News Analysis: I read something yesterday that rankled me. In an interview with the New York Times, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein knocked the Motorola Droid, questioning its mainstream market appeal and dismissing the device as a techie phone.
"Android, and the Droid in particular, are designed for the techie audience," Rubinstein told the Times. "We are doing a more general product that helps people live their lives seamlessly."
I spent this past weekend with the Droid, courtesy of its carrier Verizon Wireless. As you can see from my review comparing it to the Eris, I found it intuitive and easy to use -- easier in some ways than the Eris because it offers different options for typing (physical keyboard, plus touch screen) and snapping photos (can be done physically, as well as on the touch screen.)
But I'm no techie, at least I don't consider myself one. When I hear "techie," I turn around and look for my IT guy, or a programmer -- real geeks who write software.
I consume Web services from Google, Facebook, Twitter and others like most everyone else in high-tech media, but I don't code. I still found it really easy to get comfortable with the Droid, no doubt in part because of it offers me access to the same Web services I already use.
The Droid gracefully enabled me to use the same applications on use on my laptop for work and personal use, with little drop off in user experience. How is that not a sign of a great consumer device? Isn't Apple's iPhone touted for the same?
What is a techie phone? By techie phone, does he mean that it enables me to use a lot of interesting applications?
Well, it certainly does that -- and pretty well I might add. In addition to Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, fewer things are as liberating as getting turn-by-turn instructions from your smartphone instead of your Garmin GPS. (this, by the way, lends credence to my colleague Jim Rapoza's assertion that single purpose devices, such as the Amazon Kindle, are doomed. For more on that, I'll be reviewing the TwitterPeek soon).
Allegedly, 250,000 units of the Droid sold in its first week. Does that mean 250,000 techies bought it? Unlikely.