products, tablets, technology

it’s all about the user’s experience

Thanks to Apple and the iPad, tablets are all the rage. Android-powered devices look to be most viable competitor to the iPad. Motorola recently released the Xoom tablet, featuring Android’s new Honeycomb operating system, which is optimized for tablets. From what I’ve been able to gather, the Xoom sales have not been as robust as Motorola had expected. This is purely conjecture on my part, but I think some people’s reticence about picking up the Xoom is because it seems too complicated.

That may not be the case, but perception is key — particularly in consumer electronics. It used to rub me the wrong way when people would take shots at Apple products being “dumbed down” for consumers. The more that I try to tweak my Android-powered Droid X smartphone, the more I appreciate something that doesn’t require me to learn or decipher code. Most people, including a lot of very smart people, don’t want to program or fiddle with their computers or smartphones. The vast majority of people want to simply turn on the device and have it perform as needed/expected. I think Google needs to better address this with Android devices, because it’s becoming perceived as a product for computer nerds. And that’s actually probably being unfair to nerds, which I consider myself. While I appreciate being able to personalize my device, I don’t want to sacrifice consistent performance.

As we move to relying even more on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (I absolutely refuse to say “post-PC”) a rock solid user interface (UI) is paramount. It is critical because people on the move need things to be easy to navigate and use.

Don’t take this yarn as an indictment of Android. I’ve been tough on Google for its handling of the Android OS lately, but I’m still a fan. On top of seamless integration with Google services, one of the best features built into Android is the ability to use customizable widgets. Aside from the turn-by-turn navigation, app widgets are probably what most my friends with iPhones comment on as an enviable feature on my Droid X.

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Irrespective of Steve Jobs comment about Hummer phones, it appears that users do like a smartphone with a screen a little bigger than the iPhone’s beautiful crisp, but smallish 3.5″ display. Since the release of the EVO, larger screens on smartphones have gained traction. It looks like a 4″ screen is the sweet spot between the iPhone 3.5″ screen and the EVO and Droid X 4.3″ screens. It remains to be seen whether this “more is more” carries over with tablets. The near 10″ of the iPad and Xoom would seem to be preferred for people looking to differentiate a tablet from a smartphone or laptop/netbook. I think the additional screen real estate of a tablet is particularly attractive to developers, now optimizing apps for the larger tablet screens. I’m left to wonder of the Flyer and original Galaxy Tab, with 7″ screens will be viable. I can see them being popular from a convenience standpoint (portability), but they may not be the best for viewing the new optimized-for-tablet apps. I guess time will tell. I don’t think there necessarily has to be a standard for tablet screen sizes, but the design of the apps may dictate a minimum, functional size.

Based on what I’ve seen of the Motorola Xoom — I have yet to get some hands-on time with one — the widgets look interesting. However, the widgets look too small to me on that large screen. I am not sure if the widgets are expandable like they are on Motorola Android smartphones, but having a tiny calendar widget that I can scroll through serves no purpose if I can’t make out the tiny font.

To that end, I came across this video for a soon-to-be-released tablet by HTC, called the Flyer. I’ve seen previews and mentions in blogs, but after watching this longer walk-trhugh, I am intrigued. HTC, arguably, has the best Android user interface overlay — Sense UI. This video does a good job demonstrating the features that, in my estimation, make the Flyer more appealing to consumers than the Xoom. The widgets look large and usable.

 

From what I understand, the HTC Flyer will debut with Android 2.4, better known as Gingerbread. There’s no word from HTC on when the Flyer will upgrade to Honeycomb, but I suspect that it may be a while, given that the UI on Honeycomb is somewhat of a departure from Gingerbread and Froyo versions of the Android OS. Given what HTC has been able to do with putting UI skins on both Window and Android, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull out a slick update for tablet-specific versions of Android.

