Print 43 comment(s) - last by Mojo the Monke.. on Aug 11 at 8:38 PM

Star Wars' R2-D2  (Source: Lucasfilm/Pixel Tale)

The Motorola Droid 2 has been officially announced.  (Source: Verizon via Engadget)
Verizon's gets another super-powered smart phone

T-Mobile has the Samsung Vibrant smartphone (granted, soon all carriers will).  Sprint has the HTC EVO 4G.  Now Verizon is keeping up with the Jones and unleashing another high end Android 2.2 smartphone to the masses.

The new phone is the Droid 2 from Motorola.  It's pretty much been the worst kept secret in the world, as smartphones often are.  To recap what was previously known and now confirmed, the phone packs a 3.7-inch color touchscreen, slide-out keyboard, 3G hotspot/tethering capability, 8 GB of build in flash memory, an SD expansion capable of holding up to a 32 GB card, a 5 MP camera capable of "DVD-quality" video, and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) connectivity to share pics and movies.

The phone runs on Android 2.2, which features a Davlik JIT compiler and Flash 10.1, among other improvements.

A handful of details remain unconfirmed -- processor speed (rumored to be 1 GHz) and the amount of memory (rumored to be 512 MB).

The phone goes on pre-order tomorrow, August 11 for $199.99 for customers with new contracts or full upgrade privileges.  It will hit stores August 12 -- this Thursday.  Customers can opt to purchase Verizon's 3G Mobile HotSpot service for $20/month.  The service allows up to 5 devices to connect via Wi-Fi to the phone's hotspot.  Just beware -- Verizon has a 5 GB monthly data cap and tethering will rapidly drain your battery.

Talk/text plans for the phone start at $39.99 and the email/web data plans start at $29.99, so you will pay a base rate of at least $69.98 monthly with the Droid 2, before taxes and fees are tacked on.

Some may not know it but Verizon licenses the "Droid" trademark from George Lucas's production company Lucasfilm.  Verizon officially embraced that tie for the first time, announcing a limited edition R2-D2 phone.

Verizon writes in the press release:

In honor of the iconic Astromech Droid from the Star Wars™ Saga, Verizon Wireless will offer a limited-edition R2-D2 version of the DROID 2, available only online in September. The special version of the phone will feature exclusive Star Wars content and external hardware designed to look like the trusty Droid from the film saga. Visitors to the upcoming Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Fla., can see a preview of the limited edition phone and sign up to receive alerts when the phone is ready for sale.

Features-wise the phone seems to fall a bit short of the $199.99 (with contract) Droid X, also by Motorola, which packs a 8 MP camera, 4.3-inch screen, and otherwise similar stats.  The only downsides are that the Droid X is keyboard-less and won't get Android 2.2 until September

The HTC Incredible also seemingly packs a superior camera to the Droid 2, weighing in at 8 MP (it has a similar 3.7-inch screen size).  Of course, as the iPhone 4 shows, the megapixel count isn't always telling of image quality, a lot of it is the image processing hardware and physical size of the sensor.  And the HTC phone's 1 GHz Snapdragon processor is generally slower than the 1 GHz OMAP processor the Droid 2 is rumored to have.

Regardless of the outstanding details -- the camera, the processor, and the memory -- the Droid 2 seems destined to be among Verizon's high end Android handsets.  It cements the company's firm commitment to Android as the smartphone leader of the future.

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Droid X
By Wolfpup on 8/10/2010 11:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Not that it's not good they're updating it for people who want a keyboard (hopefully a much better keyboard), but it sounds like the Droid X has the same hardware except a nice larger screen. Personally I'd go for the X if I were buying an Android phone on Verizon (wish the X was available on every carrier...I'll take Motorola over HTC or Samsung any day).

RE: Droid X
By Aloonatic on 8/10/2010 11:11:40 AM , Rating: 2
I must admit, I used to question people on here who used to say that they needed a keyboard, but after using my Desire I'd defiantly go for a Droid like, keyboard wielding device next time. The number of times when the on screen keyboard has covered up most of the screen, making it hard to see what you've typed even on a facebook comment or text message is just so irritating.

