What Are the Downsides to Droid?

Droid_by_Motorola_Front_Open_VZW_EyeUPDATED Verizon Wireless is ramping up for Friday’s launch of the Motorola Droid, and the device has created substantial buzz, thanks to generally positive reviews and the carrier’s big-budget marketing campaign. But some users — including Om — say the handset has been overhyped and is no threat to the iPhone. The Droid does have a few noticeable shortcomings, including:

  • Accessing the Droid’s built-in support for Microsoft (s msft) Exchange ActiveSync will cost users an additional $15 a month. (UPDATE: Gearlog is reporting that this isn’t true; according to the post, the additional $15 fee is for business account holders, not Exchange access.) While the charge isn’t new — Verizon has long charged BlackBerry users a tacked-on fee, and AT&T (s t) and T-Mobile USA have similar plans — it could hinder the gadget’s uptake among business users.
  • Like other Android gadgets, the Droid’s app storage is limited to a meager 256MB. Yes, it comes with a 16GB SD card that can be replaced with a 32GB card, but there’s likely to be some backlash from consumers who’ve never used removable memory before.
  • The Droid’s browser is inferior to the iPhone 3.1 Safari browser, according to MobileCrunch, with slower page loads and slightly less compliance to web standards.
  • While the European version of the Droid — which is dubbed the Milestone — features a multitouch screen, the U.S. version does not, eliminating the ability for users to pinch and zoom as they can on the iPhone.

None of these shortcomings are particularly damning, of course, and I expect the Droid to sell well this holiday season. But there’s certainly some fodder here for Apple to fire back with a “Droid doesn’t” commercial or two.