Motorola Droid Limited Memory; Over Promise Ability, Under Deliver Power

Last Updated Nov 10, 2009 7:22 AM EST

Chasing down some rumors I heard on Twitter, it seems that while the Droid may be getting some good press, both Motorola and Verizon seem to be downplaying some numbers that suggest a potentially more limited phone experience than many users might like. Specifically, when it comes to memory, the Droid is no Elephant.

One of the big selling features for the Droid is that someone can run multiple apps at the same time and switch among them, a feature unavailable on the iPhone. In fact, the iPhone only has 256MB of RAM, which seems low in a world where mobile devices are likely to replace at least laptops for many on the go. Then again, the iPhone only runs one app at a time.

However, the Droid also has only 256MB or RAM, which means that there's a hard limit on how big apps can be when you're running multiple ones. A good thing that that Android app store hasn't gotten near the popularity of Apple's.

The interesting thing is trying to find that fact anywhere on a Motorola or Verizon site. I couldn't find anything on Moto's Droid specs page about RAM. The only place I found it at Verizon was in a user forum.

In addition, there are also hard limits on how much storage is available to put apps in the first place. According to Motorola's support site, Droid cannot store apps on memory cards. And the apps have to install to 256MB out of 512MB or ROM.
Have you seen all the awesome iPhone and iPod Touch games? Hardly any of them would fit on an Android phone. It is not uncommon for popular titles to easily exceed 100 MB. For example, the game Myst takes up a whopping 727MB.
So what if there's 16GB of microSD pre-installed? So what if you can add up-to 32GB of expansion memory? Why would you put it in? No, this is an actual, not rhetorical, question. Is it for music? For show? And what have Google and Motorola been thinking?

One analyst guess is that maybe 100,000 Droid units sold in the first weekend, which would be impressive except for the records that Apple has racked up with various iPhones. Could it be that the number will go down if Motorola and Verizon appear to be over-selling the app flexibility without providing the hardware oomph to go the distance?

Image via stock.xchng user rhythms, site standard license.
  • Erik Sherman On Twitter»

    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.

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