Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android

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gigaom_icon_google-android1Welcome to our newest Monday feature — Android Ecosystem! Last week’s news was generally dominated with the launch of the Motorola Droid and Eris, so this week will likely present some longer term impressions with both devices. I’ve been thorough enjoying watching Dave Winer with his new Droid — he even started a new community blog for the device!  James has used his loaner Droid for several days and offers more insights while I read an interesting article from Computerworld — Galen Gruman feels that the Droid Eris is better device. Considering that you can save about $100 by purchasing the Eris and the Droid’s hardware keybaord — missing on the Eris — isn’t gaining rave reviews and he raises a good point.

True, you’re dealing with Android 1.6, but you’re gaining a slick UI with HTC’s Sense. Besides, HTC has reported that Sense is coming to Android 2.0 on the Hero, so it’s not a stretch to see the Eris (essentially, the same phone) gain an Android update with Sense from Verizon in the near future. Going back to the point about saving money for a sec: you can nab either the Droid or Droid Eris for even less through Wirefly — the Motorola Droid is reportedly $99 while the Eris is free with a new two-year contract.

Getting away from phones, it’s worth a mention that the Android-x86 project continues to make progress with Android porting to x86 computers. I recently used their build to get Android 1.6 on my 1.33 GHz Intel Core Solo powered Samsung Q1UP UMPC. Since that build, the project team has incorporated several new features including support for Bluetooth. I’ll be taking another look at it in the near future because I’d like to use a Bluetooth keyboard with my device — rumor has it that the button next to the CTRL key is the magic “Menu” button in Android. While I wait for the next build, here’s a look at how Android functions on such a device.

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Kevin or James maybe one of you can answer this since you have both used Android phones. I am going to be getting an Android phone for a client and he has trouble with his vision. Are you able to zoom in on emails like the iphone? I know it sounds like a simple question but I haven’t been able to find an answer. I was thinking about getting him either the Blackberry Storm or one of the two android phones on verizon but my issue is that it has to be friendly for someone who has poor vision and who is pretty old and a nontechie type. He basically wants email and a phone that is easy for him to dial.

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