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Motorola DROID

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 Motorola DROID Discontinued
28th October 2009

Billed as the world's first Android 2.0 smartphone, the Motorola DROID is an impressively specified device that is initially exclusive to Verizon Wireless.

The good news is that this is potentially a truly great offering from Motorola, the bad news is that this is a CDMA-only device that will be limited to use in the United States. In other words, for most potential customers.. this is not the DROID you are looking for.[see note]

We're hoping that Motorola will launch a GSM / UMTS version of this for everyone else to use, and if you look at what the Motorola DROID can do, then you will see why.

Android 2.0 (codename "Eclair") is brand new, and it completely overhauls the user interface to make it better to use. Much of the software has been improved, including the web browser and Google Maps, and now Android can support Microsoft Exchange email which is ideal for corporate customers. The latest version of Android has improved camera functionality, including support for flash and digital zoom, which brings Android photography more into line with the competition.

The Motorola DROID itself is an impressive piece of kit. and the most obvious feature to begin with is the very large 3.7" 480 x 854 pixel touchscreen display. The display will be ideal for web browsing and multimedia playback, indeed it has one of the highest pixel counts of any mobile phone on the market.

 Motorola DROID But this isn't just a touchscreen phone, as the DROID has a fairly conventional slide-out QWERTY keyboard as well. There's no real spacing between the keys though, and the navigation pad that sits alongside them looks strangely retro and out of place.

On the back is a 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, autofocus and image stabilization. Video capture resolution is an impressive 720 x 480 pixels at up to 24 frames per second, which means that the Motorola DROID looks like a potentially very capable camera phone.

The DROID's GPS receiver is tied in with the latest version of Google Maps, which in itself is a pretty significant update as it now gives free turn-by-turn voice guidance, and also comes with voice recognition so that you can tell it where you want to go without touching it. Android 2.0 also features a "Car Home" screen which reflects the fact that this should make be a useful in-car satellite navigation device. The DROID also has an electronic compass.

Android multimedia support has always lagged behind rivals a little, but this latest version can cope with MP3, AAC, WMA and AMR audio, plus H.263, H.264 and MPEG4 video. As we said before, the large screen is ideal for movie playback. The DROID also has a standard 3.5mm audio socket, and it supports stereo Bluetooth as well. Motorola say that a 16GB memory card is included in the phone, and this can be expanded further using the microSD slot.

This is a CDMA / EVDO device with support for WiFi connectivity, and as such it will only work in the US. Maximum talktime from the large 1400 mAh battery is 6 hours with up to 11 days standby time.

 Motorola DROID It's a pretty large and rather heavy device, coming in at 4.6 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches and 6 ounces, or 116 x 60 x 13mm and 169 grams in metric. But when you consider the large screen and QWERTY keyboard, then this is hardly a surprise. The processor is a 550Mhz ARM Cortex A8 CPU which is roughly equivalent to most of the competition.

Verizon are pricing the Motorola DROID at $200 when taken with a new two-year contract and when taking a $100 mail-in rebate into account, and they say that it should be available in Verizon retail outlets and online from 6th November.

This is an exceptionally impressive smartphone, and Verizon customers are very lucky to have a world exclusive on it. We don't know if Motorola will make the DROID available on other networks, but we certainly hope so!

You can see more of the DROID here.

Note: DROID is a Trademark of Lucasfilm (who made Star Wars).. so the quote is not completely silly!

Update: The GSM version of the DROID has been confirmed as the Motorola MILESTONE.

Motorola DROID at a glance

Available:

November 2009

Network:

CDMA 800 / 1900

Data:

EVDO + WiFi

Screen:

3.7" 480 x 852 pixels

Camera:

5 megapixels

Size:

PDA-style device
4.6 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches / 6 ounces
116 x 60 x 14mm / 169 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

MicroSD

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

GPS:

Yes

OS:

Android 2.0 (Eclair)

Battery life:

6.4 hours talk / 11 days standby

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