires Some DataViz Assets

Digital Daily blogger John Paczkowski has confirmed that RIM did indeed acquire portions of DataViz last week.

Mr. Paczkowski writes:

Confirming an earlier report at CrackBerry.com, RIM (RIMM) said it had snapped up the developer of Documents To Go–one of Apple’s best selling apps of 2009–along with much of the talent that developed it. “RIM has acquired some of the assets of DataViz and hired the majority of its employees to focus on supporting the BlackBerry platform,” the company said in a statement given to Digital Daily. “Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the transaction was not material to RIM in the context of RIM’s financial results.” 

 You can read the full post on the All Things Digital: Digital Daily blog.

[Via Digital Daily.com…]

DataViz: No Documents To Go for webOS, Acquired by Research In Motion

Today, DataViz, the makers of Documents To Go, has officially announced that they will not be developing a version of Palm’s webOS platform.

Announced on Facebook, and posted on the DataViz website, the company claims that creating a version of Documents To Go for webOS would be a much larger job than they expected and that the performance of such an application would not be an optimal solution.

“We regret to announce that we have made the difficult decision to not produce a Web OS version of Documents To Go. We understand that our delay in this area has caused much disappointment to our current and very loyal user base. We would like to explain in more detail the reasoning behind our decisions thus far.

Our intention had been to replace the Palm Viewers, which were based on the Documents To Go technology, with a full editing, aftermarket version of Documents To Go. In order to do this in a way that we felt would be most intuitive to users, we wanted to have the full version seamlessly replace the built in viewers. To do this, we needed some technical help from Palm. Because Palm was focusing on other areas at the time (including their very survival), and there was no official information available allowing developers to help ourselves, i.e., an SDK, there was a delay in getting us this information. Rather than do a substantially larger project that would result in a “sub-optimal” user experience, we decided to wait. This wait was much longer than anyone at DataViz expected. During this wait, we focused our efforts on other smartphone platforms, not because we were not loyal to Palm, but because it made “business sense” to do so. We have now come to the realization that it is not in DataViz’ nor our users’ best interests to continue the wait and produce the full version. We understand that another developer has chosen to create an editing Office product for webOS and we wish them the best. Again, we apologize to our users for taking this long to reach, what is for DataViz and many of our users, a disappointing conclusion.”

Back in April, DataViz posted that they were unable to get the support from Palm that was required to properly develop Documents To Go for webOS.  On the surface, it would seem that DataViz has tired of waiting for Palm to get it’s act together.  Personally, I always felt the delay of Documents To Go for webOS was retaliation for the lost of time and money for the late stage cancellation of the Palm Foleo and Documents To Go for the Foleo platform.  The good folks at CrackBerry.com have a better reason: DataViz was acquired by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion!

“More interesting than [canceling Documents To Go for Palm webOS is the] news from DataViz…they didn’t announce….. they were bought by RIM!! Though neither company has publicly announced it (yet), multiple sources have confirmed to us that RIM recently acquired DataViz for a reported $50 million cash (not material to RIM, so they didn’t have to disclose it publicly as they have done with other acquisitions like the QNX one). Jump on to LinkedIn and you can also quickly find that lots of former DataViz employees have recently switched up their profiles to Research In Motion as their current employer.

Yet another interesting acquisition by RIM.”

That leaked screen shot from August 19 showing the QuickOffice icon in a webOS 2.0 screen shot kinda makes a whole lot of sense right now.  I’ll have go dig up my old Palm OS QuickOffice serial number.  I wonder if I am eligible for upgrade pricing?!

You can read the Documents To Go for webOS statement on the DataViz website.

[Via CrackBerry.com…, PreCentral.net…]

Documents To Go for iPhone OS Updated

Documents To Go 3.2 for iPhone OS has landed in the Apple iTunes App Store.

The biggest updates in this release are enhancements to searching, application optimizations, and bug fixes. I’m excited to learn that the next update for Documents To Go for iPhone OS will support the iPad! I’m really looking forward to that since Documents To Go will allow you to work with native Microsoft Office documents.

DataViz is also running a special promotion to upgrade to the Premium edition of Documents To Go. On my iPod touch, using the in app upgrade option, I can step up to the Premium edition to gain Exchange attachment support and Box.net/Dropbox support for $4.99. Not a bad offer if you ask me.

Hit the App Store icon on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to get the latest update to Documents To Go.

DataViz – Docs To Go for webOS Update

DataViz has posted a long, long, long over due update on the status of their Documents To Go application for the Palm webOS platform on their Office Mobility Blog.

