Last Thursday, I upgraded from a BlackBerry Tour to the HTC Thunderbolt. I spent the weekend playing with the Thunderbolt and learning the Droid operating system.
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While I love technology and gadgets, I don’t have much time or patience to play around with my phone. Switching to a Droid from the BlackBerry has been a little frustrating for that reason.
Droid is not for everyone. It’s way more complicated than the BlackBerry operating system.
A BlackBerry is so simple that you don’t need to set aside time to learn how to use it. You can pretty much pick up a BlackBerry and know how to use move around icons, add apps and perform basic tasks.
The Android OS is a lot more complicated. Expect to spend several hours acquainting yourself with it before you understand basic activities and get your phone set up.
While HTC and Google are flooding prime time TV with ads about Droid and the Thunderbolt, both companies have failed to deliver the help you need to learn how to use the phone in a short time. You ought to immediately be taken to an educational video the first time you start up the phone, and that video should introduce you to library of one-minute instructional videos explaining specific features of the phone.
However, if you have the patience and motivation to learn Droid’s main features on your own, the Thunderbolt is far more powerful than a BlackBerry.
The Thunderbolt is more like a computer than a phone. It uses Verizon’s new 4G network or your home or office WiFi to connect to the Internet which is blazing fast. This is probably the main difference between my BlackBerry and the Thunderbolt. Blackberry does nto yet offer a 4G phone.
The BlackBerry browser was painfully slow in loading web pages, even when a website was optimized for display on mobile devices. The Thunderbolt loads web pages as fast as or faster than my laptop using a wired cable connection.
Google’s mobile browser is great. Even when a site is not optimized for viewing on a mobile device, the browser renders it just fine. For advisors, this is a big advantage because most of the web-based apps used by advisors don’t have versions for mobile devices. In other words, advisor can probably access data from most of the professional apps they use to manage client assets from Android phones.
My calendar and email comes from my company’s Outlook Exchange server. I don’t have to plug the phone into my computer to download my appointments and contacts.
Setting up the phone to display the widgets and apps that I want at my fingertips has taken me a few hours, and I suspect it will take another few hours to get it just right.
For instance, to save battery life, you don’t want to run Bluetooth all the time. So I’ve placed a Bluetooth widget on my main screen that I can click on to shut off Bluetooth.
Not having Blackberry Messenger is a loss, but I’m quickly getting used to it. BBM is a great instant messaging app that is only available on BlackBerrys. I use BBM to communicate throughout the day with my wife and daughter.
Instead of BBM, you must use SMS test messages on a Droid. It’s not a huge difference, however, and BlackBerry recently announced that it would soon start making its BBM system available as a separate app for Androids and iPhones—not for free, of course.
Over the next few days, I’ll get Skype working and will try out the video-phone feature and let you know how it works.