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Droid Incredible from Verizon Wireless / HTC
  (5/2010)

    by Douglas Dixon

 

Recent Smartphone articles:

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on smartphones


Verizon / HTC Droid Incredible

The modestly named Verizon Wireless Droid Incredible from HTC is the latest incarnation of the Google Android smartphone platform, featuring a slim design, a speedy processor for wicked fast responsiveness (compared to the Droid), and the highly-customizable HTC Sense interface (with extended Android apps).

The Incredible is a relative of the Motorola Droid (but without the slide-out keyboard), and a close cousin to the Google Nexus One, but now available on the Verizon Wireless network (http://phones.verizonwireless.com/htc/incredible).


  Verizon / HTC Droid Incredible

The Incredible has a faster 1 GHz Snapdragon processor than the Droid's Arm 550 mHz and you feel the difference. For example, when downloading multiple apps in the Google Marketplace the Droid will hesitate for multiple seconds when bringing up confirmation screens, but the Incredible just keeps on responding.

The Incredible also steps up the hardware features from the Droid and the Nexus One in several interesting ways, with an 8 MP camera (from 5 MP), built-in 8 GB internal memory for storing documents and media (in addition to the removable MicroSD card), and a FM radio.

The Droid Incredible is priced at $199.99 from Verizon after $100 mail-in rebate (as a debit card), with a new 2-year agreement. It requires a Nationwide Talk plan (from $39.99/month), and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan (from $29.99 for unlimited monthly access). Verizon is also offering a free 2 GB memory card for purchases before May 31, 2010.

Find the Verizon Droid Incredible on Amazon.com

Verizon Wireless / HTC Droid Incredible - Summary Specs

  • 3.7 in. touch screen, 480 x 800
  • 8 MP camera, auto focus and dual LED flash
  • Optical joystick / button for navigation
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
  • FM Radio - with wired headset connected
  • Android 2.1 with HTC Sense experience
  • 512 MB RAM + 8 GB internal
       + microSD to 32 GB
  • 4.63 x 2.3 x 0.47 in., 4.59 oz. w/ battery
  • 4/10 - $199, w/ new 2-year agreement

Droid Incredible - Product Information

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The Evolution of Android Smartphones

The Verizon Wireless / Motorola Droid, introduced in November 2009, was the flagship device for the updated Google Android 2.0 interface, featuring enhanced navigation and searching.

The Droid design also incorporated a slide-out QWERTY keypad, with the trade-odd of adding weight to the design.


   Verizon Wireless / Motorola Droid with slide-out keyboard

The Google / HTC Nexus One, introduced in January 2010, featured the Android 2.1 update, with voice-enable keyboard, live wallpapers, and expanded home screens and widgets. And for those who do not need a physical keyboard, it was thinner and lighter.


  Google / HTC Nexus One

When Google introduced the Nexus One with T-Mobile, it also announced soon-to-be introduced partnerships with Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and Vodafone in Europe. But as of late April, Google posted an updated recommendation  saying that that customers who have been waiting for the Nexus One on the Verizon Wireless network instead should get the new Droid Incredible by HTC, described as "a powerful new Android phone and a cousin of the Nexus One that is similarly feature-packed" (http://googlenexusoneboard.blogspot.com/2010/04/update-on-nexus-one-partnerships.html).

And so it is -- the Verizon Wireless / HTC Droid Incredible is very similar to the Nexus One, but with interesting differences including a higher-res 8 MP camera, a built-in 8 GB internal memory (in addition to a MicroSD card), and FM radio. It also uses the HTC Sense interface, with modifications to the Android interface and key apps to provide a more customization of the interface and integration among applications.

Find the Verizon Droid on Amazon.com

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Droid Incredible - Comparison with Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One

The Droid Incredible is most similar to the Google Nexus One in basic design, compared to the Droid with slide-out keyboard.

Similar size, Droid heavier (~ 6 vs. 4.6 oz.)

  • Nexus One - 4.69 x 2.35 x 0.45 in. thick), 4.59 oz. w/battery
  • Incredible - 4.63 x 2.3 x 0.47 in. thick, 4.59 oz. w/ battery
  • Droid - 4.56 x 2.36 x 0.54 in. thick, 5.96 oz (with slide-out keyboard)

Features

  • Incredible & Nexus One have faster processor - 1 GHz Snapdragon; Droid has Arm Cortex A8 550 mHz
  • Droid has higher-res screen - 480 x 854; Incredible & Nexus One 480 x 800
  • Incredible has 8 MP camera - Nexus One and Droid are 5 MP
  • Incredible adds FM Radio

Storage

  • Incredible has 8 GB internal memory; Also add MicroSD card for up to 32 GB
  • Nexus One - Includes 4 GB MicroSD card
  • Droid - Includes 16 GB MicroSD card