I guess that gets me back to the underlying point about the user experience. As you may have gleaned from this post, I am torn. I have come around to appreciating the merits of Apple’s so-called walled off ecosystem. If only from a design perspective, Apple has done a terrific job creating a family of devices that all feel familiar. There’s something to be said about being able to move from one Apple device to another will no real learning curve. Things tend to be in the same place, and function on the iPad, as the would on the iPhone, as they would on the MacBook Pro or iMac. The flip side of that, however, is that it’s homogenous. There’s no diversity of look and feel. I cannot differentiate my iPad from yours, other than the cover and wallpaper image. Whereas, on Android devices, users can create, essentially, a completely unique interface. I can use different widgets, or even a custom ROM on my Droid X that reflects exactly who I am and how I use my smartphone. It’s not purely cosmetic. The catch is that once you drop below the surface of third-party launchers, you have to root or loosely reprogram your phone to take advantage of a lot of cool changes. I’ve done it, but have become fatigued with having to run to a forum to figure out some glitch.

This sleuthing may be okay with a smartphone I picked up for $100-200; but when I’m looking at dropping $500-700 on a tablet, my interest or willingness to lift the hood and tinker diminishes almost immediately. For instance, I had a similar feeling with my iMac recently. I had some problems with the iMac shutting down. There were plenty of forum threads suggesting that I pull out screw drivers and install dodgy diagnostic software. Considering the coin that I dropped for that iMac, my sense of adventure was reduced to making an appointment with the “Geniuses” at the Apple store. I think this resistance to tinker and customize doesn’t make people less intelligent. Most people are busy and simply don’t have the interest in spending significant chunks of time soupin’ up their tablet. That’s why The Gap sells more clothes than a tailor shop.

I don’t know. I don’t think it’s fair to say that I’ve already gone to the Dark Side of Apple zealotry. If nothing else, I think that I just see things a little more clearly now. Apple is by no means perfect. The line at the service area…ahem Genius Bar…confirms the fallibility of Apple products. But, 100% uptime is not the point. It’s about understanding your user. Apple seems to get the basic needs of people buying its product. The thing with Android-based products is that we are being pitched a somewhat schizophrenic experience. The stock Android experience is loaded with features, but comes across as a little too cold and techie for most people. It seems that HTC gets that, and puts a attractive facade on that sturdy Android foundation. Is one necessarily better than the other. Instinctively I say no. However, when thinking about the “average” user [non pejorative], I think if Google hopes for Android to be a compelling alternative to Apple, it has to give considerable attention to the user interface. It feels like Google is enamored with making stock Android the Craigslist of operating systems — highly efficient, but ugly and/or boring as hell. No frills has its place, I just don’t think it’s on a device like a tablet or smartphone.

Thanks for bearing with me. This post didn’t really travel the same path that I started on yesterday when I began typing. That’s actually something I love about writing. Nevertheless, I hope that I made a point in here somewhere.

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android, mobile tech

deals on droid incredible and droid2

If you are in the market for a smartphone, and have been eyeballing the Droid Incredible or the Droid 2, today might not be a bad time to shop. Best Buy has added the Droid Incredible to its Free Phone Friday promotion. Further, according to Droid-Life.com, the Droid 2 will join the Friday Feebie party, though I have yet to see confirmation of the Droid 2 in today’s Best Buy’s Free Phone Friday promotion online.

Verizon is offering something nearly as good as free. Big Red currently has a BOGO (buy one, get one free) offer on the Droid Incredible.

ALERT: The word on the street is that the Incredible and Droid 2, though both released this year, already have an EOL (End-of-Life) date set within the next three of four months. Rumor is there is an Incredible HD on the way, and the Droid 2, will be replaced by a Droid 2 Global (running on CDMA domestically and on a SIM card internationally). Add to that, the HTC Merge will be out soon, too. Finally, Verizon is switching over to a 4G network in the coming months, and there will be a number of new phones introduced to take advantage of the increased speed.

