The perils of being an irrational Motorola fanboy


The perils of being an irrational Motorola fanboy

As you can see from the picture above, I have a deep dark secret to share with you. I am an irrational Motorola fanboy. Here in the picture is the Motorola Xoom tablet and my recently purchased, thoroughly huge and dorky looking Motorola S805 A2DP headphones.

The A2DP bit is what makes them so much fun. Like the HT820, which I also own, these headphones will stream music wirelessly, for a sensible amount of time, over Bluetooth, all the way to the outside world while the Xoom is sitting on my basement desk. That’s 25 feet away in a concrete-walled building.

I think they’re huge fun, and a seriously accompaniment for the Xoom, because you surely cannot be carrying that around in your top pocket when you’re working. The S805 takes the concepts found on the HT820 a bit further, with rings on the unfeasibly huge ear-pads to change the sound level (left ear) and to jump back and forward a track (so that would be the right ear then – I am getting the hang of this consumer electronics review game you know!).

Not only that – you can use the big chrome buttons to stop and start the stream and – here’s the best part – both the 820 and the 805 have an inbuilt microphone, so they qualify as hands-free headsets too. I can see the advert campaign – starring, no doubt, Dom Joly – in my mind’s eye already. Take those weedy white earbud things and plug them where the sun don’t shine, Apple fanboy!

You would never imagine in a million years that the two headsets came from the same manufacturer, let alone the manufacturer of the device that they won’t link with

Except despite having the Moto DEFY as my backup contract phone, and still having my RIZR as the phone-left-in-car on a PAYG SIM, I also have an iPhone. This is mainly because it doesn’t matter how hard it tries, Motorola seems to be the Citroen of the personal electronics business. Each device has at least one barking mad, senselessly perverse trick it’s going to pull on you.

The RIZR has a very loud “signal lost” tone. In fact, it’s not only loud: I can’t find where to turn it off, at all. The software is one generation too early to be sensibly friendly, and “signal lost” sounds almost exactly like the shop doorbell in every fly-blown hardware store and bike shop on the planet.

In fact, it’s not only “signal lost”, it’s “network roaming”, so you can be sitting still in a room in Central London and as a double-decker bus goes past outside, the RIZR will go “BOOODLE-OOODLE-OOO” at the top of its voice, just so you know it flipped off Vodafone and piggybacked through Virgin for a few seconds. I loved the way it let me use an MP3 as a ringtone without having to sign up to a million services and buy the wrong track by mistake half a dozen times, so I used Les Rhythmes Digitales’ “Jacques yo body” – which would only ever come out a fifth the volume level of that incredibly loud “BOODLE-OODLE-OOO”.

The Defy (sorry, DEFY) has a Motorola-specific super-social-networking thing layered on top of plain Android. It won’t start up without attempting to log into whatever that is – something the XOOM doesn’t try on you, thankfully. On the other hand, the DEFY can be charged through the USB connector (in fact, it’s the only option) whereas the Xoom actually has an annoying, separately coded software pop-up message that scolds you if you put in a certain subtype of USB lead. It says “do not try to charge through the USB port” – a state of affairs that it clearly anticipated, and specifically wrote some unhelpful bloody code for!

Pardon my Clarksonisms here, but in the midst of case design and some software features that deeply appeal to me, like the way that the DEFY and Xoom both just cope with my essentially random collection of music without bugging me about genres, Gracenote, or signing in to any online music store, Motorola can’t resist dropping in some woeful clangers, that could so easily be resolved.

The DEFY happily uses both the HT820 and the S805 as headsets and music-playback headphones; the Xoom won’t touch the HT820, representing it solely as a hands-free and continuing to play through its internal speakers – but it is happy with the S805. You would never imagine in a million years that the two headsets came from the same manufacturer, let alone the manufacturer of the device that they won’t link with.

I was, incidentally, borrowing the XOOM as a testbed for Citrix Receiver: a brilliant idea because it would have shown a Windows desktop on a touch tablet device. Less brilliant (as you can see from the picture with the phones) is that I can’t get a good shot off the Xoom’s screen, without appalling reflections of the testbed room here; and if I do a software snap of the screen via Android’s utilities, then all you see is a Windows Desktop. Hardly convincing…

Even with all this driving me nuts; I think I still want a Xoom…

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