Droid Razr Maxx: An Android smartphone for big talkers
Motorola's latest smartphone bulks up on battery life and business featuresFollow @MobileGalen
The Razr Maxx comes with Android 2.35 "Gingerbread," not the new Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," but Motorola says Android 4 will be available as a downloadable upgrade later this year. It sports the MotoBlur interface, which I find a bit more work to use than the stock Android UI, though it boasts the Android 4-like capability to add selected widgets to the home screens. And the Droid Razr Maxx has that creepy angry-electronic-eye background image (which you can change) and that annoying robotic "Droid" alert (which you can change but not turn off without disabling the ringer) that Motorola somehow thinks are attractive branding.
Droid Razr Maxx in business settings
What distinguishes Motorola Mobility's Android devices from most competitors is its set of "business-ready" features. The company's Droid Razr Maxx and Photon 4G smartphones, and its Xyboard tablet, each offer support for on-device encryption, a feature that many Android devices lack, which causes most corporate mail servers to block their access to the network. Plus, the devices support a larger set of EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) policies, such as for complex passwords -- on par with Android 3 "Honeycomb" tablets and nearly on par with the iPhone's iOS. This too increases the Droid Raxr Maxx's likelihood for support in a managed corporate environment. (Samsung has several Android models that support encryption and additional EAS policies as well.)
These advantages of Motorola Mobility devices will be short-lived, however, as Android 4 brings encryption to all Android devices with the appropriate horsepower, as well as the expanded EAS support. Still, Motorola's Android tweaks let you postpone encryption to a later time -- a good thing considering that it takes about 45 minutes to encrypt the device's storage. Android 4 devices and Android 3 tablets, which also support encryption, don't offer that convenience, giving Motorola a slight advantage.
The Droid Razr Maxx does support VPNs, but like other Android devices, it doesn't support Cisco IPSec VPNs. And like other Android devices that support VPNs, the setup for an advanced (IPSec) VPN is mind-numbingly arcane, as bad as the setup on a BlackBerry. You'll need your IT guy to do it for you (unlike in iOS). And like other Android devices, the Razr Maxx can't connect to certificate-based Wi-Fi networks. Both are ultimately flaws in the Android OS that Google has left unfixed for several versions and that Motorola has not addressed in its own "business-ready" customizations.