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Motorola Droid 2.1 update fleshed out, may include multitouch in browser

The guys and gals at Engadget apparently have gotten word of what we can expect when the Motorola Droid gets its next update. Here's the scoop:

  • Looks like it'll be based off the Android2.1-update1 build that Google put out last week on the Nexus One.
  • And that means expect multitouch in the browser, to go along with the pinch-to-zoom that was enabled on the Droid for Google Maps just last week.
  • Google Googles is baked into the ROM by default (also standard in Android 2.1-U1).
  • The Droid's home screen remains as is -- no new rotating app thingy instead of the drawer, and no live wallpapers.
  • The news and weather widget from the Nexus One will be included.

Yeah, it's a bummer there won't be live wallpapers, and that the app drawer remains. Some of that's likely due to the hardware difference -- the Nexus One does have Snapdragon, after all -- and some of that's likely just the usual customization differences.

Unfortunately, nobody knows when -- or if, really -- this build for the Droid will be released. And so, we wait. [Engadget]

  • They really should just make it an option when installing the new update. Have the ROM ask us if we want the rotating apps and the live wallpapers.
  • Droid hardware is capable of live wallpapers. You can root your phone and install it now. If anything Verizon is just lagging behind or not doing it.
  • If this update will be as easy as the one from the nexus one, then should be great! more details:
  • I dont buy it, Snapdragon=big deal, if anything the difference will come from the 2x RAM the N1 has and even that, shouldnt make much of a difference, maybe except in the active wallpapers, but I think Droid can at least handle that and the lousy new launcher, because it already does just fine for being a port from the N1.
  • Well I guess that pretty much cinches it, as soon as the N1 is available on VZ I'm ditching the Droid and getting the N1. The faster processor and doubled RAM pretty much had me tilted already in favor of getting an N1, but this was the icing on the cake. I think the N1's look is the perfect middle ground between the Droids plain robotic and speedy UI and MotoBlur's overdone and sluggish clown costume of a UI. Plus I'm a Google whore. I'd pretty much have their data baby if they asked me. And I'd let them run the government. I'd totally support a Google Coup and look forward to our I/O (Information Overlords).
  • The new launcher does not work fine on the Droid... open up your keyboard, and hit the launcher... tell me how "fine" it works when you can't get to the top row or bottom row of icons. Live wallpapers and the new Launcher were test items for the Nexus One and included in their build. They'll be standard in 2.2.
  • Hey Motorola, If any reps. read these sites .. know this. The new Launcher works fine on the Droid. To omit it is a mistake on your part and if this article is true then my Droid is sold as soon as the N1 or HTC Dragon hit the market. A substandard release is unacceptable and if you want to focus on Blur then update the Droid to have it so the rest of us can jump ship so you can have your teenbopper UI and we can go find a real smartphone.
  • The new launcher does not work fine on the Droid... open up your keyboard, and hit the launcher... tell me how "fine" it works when you can't get to the top row or bottom row of icons. Live wallpapers and the new Launcher were test items for the Nexus One and included in their build. They'll be standard in 2.2.
  • Bugless Beast, with profiles support and my max set to 800Mhz. My Droid is stable, every bit as fast as a stock Nexus One, more beautiful, and my battery lasts longer in fact than with a stock Droid rom. I couldn't care less about this paltry update.
  • amen brother! i went the same route after getting snowed in this weekend.....and after hearing this news i am happy i did :-)
  • I tried BB, and AdamZ's ROM, and both of them ran fine for a couple days before becoming bogged down and sluggish. Any thoughts?
  • Actually, I misspoke...I'm running AdamZ's 2.0.1 ROM now, with added 2.1 apps, and it's running perfectly. It was just BB that gave me the slowdown issues.
  • are you serious? no 5 home screens? i will upgrade but will just have to keep the 2.1 nexus one app drawer installer i guess.
  • that's crazy the droid can definitely handle full 2.1, enough people are running it in root! so saying the snapdragon has anything to do with anything is ridiculous, the difference between the n1 and droid isn't really all that much
  • I hope this isn't the case. We're all expecting live wallpapers and 5 homescreens. We know the droid can handle it so why would they rob us like this?? I'll wait until the update is released to pass judgment on Verizon but so far it's not looking good. I left my bberry storm last week for the droid and it's been a long time since they've released an update for the storm even though RIM released one for other carriers some time ago. Looks like that's their M.O.