With all of that said,  both phones are more than capable, and will be so for some time. The only unknown is how long Verizon will support these phones — namely with updates — into the future of a two-year contract. For example, the Droid Eris was barely on the market for one year before it reached it’s EOL date. Additionally, Verizon pushed out one update (Android 2.1) and will no longer support the phone with updates. It’s, unfortunately, that’s how things are going to be for a while.

So…here’s my advice. If you’re someone who loves to have the latest…wait. If you’ve been looking to upgrade to a smartphone, and want a reliable device, I would consider taking advantage of the Best Buy free or Verizon BOGO offer. Naturally, if you’re holding out for the iPhone to debut on Verizon, you were just reading this blog piece to humor yourself…or me. :-)

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mobile tech, windows

a [big] htc windows phone 7 coming this fall

The folks at TmoNews, a great site for news about products on T-Mobile, are reporting  that HTC will likely reveal the HD3, which will serve as a Windows Phone 7 upgrade from HD2 (running Windows Mobile 6.5), at a press event next Wednesday in London.  The expected launch date is Wednesday, November 17th.

Reported specs for HD3 include:

  • Windows Phone 7 operating system
  • 4.5″ AMOLED screen (Apparently, HTC has resolved it’s screen sourcing issues.)
  • dual-core 1.5 GHz processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of internal storage (wow!)
  • 8 megapixel camera capable of shooting HD video (again, wow!)
  • 1800 mAh battery

If I had to guess, pricing on the HD3 will be around $249.

I originally thought devices with screens over four inches would be too big for comfortable daily use–as a phone. After having some hands-on time with the EVO4G and owning the Droid X — both with a 4.3″ screens —  my thinking has shifted. Though too big for some, the EVO4G and the Droid X are not as big as one might think, and are quite comfortable for every day use. I don’t think the .2″ increase on the HD3 will be too significant. Whereas the Dell Streak’s 5″ screen pushes it into tablet territory. We’ll see.

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android, mobile tech

android 'world phone' headed to verizon?

Rumors have been flying around for a couple of months about a dual-radio device coming to Verizon. If you’re not familiar cellular frequencies in the US.  Verizon and Sprint use a CDMA network, and T-Mobile, AT&T, and just about everywhere else in the world usesa  GSM network. By producing a dual-radio device, the HTC device would use  Verizon’s CDMA network in the US, but run with the GSM radio when outside the US to allow for ‘global roaming.’ device.

Pictures of a device with a sizable screen and a [bright red] full QWERTY keyboard started to leak. Then, Engadget got it’s hands on this device working its way through FCC clearance.

source: engadget

Release of this device, code named HTC PD42100, is expected to be early 2011.  In addition to the dual radios, this ‘world phone’ is rumored to sport a 4″ screen,  1.2GHz processor and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. All of this should be taken with a grain of salt, as the details are speculative at best. If the 2011 release holds up, this device may be one of  the first devices to run on Verizon’s upgraded, faster LTE (long term evolution) network. If you really want to get your mobile geek on, click here to read more about Verizon’s network upgrade.

I will be interested to see RIM’s reaction to this device, which could present serious competition to global-capable BlackBerries.

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technology

htc’s clock/weather widget for your desktop

The Sense User Interface (UI) on HTC mobile phones seems to generate love it or hate it feelings with Android phone users. Those who love it, remark that it adds a nice polish to the Android operating system. Those who loathe the UI tend to be fans of stock Android and don’t want anything to “pretty.”

Well, if you fall into the first group, you’re going to love this. CodePlex, an open source project community, has released a version of the HTC clock and weather widget for your Windows 7 desktop.

To download this desktop widget, click here.

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android, mobile tech

first impressions of the droid incredible

A Little Background

As some of you know, I took the plunge and picked up the HTC ADR6300…better known as the Verizon Droid Incredible. Until a few weeks ago, I was patiently waiting for the Google Nexus One to show up on Verizon’s network. Something told me that there was a chance that this phone may never see the light of day on Verizon, and this was proven true this past Friday (Google Announcement).