We at DataViz would like to apologize for not responding sooner to our loyal Palm customers about the availability of Documents To Go for webOS. We have felt it best to keep our public webOS discussion to a minimum until we had concrete information about our webOS products to offer you.

We are continuing our efforts to work with Palm to clear the path for a full editing version of Documents To Go. However, given the current environment at Palm, as well as the necessary collaboration with the device manufacturer that is required to bring an app like ours to a platform like webOS, our Documents To Go editor product for webOS is essentially at a standstill.

As soon as we have any additional information, we will inform you immediately.

Thanks for your passion surrounding our solution.
Kathleen McAneany
Business Manager, Documents To Go Palm

It is unfortunate that DataViz and Palm can’t get things lined up and getting Documents To Go for webOS out the door. Docs To Go is one of my favorite mobile applications and for the last 10 months I’ve had to go it (almost) alone as webOS only includes DataViz’s Doc View application.

The good news is that if you are on virtually any other smartphone OS, you can get rich document viewing and editing capabilities via Documents To Go.

Here’s to hoping that we get Documents To Go for the Pre’s birthday which is coming up on June 6th.

Documents to Go with Exchange Attachments Updated

DataViz has updated Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. This is a free upgrade to current owners of the Exchange attachments edition of Documents To Go.

“[W]e are happy to announce that a new version (3.0) of our “Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments” for iPhone/iPod touch is available in the App Store. Documents To Go is now the only mobile Office application for iPhone with support for viewing and editing of all three Office formats (Word, Excel and PowerPoint). And we have no plans to stop there! In the next several months we will be adding some really exciting new features to the product, so be sure to stay tuned.”

What’s new in version 3.0

* Edit & create PowerPoint presentations:
o Edit/add bullets and text in Outline view and see changes immediately in Slide view
o Edit/add speaker notes
o Sort, add, duplicate and delete slides
o Promote/demote bullets
o And more!

* Added support for Gmail attachments
o Edit/view attachments using Docs To Go

* Product name change
o From “Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments” to “Documents To Go Premium”

Pricing and Availability

“Documents To Go Premium” is available now for $14.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at: www.dataviz.com/itunes. All customers who purchased a previous version of “Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments” will receive a free update to version 3.0. For more information: www.dataviz.com/GetiPhone

DataViz is also working on finishing a free update to the base edition of the “Documents To Go” product ($9.99) with an in-app purchasing option for customers to upgrade to the features of the “Premium” version. The time frame for the upgrade for the base edition was not specified.

For more information, please visit the DataViz website.

BlackBerry Tour Hands On Review

As with the Motorola Droid that I recently reviewed, I had the opportunity to take Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Tour 9630 out for a few days for a test spin. The following is my hands on review of the Tour.

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is a CDMA/GSM “world phone” that works on popular wireless networks both in the United States (CDMA and EVDO Rev A) and aboard on 3G networks (GSM/GPRS/EDGE). The Tour is currently available on the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. My demo unit is from Verizon and has been loaded with a Verizon/Vodafone SIM card. As far as I can tell, the Verizon and Sprint handsets are the same, however, the service terms will likely vary. There is also a version of the Tour available for sale without a digital camera.

The Hardware

The BlackBerry Tour is a candy bar styled smartphone similar to the BlackBerry Curve. The Tour’s dimensions are: 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.6-inches and weighs in at 4.58 ounces. To put that in perspective, it is slightly thinner, taller, and wider than the popular BlackBerry Curve 8330. The Tour has a half VGA+ 480×360 pixel display; which I found very easy to read; and is powered by a removable 1400 mAh battery.

All of the familiar BlackBerry hardware buttons can be found on the Tour. Just below the screen, is the button bar that is home to the call send/end buttons, the BlackBerry button, and the escape button. Nestled in the middle of the device is the trackball. After spending a few days using the trackball on the Tour, I thought it felt much sturdier than the one on my Curve. That said, I have heard reports from a local cellular retailer that their store has had a number of returns of the Tour early on in its distribution run due to faulty trackballs. The review unit that I used had no such trouble with the trackball. Below the button bar is the hardware Qwerty keyboard. Since this BlackBerry is slightly narrower than the one I’m used to using, I found the keys to be tight initially. The keys on the Tour, for all intents and purposes, have no space between them. After using it for about a day, I had gotten my keyboard bearings and was happily emailing away.

Walking around the smartphone, you will find the camera convenience key and the volume up/down buttons, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the microUSB charging port. On the top of the Tour, is the ringer silence and screen lock button. On the left of the Tour is the voice command activation button and the speaker. On the back of the phone you will find the 3.2MP, auto focusing digital camera lens and flash. The phone’s mic is located on the bottom left of the phone.