  • This isn't VZW calling the shots since I've read elsewhere that it is the manufacturer that is on the hook for upgrades to their product. I believe this is Moto getting their coffers up by putting the Droid out and now their focusing on their Teenie Candy UI (Blur). I doubt HTC's phones .. Google or HTC branded are going to be filled with this bunch of lameness. If it's a hardware issue .. cool. But it's friggin not. It's a Motorola issue. And if they don't upgrade it fully to all the 2.1 goodness .. as soon as the N1 comes out on VZW then I'll be getting rid of this broken Droid because it certainly would not have been the droid *I* was looking for. :/
  • That way of thinking makes no sense. If the Droid (running 2.0/2.0.1) isn't the droid *you* were looking for, then you shouldn't have purchased it. Plain and simple. You should have WAITED for 2.1 to drop, and see what it brings to the table. There's no way in heck that a Droid running 2.0.1 is "broken" - and the things that ARE "broken" - for example, bluetooth VAD - aren't even slated to be fixed in 2.1 Again, I really can't figure out how Android 2.0.1 is "lame" to you. When you return a device without a GOOD reason, it costs VZW money; which is then passed on to ALL of the customers. I get tired of paying more because folks like you buy the wrong phone to begin with.
  • Which is why I have only decided to buy Google branded phones like the Nexus One. The quick updates without having to rely on the manufacturer. Who wants to bet that 2.1 will be the end of the line of updates for the Droid. Moto already got their money, they have no incentive to update the OS. The Nexus One will continue to receive updates from Google long after 2.1
  • my biggest issue with this is that we won't have an integrated 5 homescreen launcher. I'm not that impressed with the 2.1 app drawer, that little home icon should be removed from the launcher to take up less space. But to be limited to only 3 screens is unreasonable with an infinitely long app drawer. I'd like to see 5 homescreens with the old app drawer or a modified 2.1 drawer. Also is their any word on flash? Flash lite? Adobe 10.1?
  • There are 3rd party home app replacements that get by the 3 screen limitation. If you don't like the stock launcher, use one of these instead (I use GDE) Android isn't designed to be a "take the device out of the box, and use it as-is" OS. It's designed to come with a basic app load, and if you don't like one of the built-in apps, you can replace it with something else. This is the true spirit of the Android project, and if you don't learn to use your device in this way, you are bound to be disappointed, IMHO. Think of the Droid as a small PC. Do you run nothing but stock Microsoft apps on a Windows machine? I'd hope not. Same thing with Android. And i'm pretty sure Flash 10.1 will be a Market app when it does come out, not integrated with the OS. I've never really seen an OS where Flash was part of the stock install.
  • also no mention of the new gallery?
  • I hope these updates mean they trying to bring the Droid closer to the N1 because we will be hearing the N1 is being released at the MWC this weekend.
  • I hope these updates mean they trying to bring the Droid closer to the N1 because we will be hearing the N1 is being released at the MWC this weekend.
  • its a joke, they are treating us like the red headed step child. no biggy im runnin sholes 2.0.3 anyways.
  • Wow, what a joke. The only reason I wanted 2.1 was for the cool little effects and we are not even getting them. My Droid runs perfectly now and multitouch is overrated....
  • the Droid can be overclocked to the same speed as a snapdragon while remaining stable (although I do keep mine running at 900mhz just bc that was the last ROM I flashed) so it certainly has it in the device to run a full 2.1, so long as the RAM can handle it. Either way, I'm sure the 2.1 update is going to be a good step forward for us Droid owners.
  • on my droid i have the smoked glass themed rom and it running at 950 mhz. it has almost everything that 2.1 has beside the app drawer and live wallpapers and thats what i was waiting for with the 2.1 update. but it has the multi touch browser, 2.1 gallery, 2.1 music app, 2.1 news and weather. as well as something that 2.1 doesnt have like the youtube high quailty youtube hack. a transparent theme for just about every part of the phone, also it has wifi tethering. that all i wanted from the 2.1 was the app drawer and the live wallpapers. if this is true im not going to ethier bother upgrading. ill just get the N1 when it come to verizon :)
  • just spoke to vzw and this release will be on 2/18/10 couldnt get any info as to what's inside but it seems very minimal. pretty disappointed. i've been holding off rooting my droid but if i get no 5 screens and none of the other cool goodies ill be rooting like crazy.
  • If 2.1 doesn't give me full 2.1 I will be rooting to Sholes. I have been thinking about it, and this will push me to do it.
  • You'd better root it now, then, and see what 2.1 brings to the table. Because once 2.1 is on your phone, who knows how long it will take the devs to come up with a new root exploit (don't expect the 2.0.1 exploit to work) In other words, root now while you can. Because if 2.1 is pushed to your device, you MAY be stuck with it for awhile.
  • I agree, The Droid can handle all the 2.1 features. If a live wallpaper is slowing you down, then don't pick a live wallpaper, it's that simple. Not to include the features is mean...
