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Motorola DROID 3
We saw the Chinese version of the Motorola DROID 3 a few weeks ago, but now it has been officially announced for the US Verizon Wireless network where it is available to order now. If the traditional timescales apply, then we should see an announcement of the global Motorola Milestone 3 in the next few weeks too.
The DROID 3 is bigger and heavier than the original DROID and the DROID 2, coming in at about 10% heavier and with a 10% bigger "footprint". The main reasons for the increase in size are the larger screen (now a 4" panel from 3.7") and an extended keyboard with a row of number keys.
The display is essentially the same qHD (540 x 960 pixel) panel found on the ATRIX. The similarities with the ATRIX don't end there.. inside is a very similar dual-core 1GHz processor with 16GB of on-board Flash memory, just like the ATRIX has.
On the back is an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash, capable of 1080p video capture. Video can be played on a compatible HD TV through an optional HDMI cable, or alternatively using DLNA. There's also a front-facing camera for video calling.
Because this is a Verizon Wireless device, the DROID 3 is primarily designed to be used on Verizon's CDMA/EVDO network. But rather unusually, the DROID 3 also supports quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS, so it can be used on European and worldwide networks as well, although this will require an additional SIM card. The DROID 3 also supports 802.11 b, g and n WiFi connections, and you can tether up to 5 devices to the DROID 3 and use it as a mobile hotspot.
Motorola say that the dual-core CPU gives a 27% performance boost over the old 1 GHz single-core DROID 2, a surprisingly modest boost on the face of it. Perhaps the biggest weakness with the DROID 3 is that the processor runs at just 1 GHz rather than the 1.2 GHz or 1.4 GHz that the competition are coming up with. Still, the DROID 3 will have plenty of processing power for anything that you are likely to throw at it (and it is twice as fast as the original DROID). The 512MB of RAM is a decent amount, but hardly outstanding by current standards.
Underneath, the DROID 3 runs Android 2.3 with Motorola's MOTOBLUR add-on. It does everything that any other Android phone does, and comes with a load of social networking and messaging clients pre-installed, and it also supports Adobe Flash 10.
Standard Androidy features include a music player (but no FM radio) with a 3.5mm audio socket, GPS with a compass, microSD expandable memory and Bluetooth. The DROID 3 also has a remote wipe feature and inbuilt encryption capabilities, which is useful because this is quite a desirable little number.
One nice feature with the original DROID was the docking station, the DROID 3 also supports a range of docks but as the connectors and physical size of the unit are different then old DROID and DROID 2 accessories will probably not work.
Inside is a large 1540 mAh battery which is quoted as giving up to 9 hours talktime and 12 days standby time, but we don't know if that is on 3G or 2G. The DROID 3 measures 123 x 64 x 13mm and weighs 184 grams, which makes it a fairly heavy but quite slim device.
Verizon Wireless say that the DROID 3 is available to order through its web site right now for just under $200 with a new two year contract, and it should be available in Verizon stores from 14th July onwards. Although the European Milestone 3 hasn't been announced yet, we would expect that to retail for about €600 to €650 SIM-free.
The Motorola DROID 3 is an evolution of previous designs rather than a revolution, but it is certainly enough to keep Motorola competitive in a tough marketplace.
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