The Droid 3 is finally here. (Now if Moto could only end our half-year wait for the Bionic. Dreams, I know.) The new Droid is be an awesome phone, especially for those who prefer having a physical keyboard. However, there are some pretty big disappointments with this Droid. It has no 4G support, it apparently will have a locked bootloader, and it ships with Motorola's much-maligned UI, Blur. Will this turn off consumers? We discussed this topic along with several others during this week's PhoneDog Live and we'll recap and elaborate in this article. For discussion on other topics like Google buying RIM, iPhone 5 and iPad 3 rumors, and more check out the full video on our YouTube channel.
I personally love having a physical keyboard. I do alright with virtual keyboards, but there's a certain sense of security that comes with being able to press a real button. For that reason alone, I covet any new smartphone with a physical QWERTY. Except for the Droid 3. The fact that it ships with Blur is an automatic turn-off for me. I've never been a fan of the UI. Now, I know that I can easily download a homescreen replacement, but when considering what you get out of the box and if I would recommend it to the average Joe, it's not one of my favorites.
The lack of 4G is tolerable, but there's no reason to, not when you have other options like the LG Revolution, Droid Charge, and HTC Thunderbolt. (As an added bonus, none of these phones use Blur.) True, none of those phones can match the Droid 3's dual-core processor, but the much-anticipated Droid Bionic can. It's hard to shell out the cash when you know that something better is coming within a few months (hopefully). If you're not in a 4G market, then obviously this isn't a huge problem for you. If that's the case, the Droid 3 is probably the best Android smartphone currently on Verizon. (Probably. Note that we haven't tested it yet.)
There is talk that the Droid 3 will ship with a locked bootloader. This may be a big turn-off for Android loyalists or at least for people who enjoy hacking and modding their phone. (For an in-depth explanation of what a bootloader is, check out Taylor Martin's excellent piece.) It's not impossible to hack a phone with a locked bootloader, but it makes the process more difficult, less fun, and increases the risks of bricking the device. Though this will not bother most consumers, the majority of our readers and viewers, however, understand the advantages of rooting and a lot of you guys do this as soon as you take your phone out of the box.
So what do we have then? A flagship device with no 4G, a very unpopular UI, and a locked bootloader. Will this deter you from buying the Droid 3? Well, it certainly seemed to upset most of the viewers who watched the live broadcast this week. Several lamented Moto's custom UI, others said the lack of 4G did it for them. There were others who admitted that rooting wasn't really their thing and they don't live in a 4G market anyway so that feature is not a selling point.
I still think the Droid will be a beast of a phone and an excellent choice for anyone on Verizon. Still, I'm confused as to why Motorola and Verizon did not choose to make it a 4G device. The Droid is Android's flagship phone. Not just Verizon's flagship phone, but the Android ambassador. This is where it all started. Surely you would want to pack everything you could into this device. After all, it has everything else - a high-res display, a dual-core processor, a stellar camera capable of capturing full HD video, and the list goes on. 4G seemed like a no-brainer. Who knows? Is the Droid 3 disappointing? In some ways, yes. Is it still worth buying? Absolutely. (Unless you feel like waiting until who knows when for the Bionic.)
If you'd like to watch the next episode of PhoneDog Live, we'll be broadcasting every Friday at 5 p.m. ET from our Ustream channel. You can watch it directly from Ustream or from our Facebook page. This week's show is available to watch on our YouTube channel.