Rum, Redstripe, and the Droid Eris
Trish and I had a wonderful time in Jamaica, it was very relaxing and a lot of fun!  We did all sorts of activities from scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing to just sitting on a lounger reading a book.  We even managed to get in some tennis.  Trish was especially proud that she got me to just relax for hours on end, something I rarely do.  I'm a bit of a busy body, especially when traveling.

The trip wasn't without a few hurdles but even I was in "no problem" mode and we just rolled with it.  A flat tire on our bus barely slowed us down on our trip to the resort.  I managed to get my hands dirty to help get us on the road again.

The resort was amazing!  A very nice renovation took place over the last year at Couples Tower Isle (Ocho Rios), and it maintained it's old world charm while bringing some very nice, new accommodations.  I really enjoyed the relatively small size of the resort, it allowed the staff to become familiar with us an even learn our names and our favorite drinks!  I have to say, my favorite part of the resort is a toss up between the amazing food and the private island, with the service being a close third.  They really do treat you like kings and queens.

I have a flash gallery above for your viewing pleasure, but if you want a more detailed view of our trip, check out my GALLERY.

Now on to my new toy... Since Verizon joined forces with my cell carrier, Alltel, I was a little unsure whether or not I would stay with them or move to ATT so that I could buy an iPhone.... the downside to moving is that I am under contract until August 2010... so it would be a long wait or a painfully expensive transition.  The other option was to pray and hope that ATT doesn't renew their iPhone exclusivity deal with Apple, although from what I've read, it sounds like they are already talking about the renewal.  I don't think ATT can afford to not do it, regardless of what Apple wants, that said... I'm pretty much not going to get a iPhone, at least not in the near future.  The problem is that I'm really starved for a smartphone right now.. it's been a year and a half without one and I really want one and until recently, there really weren't any iPhone alternatives that wow'ed me.

Along comes the Android operating system from Google and a few new devices.  The initial android phones weren't all that special but with all the hype around the Motorola Droid, I decided to take a good look at the android options with Verizon.  A co-worker bought a moto droid a few days after it released and I was able to have a first hand look at it and some of the apps that came out for it.  My initial thoughts about the moto droid were that it was a bit heavy and clunky feeling but the apps and apps to come would be very nice since Google is the force behind the product, it's not going away.  A far less marketed phone was the Droid Eris from HTC.  It released the same time as the Motorola Droid and really has a lot to offer the Droid user community.  The hardware is a bit slimmer and a lot lighter.  It doesn't have a slide out physical keyboard but really that isn't a downfall since the on-screen keyboard is amazing!  I think the keyboard on the moto droid is one of it's biggest downfalls!  It makes it thicker and very heavy in comparison.  The only negative so far on the Eris is that it released on Android 1.5 instead of 2.0 that the moto droid released with although they promise that it will be upgradable in the near future once they work out some bugs with the HTC Sense User Interface.  Sense UI, is a really good selling point of the Eris, I really like it!  It has a lot of options and a lot of screen real estate to work with!  Another selling point is that it's only $99 with contract renewal after a $100 rebate.  $100 less than the moto droid...  Thank you very much!  Also, since Verizon and Alltel joined forces, it seems that Verizon is happy to offer some incentives to get you on a Verizon phone plan rather than having to keep the Alltel offerings around... so they happened to send out a letter offering early renewal of contracts with the discounted phone options.

So I received my HTC Droid Eris on Friday and I really really like it!  The on-screen keyboard is great!  I was worried about that but after spending a few minutes at the Verizon store messing around with an Eris, I was happy that I could type very quickly on it.  The reseller store that I had planned to make my purchase in was a bit wish washy about honoring the letter saying I could upgrade, so I ended up doing it over the phone with Verizon directly and it was a great experience, by far, the best customer service I've ever received from a cell phone provider.  So far the Droid Eris is a 10/10.  The user interface is great, the apps are great with more being released daily, I was able to use active sync to connect to my personal exchange server for email, plus gmail, and the browser is amazing... it even has the "pinch/unpinch" zoom/unzoom functions.  And it has a trackball/pearl type thing for those who don't want to always touch the screen... a nice addition for sure!  I won't say iPhone killer, but really the Eris has a lot to offer and can really play with the big boys!  Now they just need to hammer out the "RSA" and encryption issues for Exchange Activesync for corporate use.  It works fine with SSL and Activesync but if you require on-device encryption, I don't think it will work for you just yet.

I'm sure I'll post back more feedback regarding the Droid Eris later...  Is it time to go back to Jamaica yet?
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