The new Android OS update currently splashing onto Motorola's Droid smartphone (via Verizon) is a little reminiscent of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Fans waited long and hard for the new installment, only to discover that the final product-- despite all the previous hype-- is more of a dud than anything overly exciting (the Ewoks in Ep.3 should have been a big clue). Droid owners are now suffering a similar destiny.
Friday various reports indicated that the v2.1 update is actually slowing down the smartphone. Previous videos of pre-final builds showed the device to be amazingly fast, however that may not be the case. Unfortunately, the slowdown some users are experiencing may or may not have something to do with the manual installation revealed on Thursday.
According to ZDNet, one developer, Phil Issler, actually uploaded a YouTube video featuring a comparison between two Motorola Droids: one using firmware version 2.0.1 and placed at the top, and another Droid-- provided by ZDNet with the 2.1 update manually installed-- placed on the bottom. The developer tested both simultaneously using the same app, and clearly showed a 50-percent reduction in performance on the updated device, coughing up a meager 30 fps. The unaltered Droid provided over 60 fps.
The ZDNet report also re-posts comments made by Droid users on various user forums. "I don’t know about you guys, but mine is running really slow after the update was applied," said one user. Others complained about choppiness, extreme lag, and other slow-as-mud terms.
"The lags I am experiencing is when my phone goes to sleep and I hit the power button to wake it up, I have to hit it about 3-4 times before my screen will light," another user said. "Also the unlock slide does not want to respond."
While many have waited a rather long time for this update, the final payoff seems pricey. The problems mentioned here may not be indicative of every Motorola Droid user, but could be the culmination of a number of factors: tasks running in the background, widgets, and the new animated backgrounds.
Currently it's not clear if the slowdown is common for the v2.1 update, or if it's locked to manual updates only. As always, stay tuned for more. In the meantime, some of us will just have to wait in line for our turn in the update wheel of fortune... the manual update just doesn't seem quite so ideal anymore.