HTC Sense interface on the Verizon Droid Incredible

  • Notification bar (top)
  • Clock widget with weather
  • Google Market and Camera apps
  • Internet, People, Messages, Mail apps
  • Bottom bar: All apps, Phone, Add to Home
  • Physical buttons: Home, Menu, Back, Search


Controls - Keyboard

  • Droid - Physical slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, with directional keypad
  • Incredible - Optical joystick / button (Droid has keypad), Nexus One - Trackball / button
  • Incredible - Virtual on-screen keyboard is slightly larger (than Droid)
    • Alternate characters on key (long press to select)
    • QWERTY / Compact / Phone keyboards

Physical Design

  • Dedicated buttons: Incredible - Home, Menu, Back, Search ("menu" spelled out)
    • Droid / Nexus One - Back, Menu, Home, Search (Droid design larger, more visible)
  • Droid - Dedicated camera button (not on Incredible / Nexus One - use joystick)
  • Incredible / Nexus One - Notification LED: Battery level (not on Droid)
  • Incredible - Speaker on top front (Droid & Nexus One in back)
  • Nexus One - has second microphone for dynamic noise suppression
  • Incredible - Entire back is removable back cover

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Droid Incredible - Hardware Specifications

More details on the Droid Incredible hardware design

  • 3.7-inch screen, AMOLED capacitive touch-sensitive screen, 480 x 800 WVGA resolution
  • 8-megapixel color camera, auto focus and 2x (dual) LED flash, Video capture
  • Optical joystick / button for onscreen navigation - Good for jumping between website links
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm QSD8650
  • Memory: 512 (576) MB DDR RAM, 512 MB ROM
    • 8 GB internal Flash memory
    • microSD memory card (SDHC 2.0 compatible), Up to 32 MB. No pre-installed card
      • (slot on side under cover)
    • Memory card used to store music, photos and videos (cannot use internal RAM)
    • Internal 8 MB memory supported by HTC apps: Photos, Music, etc.
    • Applications can only be installed to internal storage
  • Sensors: G-Sensor, Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light
  • Internal GPS antenna / e911, haptic feedback
  • Notification LED (top right): Battery level, pending notification
    • Solid green - Phone connected to power and fully charged
    • Solid red - battery being charged, Flashing red - battery low
    • Flashing green - pending notification


Interior of the Verizon Wireless / HTC Droid Incredible

  • Remove entire back cover
  • Battery (center)
  • MicroSD slot (bottom left side of battery)

(Yes, the exterior is red)

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g
    • Bluetooth 2.1 with Headset, Handsfree, Stereo, Phonebook Access profiles
      • (A2DP for wireless stereo headsets, FTP/OPP for file transfer,  PBAP for phonebook access from car kit
  • Mobile Broadband Connect - Use phone as a modem over USB cable, via VZ Access Manager on PC
  • Supported Audio Formats: Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma; Recording: .amr
    • Video Formats: Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv; Recording: .3gp
  • Network: Dual-band (800 and 1900MHz) CDMA2000 1xRTT/1xEVDO/1xEVDO rev. A and IS-95A/B voice or data
    • Up to 1.8 Mbps uplink and 3.1 Mbps downlink speeds
  • Dedicated keys, touch-sensitive: Home, Menu, Back, Search  ["menu" spelled out
  • 3.5mm stereo audio headset jack, micro-USB (12-pin micro-USB 2.0)
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, 1300 mAh
    • Talk to 313 minutes, Standby to 146 hours
  • AC Adapter 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60Hz, DC output: 5V and 1A
  • In-Box: Main unit, Micro USB cable, Battery (1300 mAh), AC adapter, Quick Start Guide
  • 4.63 x 2.30 x 0.47 in., 4.6 oz. with battery (117.5 x 58.5 x 11.9 mm, 130 g)
  • 4/10 - Introduced - $199.99 after $100 mail-in rebate (debit card), new 2-year agreement
    • Free 2 GB memory card for purchases before May 31, 2010
    • With Nationwide Talk plan from $39.99/month,
    • Email and Web for Smartphone plan from $29.99 for unlimited monthly access

Data Transfer

The Android platform does not have a common integrated desktop syncing mechanism like Apple iTunes, Palm HotSync, or Windows Mobile ActiveSync. With its focus on cloud computing, Android instead includes an online sync mechanism linked to your Google accounts, to control syncing with Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar. Other apps also can be set up to sync data automatically to online servers.

However, if you want to sync with information or media files on the desktop, or to do backups, you will need to combine several different solutions, and possibly add third-party solutions.

Out of the box, the Droid Incredible supports file transfer via USB and Bluetooth, includes HTC Sync for syncing with Outlook contacts and calendar, and supports Verizon Backup Assistant for online backup of contacts.

