Droid 2 Shines with Google Voice Actions, Chrome to Phone

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Droid 2 Shines with Google Voice Actions, Chrome to Phone

by Clint Boulton

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Droid 2 Dimensions

Like the Motorola Droid, the Droid 2 weighs about 6 ounces, but doesnt feel as heavy. It's still a porker compared to the HTC Droid Incredible, which shares the Droid 2's 3.7-inch screen but trims the virtual keyboard to weigh only 4.6 ounces. The device is 4.6 inches long, 2.4 inches wide and a half-inch thick.

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The QWERTY Keyboard

The Droid 2 keyboard's raised keys for easy typing is a vast improvement over the first Droid. Having a 3.7-inch screen compared to the power-hogging, 4.3-inch screens of the HTC Evo 4G and Motorola Droid X mean more live time for the Droid 2, whose 1400 mAh battery allows for 575 hours of talk time and 315 standby hours.

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Camera

Compared to the 8-megapixel super cameras of the HTC Evo 4G and Motorola Droid X, the Droid 2's 5-megapixel, dual LED flash lens seems almost pedestrian. However, photos were crisp and clean, as were the video-shooting capabilities.

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Mobile Applications

Droid 2 runs Android 2.2 and supports Adobe Flash 10.1, but a few speed changes were evident—something Google touted about the new OS. The device also sports a 1 GHx processor, blowing away the original Droid. What we really noticed were the new Google mobile applications, Google Voice Actions for Android and Chrome to Phone. See their widgets installed on one of the Droid 2's seven customizable home screens here. At this time, both apps are geared for smartphones running Android 2.2 only.

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Voice Actions for Android

Google's Voice Actions for Android lets users speak commands to operate the phone. The feature, an extension of Google's Search by Voice technology, is accessible via a widget in the Android Market.

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Call a Restaurant

Simply say "Call Johnny's" and the Droid 2's dialer places the call. You can also text or see a Google Map of where the business is located.

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Voice Action Commands

Here's the list of voice commands users may employ with the app.

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Voice Action Commands Work—Sometimes

Several attempts to "call Marisa's Restaurant" were unsuccessful, but eWEEK did score in looking for a map of Trumbull, Conn., using the Voice Actions for Android feature in Voice Search.

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Google Map Access

And here's the full Google Map.

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Chrome to Phone

Chrome to Phone lets users send links and text from Web pages viewed in the Google Chrome Web browser to their Android 2.2-based smartphone. This app takes a bit more effort to use because it involves installing an app to the desktop or laptop and one from the Android Market for a supporting smartphone. Let's walk through the desktop download first. Users must install the Chrome to Phone extension from Google's Chrome Extension Gallery.

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On the Desktop

The extension appears as a phone icon in the top right-hand corner of Chrome.

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Requires a Google Account

Chrome to Phone users must have a Google Account to sign in.

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Success!

Users should see this screen when they sign in.

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Chrome to Phone in Android Market

Then we had to download Chrome to Phone from the Android Market. We saw a similar screen.

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Verifications

As with the desktop extension, users must assign an account to the app.

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Automatic or Manual?

Once permission is granted, users must decide whether to launch links from their Chrome to Phone extension automatically or manually in the Android Web browser. In this case, eWEEK chose automatic.

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Sending Web Links

Here, eWEEK tested the first link we saw, sending this San Jose Mercury News story about Apple kickbacks to our Droid 2 unit by simply clicking the Chrome to Phone extension button.

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Voila!

Literally less than a second later, this story was launched in a new browser window on the Droid 2.

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Sending a Google Map

Next, eWEEK sent a Google Map of Central Park in New York City to the Droid 2 from Chrome to Phone and it worked well.

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Final Word

Ultimately, we'd recommend the Droid 2 to anyone who was interested in the Droid but desires twice the speed and battery power.

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