Three things we'd like to see from new Motorola Droid

Motorola's Google Android-based Droid was far from perfect

The Motorola Droid certainly hasn't been an "iPhone killer," but it has become a solid alternative to the iPhone for Verizon customers who don't want to switch their carriers.

New Droid phone coming on June 23

But like every big new smartphone to hit the market, the Droid was far from perfect. With Motorola planning to drop a Droid sequel on the market later this month, we thought it would be a good time to go over the areas we hope the newest version of the device will improve upon the old one.

1. Improve the keyboard quality: The fact that the Motorola Droid has a slide-out physical keyboard is a nice touch for smartphone users who are uncomfortable using touchscreens for typing. But the original Droid's keyboard had keys that were too shallow for some users, who found that they had a tough time really getting a handle on the device's typing technology. Leaked pictures posted on the blog Droid Life show that the new phone appears to have a slightly more embossed keyboard, which seems like a positive sign. We won't know for sure how much better the new keyboard is, however, until we try it out ourselves.

2. Stronger enterprise features: Yes, the Droid has Microsoft Exchange installed on it, thus giving you access to corporate e-mail servers. But as Mark Gibbs noted last year, it takes more than Exchange to make an enterprise device. It would be nice if the new Droid would take a page from the iPhone and install a Cisco IPsec VPN client into the device and to give it remote wipe capabilities that will make it more suitable for enterprise use. The Droid will also have to give companies the ability to enforce security policies if it wants to be taken seriously as an enterprise device, so it should include features that let IT departments set password strength, screenlock timeouts and other key security components.

3. Bigger screen, faster processor: HTC's EVO 4G on the Sprint network has set a new standard for big and fast smartphones. While it would be unfair to expect the new Droid to match the EVO's connectivity speed – after all, Verizon won't have anything comparable to Sprint's WiMAX network up and running until it launches LTE services later this year – we would like to see the Droid up its game in terms of screen size and processing power. The original Droid had an ARM Cortex A8 processor that ran at 550MHz. This was good for its time (a mere, what, seven months ago?), but we now live in a world of 1GHz and even 2GHz processors that easily dwarf the original model's processing capabilities. With processors becoming increasingly essential to smartphone performance, the new Droid will likely need a processor of 1GHz or higher to keep up with its competitors.

In terms of screen size, the EVO's monster 4.3-inch display screen with 800 x 400 pixel resolution is significantly larger than the original Droid's 3.7-inch screen, although the Droid had a slightly better resolution at 854 x 480 pixels. While the EVO's giant screen size may not be for everyone, we'd like to see Motorola up the screen size some without making the phone too unwieldy. Initial sightings of the Droid 2 at the Boy Genius Report indicate that the new Droid's screen size will rise to the challenge and could be even bigger than the EVO 4G's.

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Tags smartphonesMotorolamobile phonesGoogle AndroidMotorola Droid

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Brad Reed

Network World
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