One of the biggest selling points of the Motorola DROID is that it'll be on the Verizon network. We've all seen Verizon commercials--America's most reliable network, can you hear me now?, there's a map for that--Big Red likes to market themselves as being everywhere. And most Verizon customers we run into seem to be more than satisfied with their network's reception. The one sticking point with Verizon? Price.
As prices for unlimited voice+messaging+data plans are shrinking thanks to the likes of Sprint and T-Mobile, rate plans on Verizon are still sky high. So with Android finally coming to Verizon with the DROID, how will the price look when compared to Android phones already in existence such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Sprint HTC Hero? Why let's find out!
In order to level the playing field, we're going to use two different rate plans for each device. The first look will be given to the overall cheapest rate plan (with 2-year contract) we can find on their respective websites. The second chart will show the price of unlimited voice + messaging + data plans for each device on their respective carriers. We know that T-Mobile just introduced their Even More Plus (contract-free) option but since it doesn't include a 2-year contract, we chose to ignore those plans for the purpose of this study.
Who has the best bang for your buck? Who's the most expensive? Who's the cheapest?
The first is the Phone Holder for DROID which can provide a great place for you to store your Motorola DROID while you drive and mimics a typical standalone GPS-unit. This is obviously great for using Google Maps Navigation in Android 2.0 (Droid ships with 2.0) and the unique aspects of Google Maps. The Phone Holder for DROID doesn't have any pricing and is not available yet, with only a vague 'Coming Soon' date listed. In the mean time, the Android Central store has great options for car docks that you might be interested in.
If you're not interested in Google Maps Navigation, you should be. It's been one of the most requested features for Google Maps for quite some time and to finally have it in Android 2.0 is an absolute game changer. Just check out the stocks of standalone GPS makers like Garmin and TomTom, it speaks for itself.
We've gathered some choice screenshots of Google Maps Navigation for your easy viewing. GPS navigation is about to permanently change with Google Maps Navigation. Imagine how limited previous GPS devices were with their search. Now you search with the power of Google. Remember how expensive GPS devices were. Now it's free with Android 2.0.
We think that the change is good and we love that the change is falling in our direction.
Hit the jump to see more screenshots of Google Maps Navigation with our commentary!
BGR has an interesting report that Verizon Wireless will launch an all-out, ad onslaught for the DROID in one of the busiest intersections in the world, Times Square New York City. But this is more than just advertising, Verizon has plans to make this an interactive experience for DROID users. BGR's source says that two of the biggest digital billboards in Times Square, the NASDAQ and Reuters signs, will be controlled by DROID users through voice commands.
It sounds mysterious, ambitious, and borderline crazy but we're excited to see what comes out of this. The picture above is a 'sneak peek' of what's to come. There's no if's or but's about it, Verizon has absolute faith in the DROID.
The rite of passage for all highly anticipated gadgets, the unboxing, has happened for the Motorola DROID. Unsurprisingly, the Droid/Terminator theme of the DROID is splashed on the box with the expected Verizon branding. Google gets some love on the outer box as well, with Motorola showing up only in the product photo and the inner box. The DROID only comes with a microUSB charger, the accessories like the dock and car dock are sold separately.
Hit the jump to see more pictures of the DROID unboxed
We know today is DROID day and nothing official regarding other DROID devices (it is a series after all) will be announced by Verizon but gdgt has given word that the DROID Eris will be priced at $99 with new contract. Remember, the DROID Eris is purportedly the Verizon version of the HTC Hero and the Sprint HTC Hero sells for $179. If the DROID Eris is in fact the HTC Hero, it'll undercut the Sprint version at half the price and be on an arguably better network. Two wins in our book.
We love the aggressively competitive (or is it competitively aggressive) pricing of the DROID Eris. Like our prediction, the DROID Eris will be offered as a lower-end device from the higher-end DROID. Obviously, a Verizon HTC Hero isn't low-end by no means but priced at $99 will certainly ruffle some feathers. Either way, at $99 and $199 price points, it looks like they'll both be steals.