Inside the Tour is 256MB of RAM, a microUSB card slot, a Bluetooth v2.0 radio supporting A2DP, and a GPS receiver supporting assisted, autonomous, and simultaneous modes. The GPS module also supports e911 and digital camera image geo-tagging.

Interestingly, unlike the Apple iPhone and Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Tour does not feature a capacitive touch screen or a Wi-Fi radio. This could be a deal breaker for some, however, in my opinion, you get much better battery performance without those two features.

The Software

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 runs RIM’s Java based BlackBerry OS 4.7.1.61 (Platform 4.1.0.81). If you have used a previous BlackBerry running OS 4.3 or 4.5 you will have little trouble using OS 4.7, however, for this edition of the OS, there is a wire frame style to all of the icons. They are easy enough to figure out and the icon’s name appears at the bottom of the screen when you use the trackball to highlight and icon. Personally, I liked the old style icons better. The good news is that there are literally tons of themes for BlackBerry available for download from the Internet.

I was able to quickly and easily connect all of my Google Gmail accounts with the Tour. I was also able to use Notify Corp’s NotifyLink 4.5 client without trouble on this BlackBerry. If you want to sync the BlackBerry’s calendar with anything other than Microsoft Outlook, or a corporate messaging system like Microsoft Exchange using a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server, you will need to get a third-party tool like GooSync for your Google calendar. Mac OS X users will need to download the BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac or purchase Mark/Space the Missing Sync for BlackBerry.

Research In Motion has also opted to bundle DataViz Documents To Go Standard Edition on the Tour. Unlike the view only editions that come bundled with the Palm Pre or the Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Standard Edition allows you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can also transfer files to and from the smartphone using the BlackBerry Desktop Software. I was able to read and update the same files that I used during my Motorola Droid test.

If you plan on using Documents To Go on your BlackBerry, you will want to install the free maintenance release from version 1.006 to 2.0. Heavy users will want to consider purchasing the Documents To Go Premium upgrade to gain access to the stand alone Documents To Go desktop synchronization application, native Adobe Acrobat viewing, the ability to create new Microsoft Office documents directly on the Tour, the ability to spell check Word documents, and additional document formatting features. One thing that I did find annoying about the upgrade process to version 2.0 of Documents To Go was the requirement to uninstall the bundled version and reboot the phone prior to the upgrade. While it isn’t the end of the world, it bugged me to have to leave the browser, uninstall the phone, and then return to the upgrade web page. (You did remember to bookmark the upgrade page before uninstalling Documents To Go, right? See how annoying that is!) Documents To Go 2.0 Premium for BlackBerry retails for $69.99, and is on sale for $29.99 until December 20, 2009. For more information about DataViz Documents To Go for BlackBerry, visit the DataViz website.

Just for the Fun of It

All work and no play is boring. So I also played with some of the fun aspects of the BlackBerry Tour. Social media junkies will be happy to hear that the Tour comes included with a Facebook and My Space clients. (Facebook users will want to upgrade to the latest mobile client version right away.) The camera took nice pictures at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. The music player application worked well and I was able to watch Iron Man which I converted from DVD to an Mpeg-4 file.

I also installed some other free applications from the BlackBerry App World, including USA Today Mobile, The New York Times Global Edition, Google Maps, TweetCaster, UberTwitter, The Weather Channel, and Fictionwise eReader. (Fictionwise eReader can be downloaded from the eReader.com website.)

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Tour is a great upgrade for previous BlackBerry owners. If you are looking to upgrade from another smartphone platform to the BlackBerry, you will want to sync your old phone to Microsoft Outlook before making the jump to BlackBerry to ensure that all of your data makes it over. The BlackBerry Tour, like most other BlackBerry phones does not have a touch screen. That detail, and the lack of Wi-Fi may be a deal breaker for some, however, you will be repaid with longer battery life. If I don’t charge my Palm Pre, or the Motorola Droid I was testing every night, I would wake to find two phones with dead batteries in them while the Tour was still ready to work with about 45-50% battery life left in it.

The BlackBerry Tour is a solid business smartphone, however, if you are using a Microsoft Exchange email server, you will need to install a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or other third-party middleware server such as Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server since the BlackBerry does not support the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol as do most of today’s other smartphones.

Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is available now from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint for $149 with a qualifying 2-year service agreement. For more information about the BlackBerry Tour, visit the BlackBerry website.

Documents To Go for iPhone/iPod touch 2.1 Update Released


DataViz Documents To Go for iPhone and iPod touch has been updated to version 2.1 and is now available for download from the iTunes App Store.

