The Bearable Lightness of Droid: How the iPhone aesthetic has finally hit the majors

scaled.Droid by Motorola Front VZW HomeOne thing that that struck me when I first slid open the Motorola Droid is that the software must have been a non-shipping copy. Historically, when Verizon ships a phone, the stuff in the VCast Music Center, VCast Video, VCast Navigation, and VCast Electo Pet Shop – essentially bloatware that masquerades as value added software. Swiping through the Droid menus I found none of that. No widgets offering NFL sports scores, no Apps offering downloadable videos from Lady GaGa, just a clean, clear interface. I know most Android phones don’t ship with much extraneous software (MyTouch, for example) but for Verizon this is a real first.

What does this mean? It means carriers are finally resisting the urge to bling out their phones like NASCAR racers. Without massive branding you get a cleaner experience and although I love the Hero’s Sense UI, the Droid in this pristine state shows us that carriers, and Verizon in particular, has grown up.

None of this, please. Thank you.

If you’ll recall, the first iPhone had little, if any, AT&T branding. It was a phone with a few apps – a calculator, a stock app – and that was it. All of the extraneous junk was taken out.

This gives the buyer a sense that they are buying a standalone experience, not just another feature phone. The Android Market is front and center if you want to improve things, but Verizon clearly thinks this phone can stand on its own without polluting the deck with their dreck.

Other phones that did this include the Sidekick, another popular phone. I think Droid is, interestingly enough, Motorola’s savior. Whether they meant to make it as clean and attractive as they did is unclear but I’m glad they took a stand against mobile bloatware.