The lovely folks at Gizmodo and Engadget have both gotten their hands on the Motorola DROID and their first impressions are very positive. Here are some highlights:
General consensus seems to point the screen at somewhere between gorgeous and excellent. The added real estate with the bigger screen seems to make Android even more customizable with all the widgets and icons you'd like. And the extra screen resolution is to die for
The phone is made of metal and the hardware seems to be top notch
Keyboard is decent. The directional pad on the right side may get in the way of some but everyone seems sure it'll be fine once we get used to it
Everyone is noticing the speed difference in the Motorola DROID, we're taking that as Android 2.0 is highly optimized and enhanced enough to hang out with its speedster competitors
Facebook integration is built-in (Android 2.0)
We're working on getting our own Motorola DROID to give you our own thoughts but in the mean time, hit the jump to see some hands on pictures courtesy of Gizmodo and Engadget!
All eyes are on Verizon this morning and rightly so, but a few keen observers have found this video of the Motorola DROID with a SIM card! Which means there's going to be GSM versions of this most anticipated Android device lying around. Which isn't really a surprise since few carriers outside of the US use CDMA. But we're almost certain that these GSM DROIDs will never see the light of day as official devices in the US (Verizon has invested too much to let the Droid slip to AT&T or T-Mobile) but there's no stopping you from picking up unlocked phones to use on networks here.
We haven't heard of the DROID releasing on other worldwide carriers yet but we'll be sure to let you guys know when we do!
Hit the jump for the full video of the GSM Motorola DROID.
DroidDoes.com is live and stylishly displays teaser-fashioned information regarding the DROID. You'll be able to find out that with the DROID you can "put your thumbs away. DROID answers on command" and that the DROID is 'no granola crunching, flower child phone" but "more powerful than you need and faster than you can handle". Rather deep stuff, right?
It's a pint-sized power plant. Location aware. Voice-recognizing. App-mashing and multitasking. It can connect at breakneck speed. Power and intelligence can be more than a phone. DROID by Motorola.
It's not all fun and games though. The official specs page is listed here and some notable specs we didn't mention earlier: An Arm Cortex A8 550 MHz processor is what powers this puppy and it'll have 6 hours of usage time.
All jokes aside, Verizon and Motorola are really excited about this device and it shows. Motorola is back with a bang. Verizon has one of the best phones available. And Android 2.0 comes out looking best. This might be the first win-win-win situation!
After much hype and anticipation, the Motorola Droid is officially official. It's hitting Verizon on November 6th (like previously rumored) for a very reasonable cost of $199 on new 2-year contract. It's a 'Google Experience' Android device that won't rock Motorola's own MOTOBLUR but will run Android 2.0. Android 2.0 comes with its own social networking features so you'll be fine Mr. Facebook Fiend. So Big Red customers, are you already lining up to buy the DROID?
The official specs of the Motorola DROID:
3.7-inch 854x480 display
5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash
DVD-quality video capture and playback (720x480)
3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS (with Google Maps Navigation)
This is the first device in Verizon's DROID series and my does it have a look of a winner. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the day!
Google just announced Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 that'll offer users free turn-by-turn navigation. You heard that right. Google Maps. Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation. Android 2.0. Google Maps Navigation has everything you'd expect to find in a GPS application--3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance, and automatic rerouting--but also adds compelling new features that's 'built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone's Internet connection'. Google lists seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:
Always have the most recent maps and business data
Search with the power of Google (no need to know exact address, Google can do the legwork)
Search by voice
Live traffic data just like you see in the current Google Maps with real-time information
Search along route allows you to search for results that won't take you far from your route
Satellite View -- high resolution, 3D view of your route
Street View -- you'll be able to see where you need to turn, what your final address is, etc
This is big for Google Maps and even bigger for Android 2.0. Turn-by-turn navigation has probably been the most requested feature for Google Maps and for Google Maps Navigation to come native on the Droid (with a slick car dock UI to boot) and future Android 2.0 devices is a huge bullet point victory over competing mobile smartphones. Eventually, Google Maps Navigation will make its way to other phones but there's nothing like being first (and nothing like being free!).