The 2.1 update is the result of customer feedback and adds a number of refinements to the PDF To Go application, which includes the following enhancements:

  • “Go to” page
  • Maintaining last viewed location
  • Opening password-protected PDFs
  • Thumbnail, Fit To Screen, Fit To Width & Actual Size views
  • Full screen view with floating navigation controls
  • Tap zooming
  • File opening speed improvements

“Documents To Go” (iTunes link) and “Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments” (iTunes link) are available for $9.99 and $14.99 respectively from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at: www.dataviz.com/itunes. All customers who purchased a previous version of Documents To Go for iPhone/iPod touch will receive a free update to version 2.1.

“Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments” has the same functionality as “Documents To Go” and includes a Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client for sending and receiving Exchange email WITH attachments.

For more information, visit the DataViz website.

Verizon Motorola Droid Hands On Review

The Motorola Droid is the latest Google Android powered smartphone being offered by Verizon Wireless. The Droid went on sale back on November 6, and joins Verizion’s other Google Android phone, the Droid Eris, in their smartphone line up.

The Droid is the first Google Android smartphone that I’ve used and I was interested in seeing what this phone is capable of doing and to see how it would measure up to other smarpthones that I’ve used in the past.

The Hardware

The Motorola Droid is a 6oz 2.4 x 4.6 x .5-inch slider smartphone. The face of the Droid is dominated by an expansive 3.7-inch 480×854 pixel WVGA display, that is formatted to support 16:9 widescreen video. (I watched about 15 minutes of Iron Man on Droid and the display looked crisp and clear.) The capacitive TFT touch screen is both bright and easy to read. Along the top of the device are a standard 3.5mm headset hack and the power on/off button. On the left side is the microUSB port used to charge the phone or connect it to your computer as a USB mass storage device. On the right side, you will find the volume up/down buttons and the camera application button. Below the screen is the mic, and on the back you will find the 5.0MP camera sensor and the speaker.

Moto Droid next to a Palm PixiTucked away inside the Droid are the EVDO Rev. A, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and a Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g radios. The Droid also sports an assisted GPS receiver. Powering the smartphone is a 1400 mAh removable battery. There is also a microSDHC card slot at the top of the battery compartment where you will find a 16GB microsSDHC card pre-installed. If you plan on swapping out microSDHC cards or batteries regularly, or if you tend to toss your phone in a pocket, purse, or messenger bag for example, you will want to keep an eye on the battery compartment door. Unlike other smartphones I have used in the past, the Droids battery compartment door does not latch lock into place. I can see a lot of people loosing their battery doors and Verizon should be keeping their spare parts inventory well stocked.

Similar to other recent smartphones, Motorola has included an accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and an e-compass.

The Droid features a physical keyboard which I prefer over on screen keyboards like those used on the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm 2. That said, the keys are, for all intents and purposes, completely flat. In my opinion, this makes the keyboard harder to use than it needs to be. I much rather have a physical keyboard that has raised or rubberized keys like those on the BlackBerry Curve, the Palm Treo, or the Palm Pre. At the end of the day, the best keyboard layouts and orientations are a personal choice. I would recommend that you stop at a local Verizon retail outlet and play with the keyboard before you buy so you know you will be able to live with this phone for the next two years.

The Software

The Motorola Droid, as stated earlier, is powered by the Google Android 2.0 operating system. Because the operating system was written by Google, it should come as no surprise that Droid supports most of Google’s web services, including: Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Talk (Instant Messaging), Search and Search by Voice, and YouTube. Support for Google Voice is not included on Verizon’s phone.

Main app launcher screenAndroid Phone appDroid software stackThe Android contacts and calendaring applications worked as you would expect them to and I did not experience any problems using them. On the demo unit that I was working with, I did not see a dedicated tasks or memos application. Since the Droid is the first Google Android phone that I’m using, I’m not sure if Google just didn’t include those applications, tucked the functionality into the email and/or calendar applications, or whether or not Verizon chose to not include those applications. A quick search of the Android Market provided me with a number of free and commercial replacement tasks and memos applications. I just find it odd that these applications aren’t included by default on the phone.

I was happy to see that Android 2.0 supported not only Google Gmail accounts, but also POP, IMAP, and Microsoft Exchange accounts. Additionally, you can also sync the Droid with a Google or Microsoft Exchange calendar. There are a few things that I though where confusing and annoying about email and calendaring on Droid. The first is that the Droid has two email and two calendar applications. The application “Corporate Calendar” is the application that you use to configure a Microsoft Exchange server calendar using Exchange ActiveSync. You use the “Calendar” application to access your non-Exchange calendar. For this test, I used one of my Google Calendars. I was surprised to learn that I was unable to add a second or third personal calendar. I have three calendars that I look at throughout my day: business, personal, and family. I configured the Droid to primarily sync with my “business” Gmail account and Android automatically linked the same account’s calendar to the phone. I was able to add additional Gmail and POP email accounts, but I was unable to add a second or third calendar. Researching this issue in online Android discussion forums, it appeared that this could be a bug in the calendar application. I would like to see Google fix this limitation in the near future.

