Monday, 16 November 2009

Meet the Motorola Droid

Motorola and Verizon Wireless are taking aim squarely at Apple's iPhone with their latest smartphone, the Droid. This Android-based handset has been garnering plenty of buzz since it was announced just a few weeks back. Here's what you'll find in the smartphone when it launches in early November.
Price and Availability

The Motorola Droid will be available from Verizon Wireless on November 6 for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate, and when you sign a two-year service contract. That price also requires that you subscribe to one of Verizon's e-mail or e-mail feature plans.

At first glance, the Droid is sort of industrial looking; it features a square, gray design, and a face dominated by its big, 3.7-inch touchscreen. (That's .2 inches bigger than the iPhone's touchscreen, if you're keeping score.) The Droid's display also offers a resolution of 480 by 854 pixels, which is sharper than the 480 by 320 resolution of the display found on the iPhone 3GS.

When closed, the Droid is very similar in size to the iPhone 3GS. The Droid measures 4.6 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide, while the iPhone 3GS measures 4.5 inches by 2.4 inches. The Droid is slightly thicker than the iPhone 3GS, though, thanks in part to its full QWERTY keyboard, which slides out from beneath the display.
Voice and Data

The Droid runs on Verizon's CDMA and high-speed EvDO networks. It also includes support for Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth wireless.

The Droid runs the latest version of the Google Android operating system, version 2.0, which adds polish to the somewhat rougher earlier versions of the OS. One of Android's biggest strengths is the amount of customization it offers -- and that's something that Verizon and Motorola have been hyping while advertising the Droid.

The Android Marketplace still pales in comparison to Apple's App Store, which offers more than 100,000 apps. But more apps are being added to the Android Marketplace every day, and you'll find a good selection of titles in there. The Marketplace offers a decent selection of apps for work and play, including a free version of Documents To Go, which allows you to view Microsoft Word and Excel files. (A paid version adds editing privileges, among other features.)

The Droid also is the first phone to feature Google's new GPS application, called Google Maps Navigation. It's a full-fledged GPS app, offering spoken turn-by-turn directions. And, unlike the GPS apps for the iPhone, Google's Android app is free. Verizon will be selling a windshield mount for the Droid, and once the phone is inserted into the mount, it automatically enters a navigation mode.

When the Droid was first announced, many outlets reported that Verzion Wireless would charge users an extra $15 per month to use the phone to access an Exchange e-mail account. Verizon, however, says that is not true. Consumers can use the Droid to access various e-mail accounts -- including Exchange accounts -- as part of the $30-per month data plan. Businesses, however, must pay for the $45-per-month data plan.

The Droid's 5-megapixel camera is a big step up from the 3.2-megapixel model found on the iPhone 3GS. The Droid's shooter includes a dual-LED flash, plus the ability to select from various scene modes, add color effects, and control the white balance. It also captures video at "DVD quality."
Music and More

The Droid does not include access to Verizon's suite of V Cast service, but instead offers the music features found on other Android phones. That means you get one-touch access to Amazon's MP3 store for DRM-free music downloads. You also get a basic music player for organizing and playing back tunes.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Motorola Droid.
by: Liane Cassavoy




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