I have been toying with the idea of upgrading from my LG flip phone to a smartphone. Just as with any self-respecting tech nerd/geek, I have been reading all the technology and mobile tech blogs to get the most current information about devices on the market, or ones expected to release soon. I have a number of friends and colleagues that own the iPhone, and have been bending my ear for years about picking one up for myself. I entertained the idea, but moving to AT&T wasn’t appealing, and I, in all candor, was not that enamored with the iPhone. Before anyone makes claims of me being an Apple hater, let me clarify that I am very fond of Apple products and design. In the case of the iPhone, I just wanted something better.

What that “better” was, I didn’t know. In the last year, there has been increasing talk about the development of devices running with Google’s operating system called Android. Last fall, the Android device that made the most noise is the Motorola Droid. Though the Droid enticed me, I was interested in a phone being developed by Google called the Nexus One. The Nexus One was released on T-Mobile at the beginning of the year. At the time of it’s release, Google shared that it Verizon would carry the Nexus One by the spring. Subsequent to the announcement, word started to spread about a new Android OS device for Verizon. The specs for this Verizon Android device were, surprisingly, better than the Nexus One. So, my deliberation on what road to travel really boiled down to 1) wondering whether I would wait to see if the rumors about a CDMA version of the new iPhone 4G coming to Verizon were true; 2) contemplating jumping networks to get the HTC EVO-4G debuting on Sprint in early June; 3) hold out for the Nexus One; or 4) stay on Verizon and get the Incredible. A fifth option that I’ve taken off the table for now is the Windows Phone 7, expected to debut this fall.

As much as the EVO-4G was (and somewhat still is) calling my name, I decided that I would go with the Nexus One or the Incredible—really whichever one came out first. On April 12, Verizon announced the Droid Incredible would be available on April 29. Pre-orders started on April 19. I was reluctant to pre-order the Incredible because some of the sneak-peek reviews commented that the body felt “plasticky.” This was a little unsettling, since the Nexus One has a good deal of metal in its body. After a good deal of last minute hand-wringing, I took my lunch break from a training class for work to run to the Verizon store on April 29 to pick up the Incredible. The first store I went to was sold out. My first thought was “Damn!” I was told that another store a short Metro ride away had them in stock. I thought, “Hmmm. Maybe this is a sign that I need to think a little longer about this.” However, by the time I hit the door of the store I decided to dash to the other Verizon store. Score! I returned to the last day of my training class (a tad late) with the Incredible sitting on the table charging. It was done. I joined the Android family. Ok, now onto the phone.

Basic Tour of the Incredible

Once you get beyond the standard HTC and Verizon splash screens upon startup, you reach the lock screen. (Note: The Incredible runs on Android OS 2.1, dressed up with HTC’s user interface – Sense. Here’s a peek at the “stock” Android lock screen.)

I added an additional, optional, lock screen to the device.

Once the lock pattern is swiped, you reach the home screen.

The Incredible comes with seven adjustable screens, as opposed to the three screens that come with the Motorola Droid or Nexus One. You can quickly add or delete widgets and programs/apps to any page. You can swipe left or right to reach the different screens (a little bar — just above the phone tab in this picture — moves to let you know where you are in the order of screens) or you can use HTC’s feature called “Leap” that allow you to reduce the screen to a thumbnail view so you can see all seven screens at once. To reach this view, you can either pinch the screen or press the home button.

From this Leap view, you can touch any of the thumbnails to immediately go to a particular screen. I like the Leap feature, because at times I get tired of the swiping gesture and want to get a screen quickly. The other way to get to programs or apps quickly is to press the up arrow — to the left of the phone tab in the picture below.

Pressing the arrow pulls up your program/apps launcher. This screen scrolls up and down. You can look at the programs and apps in a grid or list view. I prefer the grid view because your list can get pretty long if you start adding a bunch of apps. You may have noticed an “M” in the stop left corner of the screen in the pictures above. This is the notifications area of the screen. This is the area of the phone that will give you information about new e-mail, text messages, and updates coming in to your apps. (Multitasking) For instance, the “M” in the notifications bar on my phone indicates a new e-mail. To learn more about the notifications, I simply swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the notifications window.