  • I don't get it. How much time do you folks spend daily staring at your wallpaper and app drawer? To me, the 2.0.1 GUI works well; i'm more concerned about the underlying OS than the eye candy. Reading some of these posts, I get the impression that folks would be happy with an OS that was barely functional just to get some eye candy. Maybe for the next update, Google/Moto can replace the phone app with a 3D launcher.
  • That pretty much blows. Motorola, get ready to lose some customers. The same customers that waited up til midnight to buy this phone in record numbers and put you on the smartphone map right up there by the iphone. I waisted my early upgrade on this phone. But I do not have a problem paying the $500 to get the Nexus as soon as Verizon launches it. It has nothing to do with the droid not haveng snapdragon. If so, why are all the hackers albe to put everything onto the droid that the nexus has. They should have the software updates be open source just like the app market. Then all the smart techies would make sure the customers are happy with all the stuff we want cause they too are customers. The live wallpapers and 3d scrolling app drawer is one of the big reasons Ive been on the internet every day seeing if the update was coming out. Now i could care less. Come on NEXUS.
  • I'm loving my Nexus One... plus the 30% monthly reduction on my cell phone bill after switching to T-Mobile is an added bonus! The 3g coverage in the greater Los Angeles area on T-Mobile is much superior to what I was getting on AT&T.
  • After reading this, I'm about to switch to T-Mobile so I can get the Nexus One. The 30% reduction in the monthly cell will be the icing on the cake! T-Mobile coverage is excellent here in San Diego too.
  • I hope Motorola, Verizon, and Google are reading these. As for Motorola goes I had the star tac and liked that phone. So when they came out with the Q9M I jumped on it. It was my first smart phone and thought it would be a good one. I was sadly mistaken, it was a horrid phone. No upgrades to speak of and very slow. So you can see why I was very skidish on getting the droid. So if Motorola messes this up with the droid it will be the last Motorola I ever buy again. As for Verizon they are already on a last straw with me because of billing issues, them changing the vip and business benefits, the charging to my account, and more... So if Verizon thinks they are getting brownie points for not pushing updates for a phone that was there flagship and now is not they need to think again. I have already dropped one account because of As for Google you need to decide now if you want to keep the people you have and get more or start loosing the people you have. What I mean by this is simple. Most of us that have the droid came from either the storm (which at least had good updates) or the Iphone(that needs no comment). And if it gets out that you are only updating your latest and greatest phone which some people already think you have done with the G1 then you are going to start loosing people. there already is talk about fragmented OS's. As for the N1 I like my keyboard to much to switch. So I guess I will be joining the ranks for the modded Droids.
  • I wouldn't have been updating too 2.1 anyhow until sholes is updated too 2.1. :D
  • Okay, that's ghetto. Two of the things I was looking forward to most in this update were the new app drawer and the animated desktops. Unless Google just wants those to be Nexus-only features, I don't see the point in leaving them out. Plus, where is it? We should have had it by now. It's not like Motorola has any special software, like Sense UI, that the new update has to interact with. It should run no the droid with little to no tweaking. I gave up on my Droid. The mandatory web page refreshes every time you jump out of the browser and back in were annoying. What's the point in multitasking if you have to reload the page every time anyway? I love the hardware on the Droid, but the software has a ways to go. At least multitasking on the Pre works the way it's supposed to.
  • "The Droid's home screen remains as is -- no new rotating app thingy instead of the drawer, and no live wallpapers."-- Along with the older processor/ The Droid is offcially outdated.
  • This is very disappointing on Verizon and Motorola part. The key difference in the droid and N1 is the ram. The snap dragons is based off of the droid(cortex 8a) chip set. The only difference is that the droid has the dedicated GPU with the lower clock speed. You mean to tell me they can't write software to take advantage of GPU over the nexus one. This is just being lazy in my honest opinion, this just confirms a conversation I was having with my profs. that developer of today are so lazy in recycling code and not implementing anything to take advantage of todays hardware. Don't believe me, than ask yourself what apps of today needs a 1ghz processor on a smart-phone?... yeah exactly!
  • wanted 5 screens and new drawer...could personally care less about's not as good as the double tap in my opinion. That's too bad...maybe it'll come later. Goggle may be the only phone to consider in the future now :-(
  • Here comes the update, folks.