We're imagining that Verizon is going to position the Droid as the high-end option with the Droid Eris becoming a lower-end handset. Hard to imagine a HTC Hero as a low-end device but with all the hype going to the Droid and the weaker specs, it's definitely possible. Another scenario could be the Droid Eris marketed as a keyboard-less option that uses the beautiful UI of HTC Sense as opposed to stock Android 2.0, keyboard-including option of the Droid. [bgr]
Verizon Training Employees on Droid Eris
It looks like Verizon Employees are getting themselves familiar with the Droid Eris. The screenshot (above) leaked from a Verizon Employee (natch) shows the training module that they have to go through. So if anyone had any doubt of this puppy landing on Verizon, they should cease now.
It looks like the previously reported November 6th release date will hold true for both the Droid and the Droid Eris. This is amazing because Verizon will have gone from zero Android devices to two of the best Android devices available almost overnight.
What's interesting is that Verizon decided to dual-launch both handsets on the same day. Over at Sprint, they've staggered the release of the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment nearly a month apart to offer both handsets a chance to shine. Palm is also introducing the low-end Pixie much later than the high-end Pre. In fact, we don't remember the last time two noteworthy handsets were launched on the same day. But we guess, if they're both ready, why not get them out to the public as soon as possible, right? Hopefully, they won't cannibalize each other. [bgr]
Verizon Stores Getting Shipment of Droids?
And lastly, we have an unsubstantiated rumor to bid you good morning. A tipster is telling us that Verizon stores will be getting shipments of Droids as soon as this week. In fact, his particular store is receiving 100+ units as soon by the end of the week. 100 units seems like a lot for a first shipment but if it's a store located in a big city and if shipment is split between the Droid and the Droid Eris, it's a somewhat feasible number. We're just passing what we hear along, but if the November 6th release date is true, stores should be getting their Droids soon enough. We'll find out soon enough! thanks anonymous tipster!
It just may be Gingerbread. In a short, humor-filled interview, Google Engineering Program Manager Ryan Gibson jokes about the pains in creating the nicknames for these Android builds and mentions 'Gingerbread House' when answering what comes after Flan. Obviously it's nothing close to being official since 'Gingerbread' is 2 builds after the next Android build (Eclair) and the overall joking nature of the interview but we kind of, sort of like the name.
Can you guys think of a dessert better suited to be the codename for the next, next Android build? In the meantime, hopefully we'll enjoy Eclair soon enough!
Google just announced that the Android SDK now supports Android 2.0 'Eclair'! We've seen Android 2.0 in screenshots from the Droid but Google is only officially introducing the 'Eclair' build of Android now. In 2.0, Android users will be able to use new features such as:
Multiple accounts can be added to Android for contact and email sync (devs can create sync adapters that provide sync with additional data sources)
Quick Contact gives quick access to actions (call, SMS, email, maps, etc) for your Contacts (accessible in Contacts, Email, Messaging, and Calendar)
Unified email inbox to support multiple accounts on one page
Search through all SMS/MMS messages
Android keyboard is improved
Refreshed UI with actionable browser URL bar enables users to directly tap the address bar for instant searches and navigation. Browser can also double-tap to zoom and there's support for HTML5
expanded Camera offerings: Built-in flash support, Digital zoom, Scene mode, White balance, Color effect, and Macro focus
Combine those improvements with what came in Android 1.6 and the all around tweaks and performance enhancements that come with new releases and it looks like Android 2.0 'Eclair' is going to be a winner. Now that the 2.0 SDK is out of the bag, how about officially releasing it for the rest of us Android users, Google?
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