From the notifications window, you can touch the particular notification, and it will take you to the program. If you want to ignore the notifications, you just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to close the notification window.

Impressions

I am pretty comfortable with different operating systems, so the transition from a basic cellphone to the Incredible and Android OS was pretty easy. Though I use a Blackberry for work, the operating system is nothing like what you’re used to. I think anyone that’s accustomed to an iPhone or iPod Touch will move around the phone pretty intuitively. There are certain things that act differently from the iPhone, such as the screens swipe left and right more than up and down. Minor differences, though, in the scheme of things. Basic set up is reallyeasy, especially if you use Gmail. Once you type in your Gmail username and password, the phone will populate with your e-mail, calendar and contacts from Google. If you use Yahoo, Hotmail or any other service for e-mail, including Microsoft Exchange, you can add the accounts easily in the HTC mail client. Here are a couple of things worth noting about the way things work with HTC Sense.

  • If you use Gmail. Be aware that the Gmail app baked into the operating system doesn’t, at this point, have cut-and-paste. If cut-and-paste capability in e-mail is important to you, use the HTC mail client. The cut-and-paste in the HTC mail client is easy to use. The only drawback, that I can see, to using the HTC mail client is that it doesn’t appear to show HTML e-mail—at least consistently. The Gmail app shows HTML messages, usually asking you if you want to show images before drawing all that additional data.
  • HTC Sense has a great “people” (think contacts) feature. Instead of having to search around for an e-mail, text message, or phone call from a particular person, you can just go to that person’s contact page in your People app. At the bottom of each contact page are a series of icons that let you see all the e-mails, text messages, photos, social media updates and phone calls from that person. However, in order to take full advantage of this feature, you need to use the HTC mail client and run your text messages through the HTC messages program. I use the Google voice and Gmail apps, so my e-mail and text messages don’t associate with contacts in HTC’s People feature.

There are a ton of videos and articles that can give you more information on the Sense and general Android features, so I won’t drone on about them here. Android Central has a great round up of articles and information (including videos, and tips and tricks) about the Incredible on its site and forum.

Let me touch on the fit and finish of the devices body, which initially gave me pause. Though the front part of the phone is made of a shiny black plastic, it doesn’t feel or look cheap. I analogized it to my Zune. It’s plastic, but if feels substantial. The back of the phone is contoured.

The material used on the back of the Incredible feels somewhat rubberized. Though a bit unusual, the contoured back doesn’t affect the feel of the phone, and, in my opinion, adds a little bit of a unique design flare to the Incredible.

The Incredible is very light. Not cheap-feeling light, but light. I probably would have preferred something a little more substantial in my hand, but the light weight is great when you have this phone in your pocket. Additionally, the Incredible doesn’t feel flimsy in your hand. I was just surprised that a device with all these capabilities would only weight a touch more than my flip phone.

I will write another installment to go over some of the apps—both native and those downloaded from the Android Market, but I want to talk about just a few other things really quick.

Keyboard

If you’re moving from a basic mobile phone or a smartphone, such as the Blackberry, with a physical keyboard, to a touch screen-only device, it can be an adjustment. Most iPhone users I know say, “You get used to it.” That may be true, there is something to be said about a physical keyboard. Even after a few weeks with the Incredible, I find that I type much faster on my Blackberry. The Incredible does give you feedback when you touch letters on the screen, which helps.If you like the Android OS, but want a physical keyboard, you need to look at the Droid, CLIQ, Ally, or the new MyTouch3G slider that’s coming out soon.

