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Motorola Droid 3

Jim Carter, 2011-11-23


Front and Back
Front and Back of the G1
Phone Open
Phone Open
(click for larger image)

The Droid® 3 (manufacturer's name: Solana) is a cellphone or smartphone manufactured by Motorola exclusively for Verizon. It is available from Verizon with a subsidy to contracted clients, or without the subsidy but SIM-locked. It can also be obtained unlocked from specialized resellers, and codes can be obtained from unlocking services (they do not unlock your contract, though).

I want my Droid 3 to combine in one device the voice chat (cellphone) role and a variety of activities for a handheld computer. For the most part it has done everything I asked for.

2.5 years ago I obtained a G1 by HTC (manufacturer's name: Dream). It has served me well, but software has boiled over both in size and in CPU cycles required, and the G1 is no longer able to keep up; Android-2.3 Gingerbread won't even fit. The Android operating system started out as a hack for a niche market, but network operators, manufacturers and purchasers have embraced its obvious advantages, and it has gone viral, running on over a hundred models and now claiming the majority of new cellphone activations. Nonetheless, a lot of the points I made in my writeup on the G1 remain valid.

Android is the operating system running on the Droid 3. Android is a variant of Linux. One forum poster asked, Why are you guys obsessing over this Linux business? It's just a phone! The reason is that we guys (girls also welcome) can make the device do a whole lot more than just cellphone calls, and we don't need the cooperation of a bunch of marketing droids with the operator and the handset manufacturer, who will not consider our needs to be important enough to implement across the whole product deployment.

So what are these special things I'm using the Droid 3 for?

Note on compass directions: the screen rotates to portrait or landscape mode including upside down, so top or left side are ambiguous. Thus I've taken to using compass directions, like this:

Table of Contents

Choosing a Pocket Computer

Here I go over my goals, mobile operators' calling plans, and currently available phone models. The Motorola Droid 3 is clearly the right choice for me. I copy out its specifications, summarize reviews from several sources, and investigate procurement possibilities. The page ends with a plan of action, and a choice of accessories.

Checking Out Hardware Features

Using the stock Verizon operating system image I tested most of the hardware features successfully; and I re-checked them in CyanogenMod-7 and CyanogenMod-9.

Installing CyanogenMod

Step 1: R00t your phone. Step 2: Upgrade to the Verizon image expected by Cyanogenmod. Step 3: Install Safestrap. Step 4: Install CyanogenMod.

Settings and Setup

This is mainly for my own use in restoring my configuration, but other users can get some ideas how I like the pocket computer to be set up. I'm alpha testing Hashcode's port of CyanogenMod-9, based on Android-4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, to Droid 3, and so I need to wipe and reinstall the operating system frequently, typically weekly.

Conflicts with Carriers

I had plans to run this pocket computer on the cheap, not paying for services I won't use. However, the best-laid plans oft gang agley, and I ended up as a loyal Verizon customer.


This page has a brief description of each of the apps in the CyanogenMod image, the ones that I specifically installed, and the ones in the stock Verizon image.

Bug Reports

(Need to collect all the bug reports here.)

Wish List

Nothing is perfect, and here is my list of items that I wish would have been done differently. It is divided into hardware features, Verizon software, and CyanogenMod items.

Web Links