I’m a heavy user of email, calendaring, web browsing, and word processing. The browser that has been included with Droid rendered pages as well as Safari on my iPod touch with iPhone OS 3.1.2 and my Palm Pre with webOS 1.3.1.

DataViz Documents To Go 2.0 for Android

No Smartphone Fanatics smartphone review would be complete until I take DataViz Documents To Go out for a test drive.

Docs To Go launcherDocs To Go File menuDocs To Go File Open windowUnlike other smartphone platforms that you may have used in the past, Motorola’s Droid does not ship with Documents To Go pre-installed on the device. You will have to use the Android Market to download and install the free Viewer Edition of Documents To Go. The free version of Documents To Go allows you to view any recent Microsoft Word and Excel documents that you receive as an email attachment or side load on your microSD card. When you step up to the Full Version of Documents To Go 2.0 for Android, you gain the ability to view Microsoft PowerPoint documents and Adobe Acrobat documents. You also gain the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office documents. DataViz gives you the flexibility to choose the file format for your new Office documents: Office 97-2003 or Office 2007. (The file format selection is an application preference that effects new documents and is not selected when you perform a File > Save As… command.)

Another nice feature included in the Full Edition of Documents To Go is DataViz’s implementation of predictive word look ups. Typing ‘fi” in a new Word document causes Word To Go to pop open a small row of possible words that start with the letters “fi” and I can quickly pick “first” form the list of words that I wanted to type. I like this implementation because the possible word selection list is not popping up in front of what you are typing to type. In other words, in my opinion, this is a much cleaner, less annoying way to work with predictive word look ups. The Full Version of Documents To Go also did a fantastic job of loading and rendering my test Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Acrobat documents. You can purchase the full version of Documents To Go for $29.95 in the Android Market, however, after registering the free Viewer Edition, I received an email from DataViz inviting me to upgrade to the full version for $9.95. If you are going to be using the Motorola Droid to work with Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat documents, you will want to purchase this upgrade. At $10, the full featured version of Documents To Go 2.0 is a bargain price for all the functionality you get.

All the Rest

I also spent some time playing with the fun aspects of Droid. The 5.0MP digital camera takes some nice pictures once you get used to the auto-focus feature. The picture viewer and music players worked well. I was able to play all of the non-DRM’ed iTunes purchased tracks that I loaded on the Droid’s microSDHC card. (I sided loaded the music. If you want to sync playlists right out of iTunes, you will need to install a third-party application like DoubleTwist.)

I also loaded some of the free news applications like The New York Times, USA Today, and The Weather Channel; all of which worked well. Android comes pre-loaded with a native Facebook client (I didn’t test Facebook) and a free Twitter client, TwitterTweet, kept in up to date on all of the mobile computing Twitter-ers that I follow. I also downloaded and installed the free WiFi OnOff widget which saved a lot of time, and screen taps, to turn Wi-Fi on and off quickly. And lastly, avid readers will be happy to learn that the Fictionwise eReader Pro application works on the Android 2.0 platform, however, you will need to manually install the software from the eReader.com website, not the Android Market.

Conclusion

After spending a little more than a week getting to know the Motorola Droid and the Google Android 2.0 mobile operating system, I feel that the Droid is on par with the Apple iPhone 3G/3G s, BlackBerry Storm or Storm 2, and the Palm Pre. Based on the way I used the phone, I feel that it could tackle all of my business, personal, and social mobile computing needs. Google Android 2.0 is easy enough to use and the installation of third-party applications over the air (OTA) from the Android Market worked without any trouble at all.

Pricing and Availability

The Verizon Motorola Droid smartphone is available now at Verizon Wireless retail locations, online from the Verizon Wireless website, and through corporate inside sales reps. Consumers should expect to pay $299.99 with a new 2-year contract or with a 2-year contract extension. If you order the Droid from the Verizon Wireless website, you will receive a $100 discount. You may be able to find even better pricing from Amazon or Best Buy if you are willing to put the time in comparing online and brick and mortar retail location pricing.

For more information about the Motorola Droid, please visit the Motorola website. For pricing and service contract information, please visit the Verizon Wireless website.