Like most people, I find that the keyboard is much easier to use in landscape mode (holding the Incredible sideways) than in portrait mode. Perhaps because I have larger fingers, but the most accurate way to type in portrait mode is one finger tapping. Using two thumbs in portrait mode, for me, caused me to hit the wrong keys too often. In either orientation, I appreciate — well most of the time — the auto=correct or suggestion feature. As you type the Incredible intuitively tries to figure out what you’re typing. It’s particularly helpful on long words because as you type, words appear above and you simply tap the word to replace what you started. The problem comes when you have words that you know are right and the auto-correct replaces the word for you. The simple, but somewhat annoying way to deal with that is to tap the word you typed on the suggested word list. When you do this, the word you typed is added to the phone’s dictionary for future use. It’s a nice feature, but I’ve found that having to add words here and there through an e-mail slows down my typing. The up-side, I don’t know if it’s unintended, of the auto-correct is that it forces me to proof what I’ve written. (Though I usually do that anyway.)

Oh, if you make errors while you’re typing, you can tap the screen to move the cursor back to the area you need to correct. There’s also an optical track pad at the bottom of the Incredible that allows you to move through elements on the screen. I’ve found the optical track pad to be quite responsive. You just have to get accustomed to the amount of finger movement required to get around the screen accurately.

Battery Life

One of the biggest knocks I’ve seen on the phone is it’s relatively weak battery life. I’m sure the multiple programs/apps running have a lot to do with battery performance. There are programs you can download to control or “kill” background apps to save battery life. You can also adjust the default syncing option for the phone to control what programs and apps draw data automatically.

I was a bit concerned about battery life in the first week with the phone. I was, admittedly, playing with the phone a lot, so I couldn’t really judge whether the battery was weak or if I was abnormally taxing the phone. In the past week, I’ve noticed much better battery life, but “better” still means I only get less than full day’s use with a charge. Unlike standard cell phones and Blackberries, you will need to charge the Incredible daily unless you have almost no apps running on the phone.

There are other batteries available that fit into the phone, and extended batteries are on the way. I may consider the higher capacity battery that fits into the phone, but I don’t like extended batteries because they alter the dimensions of the phone—pushing out the back with a different cover.

Camera

I am a photographer, so my scrutiny of the quality of images is probably more exacting than others. While I don’t expect the Incredible to replace my DSLRs, I have been curious to see if the 8 megapixel camera could stand in place of my point-and-shoot for daily snapshots and video. Right up front, I will say that I am disappointed that the video camera does not record in 720p high definition format. This is particularly curious, given that the Sprint EVO-4G has the same camera and records in 720p. If you spend anytime looking at video on YouTube, Vimeo, or other sites, you will appreciate the quality of HD video. Setting that annoyance aside, I found that the camera takes pretty decent images. The camera has selective focus, meaning you can touch different areas of the screen to shift the focus, but so far I’ve found that the focus system is not as accurate as I’d like. Here are some examples I grabbed for this piece.

Images

Notice that Carla’s picture is not quite in focus. I touched the focus area on her face several times before snapping the picture. I even reduced the resolution of the images from 8MP to 1MP in the hopes that it would write faster, and, thus, reduce any affects of camera shake.

Video

Again, notice in the second video that the rose is not in focus, though it’s closest to the camera. I selected the focus area on the rose, and made sure I was a sufficient distance from the rose so it was not too close to focus. I suspect that spending more time with the camera will result in better image and video quality.

Screen

The Incredible has a great screen with vibrant colors and deep, rich blacks. The response to touch, which is critical on a device with no keyboard, is fast and precise. I like the haptic feedback (it vibrates a little) when you make particular touch inputs. Speaking of touch…if you anywhere near the OCD issues I have, the fingerprints and smudges on the screen will just about drive you batty–even with a screen protector. I keep a soft lens cloth with me at all times. I guess this just comes with the territory with touch screen devices. It is worth noting that one of the drawbacks of AMOLED (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screens is that they suffer from significant washout in direct sunlight.

I don’t know how many of you are walking around using your phone in direct sunlight. However, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, you might want to think twice about this phone and look at the Droid, instead. In the couple of weeks that I’ve had the phone, screen glare has not been a problem.

