Verizon introduces the newest Motorola Droid

The Droid X will ship with Android 2.1 but will get the newest software later this summer

Verizon on Tuesday introduced the newest Droid and the second from Motorola, but some Android fans may be disappointed to learn that it won't ship with the latest operating system or the newest Flash Player.

The Droid X will ship with Android 2.1, which will be updated to so-called Froyo, or Android 2.2, later. That means that it initially won't have Flash Player 10.1, the latest version of that software that became available this week for Android 2.2. Onlookers had hoped the Droid X would come with Android 2.2.

The phone will become available on July 15 and will get Android 2.2 and Flash Player 10.1 later in the summer, Verizon said. It will retail for US$199 after a $100 rebate.

The phone has a large 4.3-inch screen, bigger than most and matching the HTC HD2, a Windows Mobile phone. It will come with a Blockbuster application that lets users download full-length feature films and, because the phone has an HDMI port, watch the movies on other devices like TVs. Users will also be able to rent movies from Blockbuster to watch on the phone or other devices.

It also has a Digital Living Network Alliance-compliant port, so it can be connected to computers running Windows 7.

The phone has an 8-megapixel camera and can capture high-definition video. It has a 1Ghz processor and can accommodate as much as 40GB of memory, including expanded memory.

The hardware is in many ways superior to the iPhone 4, which will have a 5-megapixel camera and a slower processor, noted Ken Hyers, an analyst with Technology Business Research. It's no coincidence that Verizon timed the launch for the day before the iPhone 4 becomes available, he said. "I think that's exactly what they're hoping for, that it's competitive to the iPhone," he said.

The Droid X has a couple other features going for it that one-up the iPhone, he said. It runs on Verizon's network, which many people find has better coverage and quality than AT&T's. In addition, Verizon's data plan is still unlimited, unlike AT&T which now has a cap, he said. "I think that's going to make the Droid platform that much more competitive," he said.

Hyers doesn't expect that many buyers will be deterred by the fact that the Droid X ships with Android 2.1. "I don't think that's a deal breaker for most customers," he said.

Even though users of Nexus One review units have gotten the Android 2.2 update, he doesn't think that Google is holding the software back for its own phone. "They took too much of a hit on the Nexus One. It got in the way of their relationship with handset manufacturers and operator customers, so I don't think they'd take such a step," he said. Google has pulled back from its push to offer self-branded phones directly to consumers after struggling to promote and support the Nexus One.

The Droid X doesn't come with a physical keyboard and will ship with Swype, software that offers a new way of typing on on-screen keyboards without having to lift up the finger.

Users will be required to sign up for a $29.99-per-month data plan for unlimited access. They can opt to pay an additional $20 a month for a hotspot service that lets other devices, like a PC, connect to the phone for Internet access. The hotspot service is limited to 2GB of data usage.

Any Verizon customer whose contract is up any time this year can buy the phone for the subsidized $199 price.

Speaking at the event to unveil the phone, Google's Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering, said that the company is now selling 160,000 Android-powered devices each day and that the Android Market has 65,000 third-party applications.

He also officially announced that today Google has open sourced Android 2.2, making it available for handset makers to use. The software has already been pushed out to some review units of the Nexus One phone.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a surprise appearance at the event, where he promoted the benefits of Google's back-end cloud applications on mobile phones. Behind phones like the Droid X are "massively parallel supercomputers that do the computations" for services like voice translation, he said. But he also said that it takes powerful hardware and networks to deliver the capabilities available in such a device.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesMotorolaGoogleLinuxoperating systemsPhonesconsumer electronicsnon-WindowsVerizon Wireless

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?