File Transfer: USB External Drive / Bluetooth

  • USB: Transfer files (and photos, music, video) computer to phone’s storage card
    • Connect phone using the USB cable, choose Disk Drive option
    • Mounts as external USB drive, Drag and drop files
  • Bluetooth: Transfer files using Share > Bluetooth in apps including Photos / videos, Music, People (contacts), Calendar (events)

HTC Sync - Synchronize with PC Outlook

  • Synchronize Outlook contacts and calendar
    • or Outlook Express contacts / Windows Address Book (Windows)
  • Install third-party Android applications
  • Mobile Network sharing function (?)
  • www.htc.com/us

Verizon Backup Assistant

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HTC Sense Interface / Applications

The HTC Incredible runs Android 2.1 (Éclair) with the HTC Sense augmented Android interface, including the Home screen (Scene themes, 7 Leap panels), enhanced core apps (Browser, Mail, People, Calendar), and additional apps and widgets. HTC describes Sense with the "core tenets of Make It Mine, Stay Close and Discover the Unexpected."

HTC Sense PR 2/10 - http://www.htc.com/www/press.aspx?id=124748&lang=1033

HTC Sense Experience / Interface

The HTC Sense interface extends the standard Android Home page with five panels and a "Leap" feature to show thumbnails of all five panels to jump quickly between them. The interface also offers plethora of large widgets for direct access to your e-mail, text messages, and other favorite information on one of the Home screen panels -- although the full app for each is also just a tap away with the same responsiveness as flicking to a widget.

  • Extended Home screen: 7 panels, press and hold to drag to other screens
    • Leap view (thumbnail) of all Home screens: press Home twice or make pinch motion
  • Pinch to zoom - in Internet (browser), Camera / Gallery, Google Maps
  • HTC Scenes - Themes - Personalized home screen layouts, plus wallpaper background
  • HTC Widgets - (different from Android widgets)
    • Downloadable clock, calendar, mail, people, Footprints
  • People app - View contact interactions - email, updates, texts, tweets
    • Import from Gmail, Phone, Exchange ActiveSync, HTC Sync, Facebook
  • Friend Stream app - Unified updates across multiple social networks
    • Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr
    • Single stream of updates, photo posts, and shared links
    • Single comment broadcast to Facebook and Twitter
    • View updates: All updates, Status updates, Photos, and Links
    • Refresh to update all contacts, view all Friends, Share update status
    • Settings to customize update stream to view
    • Place on Home screen as a widget to directly update status
    • and view friends’ updates without having to launch additional apps
    • Gallery - Combines phone photos with Picasa Web albums ??


  HTC Sense Widgets: Array of sizes and designs -- Clocks, Weather
    Direct access to apps: Photos, Twitter, Calendar, Mail, Messages

HTC Changed Apps

The HTC Sense interface also extends many of the core Android apps -- Browser, Mail, People, Calendar, etc. -- to add additional features, especially for a more integrated view of your information. For example, the People app combines your contact information with associated communications, including email, updates, texts, tweets, and the Photo Gallery app combines photos on the phone with online Picasa Web albums.

These apps also need to be modified for a second reason -- to support the internal 8 GB memory, which is not found by standard Android apps, but is a nice place to stash media files and saved documents that you can continue to access even when you swap the removable MicroSD card.

  • Core Android apps modified as part of HTC Sense
    • Browser->Internet, Contacts->People, Messaging->Messages, Email->Mail, Calendar
  • Calendar app - view across different sources (Microsoft Exchange, device calendar, Google Calendar)
  • Browser app - with Flash Lite 4.0
    • Copy/paste - New text selection (long press, also for pop-up menu)
  • Mail - Push Gmail and Exchange Email
  • Widgets for Home screen panels (including full-screen):
    • Mail, Calendar events, Favorite contacts, Messages - review without running app


  Apps (and icons) on the Verizon Wireless / HTC Droid Incredible

Android Apps

Interesting built-in Android apps on the HTC Incredible

  • PDF Viewer app (for Browser downloads in Droid)
  • Quickoffice app - view Microsoft Office 2003/2007 Word (.doc/.docx), Excel (.xls/.xlsx), PowerPoint (.ppt/.pptx), text (.txt) files (for Browser downloads in Droid)
  • YouTube app, Facebook app
  • Visual Voice Mail app

HTC Additional Android Apps

Other apps bundled with the HTC Incredible.

  • Voice Recorder
  • Clock (with weather) + widget, Desk Clock
  • City ID (trial)
  • Teeter - game
  • Stocks - Yahoo finance
  • Weather (as widget with clock on Home screen)
  • Peep - Twitter client app, Send, read and receive tweets
  • HTC Footprints app - Tag photos with GPS position, plus street address and phone number
  • FM Radio app - with wired headset connected

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References

The Verizon Wireless Droid Incredible from HTC is the latest incarnation of the Google Android smartphone platform, featuring a slim design, a speedy processor, and the highly-customizable HTC Sense interface.

It's extended features include an 8 MP camera, built-in 8 GB internal memory, and FM radio.

It's priced at $199.99 with a new 2-year agreement and $100 rebate.

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