Given recent questions about my Droid phone, perhaps it’s time to post again about it. This time, I’ll offer tips on battling two common Droid demons.
1. The condensation poltergeist. The tiniest amounts of condensation can make Droid’s touch screen act possessed. The Ghost of Droid will scroll automatically, start apps, search for things, make phone calls, and wreck all sorts of direct-manipulation havoc. And there’s no point in fighting it: it’s much faster than you, and when it takes over, it’s usually impossible to win the battle and override it. A locked screen offers some protection against emailing your boss or calling Tokyo without your consent; in this case, it can only repeatedly try to draw out your unlock pattern, usually resulting in a series of “wait 30 seconds” holds. It’s entertaining to watch, but annoying to say the least.
This weird phenom has been ascribed to viruses, chargers, and other hardware and software issues, but, in my experience, it’s always due to condensation on the touch screen. And since it requires so little moisture, it’s hard to predict when it will happen. It has happened to me upon walking into an indoor pool area, and inside my car after a long run.
As long as you keep your Droid at 70 degrees and 40% humidity (perhaps in the raised floor area of your personal data center), you’ll be fine. For those of us in the real world (and who like Georgia summers), just stop using it when it happens, turn it off, be patient, and wait for it to dry out. You can help it along by bringing it back into the air conditioned indoors or using a blow dryer on a cool setting.
2. The grim reaper ringer. That “slide to answer” control and dexterity test works great at preventing accidental unlocks and butt calls. So great that if you try it while driving, you’re as likely to annihilate as answer. An early Android update made it slightly easier (straight rather than curved slide), but it’s still difficult. Most bluetooth headsets provide an alternative, but if you’re not headsetting it, it’s best to just pull over before attempting to answer, or simply miss the call and return it later. Answering that call is not worth crashing into the ditch or oncoming traffic.
I’ve heard that the latter problem will be fixed soon in an Android (software) update, but the touch screen issues will probably have to wait for a new phone (gotta love “new every two”). My next phone will almost certainly be an Android, but probably won’t be a Motorola Droid.