Motorola Droid X: Unique, or just another smartphone?

The Motorola Droid X, set for release in the US on Thursday, may stand out from the pack of smartphones, including the iPhone 4.

Motorola Droid X

Motorola Droid X

On June 23, Motorola introduced the Droid, set for release this Thursday, calling it "a pocket-sized home theater." That's an interesting slogan for a phone. I can appreciate the feature, but how does it benefit the average worker? I can see the advantage for advertising agencies, multimedia firms, and maybe film critics, but what about the rest of the companies who just need a good, dependable phone?

Every time I read the news, there's a press release for a new smartphone, laptop, notebook, netbook, e-reader, printer, and so forth. The competition is so intense that purchasing decisions must be a nightmare for the average company. You almost need to create a department specifically for researching IT and electronic options. And the worst part is, how can anyone make an intelligent purchasing decision when everything your company buys is obsolete in less than a month?

These details about the Droid X hopefully will help inform your decision.

Android Operating System

The Droid X uses the Android operating system, which will be upgraded to version 2.2 when available later this summer. LG, HTC, Nexus, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and Sony--to name a few--all offer Android smartphones; some even provide several styles. The Android Market has more than 65,000 applications, at the moment, which are available to all Android phones.

Screen and Display

The Droid X has a high-resolution, 4.3-inch WVGA screen. By contrast, Samsung's Galaxy S class Captivate has a 4-inch AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display; the HTC EVO 4G features a 4.3-inch touchscreen; and the upcoming Nokia N9 is offering a 4-inch LCD touchscreen. So, these are all comparable.

Camera

The Droid X offers a dual-flash, 8-megapixel camera and an HD camcorder. But the HTC EVO 4G also comes with an 8-megapixel camera, a dual LED flash, and an HD video recorder with a 720p camcorder. The upcoming Nokia E7 and N8 are reported to have 12 megapixel cameras, HD video capture, plus Carl Zeiss optics, and a Xenon flash. That's better than my digital camera. At this rate, we won't need computers or cameras or iPods; the phones will have it all.

Processor and Memory

The Droid X has a 1GHz processor and 8GB of internal memory, plus a microSD slot to upgrade to 16GB or 32GB. The iPhone has an Apple A4 processor and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, but no card slot. The Samsung Galaxy S has a 1GHz processor and 8GB or 16GB internal memory plus a microSD slot to upgrade to 32GB. The HTC EVO 4G has a 1GHz processor with 1GB ROM and 512MB RAM plus 8GB included on a card in the microSD slot.

Battery

The Droid X uses a 1540mAh battery that provides eight hours of talk time and 220 hours of standby time. The HTC EVO 4G uses a 1500mAh battery that provides four to six hours of talk time, but no standby time has been reported. The Apple iPhone 4G has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides seven to 14 hours of talk time--based on memory and network usage--and 300 hours of standby time. And the winner here is?

Pricing and Availability

The Droid X will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications stores July 15 for US$299 (or $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate). The HTC EVO 4G costs $200, and the Apple iPhone is $199 for the 16GB and $299 for the 32GB version. Truthfully, it looks like most of the smartphones are comparable in price based on their features. You can be reasonably assured that if another iPhone, Droid, or HTC EVO clone hits the market, the prices will be competitive.

Other Features

Additional features--on most all phones, in addition to these devices mentioned above--include Bluetooth, network and Internet connectivity, music, headphones, multimedia options, and more.

Choosing the Right Cell Phone

If your employees need phones soon, it looks like the Droid X and the HTC EVO 4G are comparable, right now, today, but tomorrow is another story. Had it not been for the defective antenna and all the connectivity issues with the iPhone 4G, I would have included that device in my recommendation. That said, forget the iPhone.

If you wait long enough, every cell phone maker will have a comparable phone, at least until someone else adds another great new feature that the others lack. The problem is, you can't put your business on hold waiting for the perfect phone, and you can't upgrade your phones every six months.

If you're unsure, you could try to test drive a cell phone for the month-long trial period that some carriers allow before you must either return it or agree to a contract. Then, after you're finished testing, just bite the bullet and choose one.

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Julie Sartain

PC World (US online)
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