If it comes to sacrificing an extra .3" or even.5" inch of screen size in order to get a good keyboard (I've never used a droid so can't comment) then I'd probably go that way now, but that's just me :o)

RE: Droid X
By Souka on 8/11/2010 2:32:08 AM , Rating: 2
I miss my Blackberry keyboard...but that's about it...

The Droid1 keyboard SUCKED....hope they fixed this one.

But then again my DroidX is doing fine (upgraded from an droid ERIS, from Samsun Omnia)

RE: Droid X
By Sazabi19 on 8/11/2010 7:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
My buddy and i both have Droids but we got them at different times, i got mine after he did and his keys are pretty much flat, mine are raised slightly so you can feel each different key on your fingertip. I think the whole "bad keyboard" thing has gone on a bad rampage with the Droid, sure the 1st gen of the phone did have a pretty crummy keyboard, but in all fairness they did fix it a few months later. I love my droid and hate on-screen keyboards, so I'm pretty sure I will go with the Droid 2, not the X. And yes, I'm running 2.2 on my Droid right now :)

RE: Droid X
By Souka on 8/11/2010 3:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
good to know they updated the keyboard, thank yuo.

I gave my "old" droid to a coworker...maybe I'll have him RMA it as he doesn't care fot the keyboard design.

Far as physical keyboard.... with the predictive/corrective typying, I'm pretty good on it... but probably should start using the swype keyboard function and be better still :)

RE: Droid X
By OnyxNite on 8/10/2010 11:30:55 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I prefer the smaller screen if both have the same resolution. I want this thing to fit comfortable in my pants pocket and the Droid X is just a little to big without a higher resolution to make it worthwhile. The Droid X does have a superior camera though (for both stills and video) so for me it comes down to camera vs. keyboard and in that the keyboard wins.

RE: Droid X
By retrospooty on 8/10/2010 3:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Personally I'd go for the X if I were buying an Android phone on Verizon"

Not me. My co-worker has an X. Its nice, and the screen is great, but just too big. It works for her, becasue she carries it in her purse, but I want mine to fit in my pocket, but the X (and EVO) are just too big for that. Plus, nothing beats a built in keyboard.

My ideal phone would bea Droid or Droid2 hardware with Palm's Web OS - its just ... better than iPhone or Android.

RE: Droid X
By bodar on 8/10/2010 11:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
but the X (and EVO) are just too big for that

Do you wear tight pants or something? I carry my EVO quite comfortably in dress slacks, with the Seidio Active Limited case on it too. I never wear jeans though, so I can't say how it would fit in there, TBH. Really, the EVO is not that much larger than the Droid 2, from the specs I've seen.

EVO Dimensions: 4.8? x 2.6? x .5? (LxWxT)
Droid 2 Dimensions: 4.5" x 2.38" x .54" (LxWxT)

If that makes a huge difference in comfort, you may want to re-evaluate your pants a bit.

RE: Droid X
By SSDMaster on 8/11/2010 1:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
I hardly notice when its in my pocket. The Droid 2 is going to be thicker, and you'll notice that more than the X. Also, since the screen is so big, typing on it is very fast and accurate.

I love my Droid X. Already rooted, and Birdman has already booted a custom ROM on it :)

RE: Droid X
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/11/2010 8:38:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you have allegiance to Motorola vs. HTC or Samsung? They all have varying levels of quality, from device to device, some hit and some miss. HTC has had great customer focus and build quality. Samsung has some amazing hardware with their new Galaxy S line (which, arguably, crushed Droid X in most areas).

I would say that each carrier has high end phones that are easily as good as, or better than, the Droid X, should you need a high end android. Quit whining.

And personally, I cant stand non-Swype interface (standard single touch keyboard) phones unless they have a physical keyboard that I can slide out and use to type something longer than 10 letters.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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