The Keyboard and Home Pages

The original Droid has a slide-out keyboard, but the Droid X does not. It relies on the touch screen. While we were enamored of the HTC Sense, on-screen keyboard in the Droid Incredible, because of the size of the screen, the Droid X’s on-screen keyboard is just as usable. In Figure 11, you can see that the Droid X keyboard is especially large and usable in the horizontal position.

Motorola Droid X Cell Phone ReviewFigure 11: The on-screen keyboard

If you look closely at Figure 11, you will also see a speaker icon on the right side of the second row of keys. Just press this icon and speak and your voice will turn into text. Depending, of course, on your voice quality and accent, the voice recognition built into this Droid is quite accurate.

You may also note the blue “S” on the left side of the first row. This indicates that Swype is turned on. You can use this button for tips and instructions. When we first heard about Swype we thought that it was gimmicky, like some of the gesturing that we had tried in the past. But after we tried it, we found Swype to be both very accurate and very useful.

When you have Swype turned on, you simply drag your finger across the keys, subtly stopping at your chosen letter. If you lift your finger Swype will insert a space. A blue line appears on the keypad that traces your route and Swype interprets the word and places it in the text box. It is amazingly accurate. Even if you almost completely miss and hit an adjoining letter, Swype will intelligently guess what you meant. Of course, like voice recognition, it does a better job of recognizing common words.

One of the first things that you will notice when using the Droid X is that there are seven home pages. Pressing the home button gets you to the main home page. If you swipe your finger across the page you will find two more screens to the left and three more to the right. Moving your finger to the bottom of the screen will bring up a small navigational bar which you can also use to move between the home pages.

The home screens can hold apps, widgets, shortcuts, and folders. Apps are, of course, small applications that add to the functionality of the phone. A widget is like an app that has the functionality built into it right on the screen. So you can have a weather widget that will show the weather without opening an application. The calendar widget shows your upcoming appointments.

The main home page is shown in Figure 12. The grey bar at the top shows notification icons, a battery indicator, and the time. If you drag this bar with a downward motion, it opens like a shade, where you can see specific notifications for email, text messages, and calendar events.

There are three icons at the bottom of the main home screen. The telephone icon on the left is used for placing calls. The man icon on the right will take you to your contacts. Between them is an icon with an up arrow in a circle. Pressing this icon will bring up a screen of the apps that are installed on your Droid X.

Motorola Droid X Cell Phone ReviewFigure 12: The main home page

This screen of apps is shown in Figure 13. You can scroll these apps up and down. Thankfully, they are alphabetically arranged. Of course, you can use the Market app to download more applications of your choosing.

Motorola Droid X Cell Phone ReviewFigure 13: The apps screen

Press and hold your finger on any app or widget and you can move it to any home page or the trashcan that will appear.

Press your finger on any blank area of any home page and you can add Motorola widgets, Android widgets, shortcuts, or folders. This means that you can customize these screens to your heart’s content. Because there is so much available screen space, everything is easy to see. Motorola even lets you make many of the widgets larger, which is really great.

Moving apps and customizing the home pages is much easier than it is on the iPhone. Also, the use of widgets makes each home page truly unique looking so you can tell at a glance which home page you are on. This is certainly preferable to scanning pages and pages of icons and folders that look pretty much the same, as they do on the iPhone.


Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.