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Droid launch draws tech-savvy crowd to Verizon store

November 6, 2009 11:31 AM ET

Both McCarthy and Perrone typified the early crowd at Chestnut Hill, which was made up of tech-savvy early adopters.

McCarthy said he had spent a few weeks learning all he could about the Droid; he even knew how many seconds it would take to fully boot. "It takes longer than some phones, because it's really a full computer," he said.

But the longer boot time is a small trade-off for getting a large touch-screen device with a separate physical keyboard that runs Wi-Fi, McCarthy said. The Droid's display has almost twice as many pixels as the displays on some other devices, McCarthy noted.

The Droid crowd at Chestnut Hill was decidedly male, although the first 20 customers included two women, one of whom described herself as an early adopter and said she wanted a Droid so she could combine her work and personal e-mail accounts on a single device.

Jane Song, a hospital administrator, said she currently has a BlackBerry Pearl smartphone with Verizon service for personal e-mail and a BlackBerry Curve with AT&T service for work e-mail.

"I really wanted an iPhone and I wished it worked on Verizon," Song said. She said she prefers Verizon's service over AT&T's, however, having noticed that her Curve on AT&T sometimes experiences coverage gaps when Verizon service does not.

Before making her purchase, Song played with a display unit of a Droid in the Verizon store and said it was heavier than she thought it would be. On the other hand, the Droid's touch screen "is better than the iPhone," she said after a few minutes of use.

Song said she wished Droid would operate over a GSM network so she could use it internationally.

Steve Kearns, a software engineer from Boston, said he bought a Droid partly to learn about Android 2.0, the Droid's operating system, and potentially to design an application for the device, even one that might someday be sold in the Android Market online software store.

"I'm really interested in the open development platform," he said. The only downside of buying a Droid, Kearns said, will be that he already has a rich store of songs on iTunes, and he won't be able to easily sync them to his Droid. Songs for Droids are available via Amazon.com, but Kearns said he's not interested in that approach.

The Droid also has a faster processor and will provide better Web browsing than his previous phone, an LG VX1000, Kearns added. "Web browsing is pretty bad" on his LG device, he noted.

Seth Drasner, an accountant, said he was getting a Droid to replace his LG Voyager phone. He said he liked the fact that the Droid has a faster processor and a "good" real-time browser. He said he doesn't expect to do many work-related tasks with his Droid, noting that he prefers to use a PC for work.



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