Verdict

I love the Incredible. If you’re looking to upgrade from a standard phone or an existing smartphone, I don’t think you can go wrong. As with any smartphone on the market, there are pros and cons that you should weigh, but the Incredible has far more pros and cons. If you’re on Verizon, or open to changing networks, I would strongly recommend this device. In all candor, more than a couple of times, I’ve wondered whether I should return the phone and move to Sprint to get the EVO-4G, because (among other things) it’s larger, has HD video recording, and can act as a mobile hotspot for up to eight devices. The thing that would likely keep me at home on Verizon with my Incredible is that I don’t like bulk and can’t imagine having the EVO in my pocket. Stay tuned for another piece, or two, on some of the programs and apps, as well as some tips for using the Incredible. Please let me know if you have specific questions. I’d be happy to add them to my next piece, or create a Q&A sheet.

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android, mobile tech

incredibly purdy

Maybe only a tech geek would refer to a phone as pretty or sexy, but the HTC … ahem … I mean Droid Incredible announced today for Verizon Wireless is definitely one good lookin’ piece of mobile goodness.

For a number of people waiting on the Google Nexus One to debut on Verizon, the Incredible throws a serious wrench into the mix. In many ways, the Incredible has more features packed into it than the Nexus One.

Here is the official press release from Verizon, which lists some of the exciting features. 

It’s a Droid, It’s Incredible, It’s on the Nation’s LARGEST And Most Reliable 3G Network DROID Incredible™ by HTC Combines Power of Android™, Usability of HTC Sense™, Exclusively from Verizon Wireless

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and NEW YORK – Verizon Wireless today announced DROID Incredible by HTC, the newest Android device on the nation’s most reliable wireless 3G network, will be available beginning April 29. Featuring a “topographic” design that demonstrates the powerful engineering just beneath the surface, DROID Incredible by HTC is designed with craftsmanship and precision while making it easier than ever to stay connected. DROID Incredible by HTC features the newest version of the HTC Sense experience, a seven-panel home screen with a wide selection of interactive widgets so the most important content is immediately available at a touch.

Customers will enjoy seamless integration with Exchange ActiveSync®, quick and easy access to Flickr for sharing and viewing pictures, video, and Android Market™ with more than 30,000 Google applications. DROID Incredible by HTC is the first Verizon Wireless phone that takes advantage of Qualcomm’s 1GHz superfast Snapdragon processor, and it’s the first available phone from Verizon Wireless to include an 8 megapixel camera.

Shortly after the phone becomes available, customers will be able to enjoy two of the latest exclusive apps from Verizon Wireless – NFL Mobile and Skype mobile™.
Additional Key features:

* Android 2.1 with HTC Sense experience
* 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ processor for maximum responsiveness
* Friend Stream for unified Flickr, Facebook and Twitter updates
* “Leap” view for quick access to all seven home screen panels
* 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash for crisp, detailed images
* Razor-sharp 3.7 inch WVGA (480×800) AMOLED capacitive touch display
* Optical joystick for smooth navigation
* Dedicated, touch-sensitive Home, Menu, Back and Search keys
* Proximity sensor, light sensor and digital compass
* Integrated GPS
* Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
* 3.5 mm headset jack

Price and availability:

* DROID Incredible will be available for pre-order online at www.verizonwireless.com beginning on April 19 and it will be in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores on April 29. Pricing will be $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.
* DROID Incredible customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access. Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.
* For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
As you can see, the phone will retail for $199 (after a $100 rebate) with a two-year contract, or $599 unlocked. Don’t forget you’ll have to add a $30 data plan if you intend to get this phone.
Pre-sale for the Droid Incredible starts this coming Monday, April 19. Click here if you want to sign up for information about the pre-sale.

In case you’re wondering, I think yours truly will be forking over two bills on April 19 and be up early on April 29 (my annivesary) to retrieve this beauty.

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