We've got some good news, some bad news and some really awful news. If you didn't know, the DROID Eris is also releasing today. Verizon just posted a tutorial video on the DROID Eris, which is basically Verizon's version of the HTC Hero. If you want to get familiar with the DROID Eris, we suggest you watch the video above. And remember, as awesome as the DROID Eris is, it only costs $99!
For the bad news, it looks like Verizon is going to be charging users who tether their DROID $30 a month. That really makes no sense to us considering we're already paying for 'unlimited' data that we should be able to use however we see fit. We're pretty sure most of you guys will pass on the added $30/month for tethering since that effectively doubles the cost of your monthly smartphone plan. [gizmodo]
And for the awful news, it looks like Verizon is hiking up the Early Termination Fee to $350. Yeah, $350. The ETF goes down $10 every month of your contract but seriously, $350!? Heck, we thought the original $175 was already bad at $350 we're not even going to think about breaking contract. [wmexperts]
Update: Thanks to everyone who commented, the contest has ended and the winners have been contacted! Congrats tclaer, BigTex71, and nighthawk700!
Love music? Good thing because Slacker just announced that they'll be releasing Slacker Radio to Android Market! Slacker Radio is a great streaming radio application that'll surely find a place in many music lovers' Android phones. Slacker Radio for Android offers:
Free music library featuring millions of songs
High-quality stereo playback from any wireless connection
Create custom artist stations based on artists or songs
Over 100 professionally programmed genre stations
View artist biographies and photos
View album art and read reviews
"Peek Ahead" artist and album preview
Multi-tasking – listen to music while using other applications
Rate songs as favorites
Ban songs and artis ts you don’t like
Vertical and Horizontal modes
The Slacker Radio app for Android is free in Android Market but if you want the benefits of Slacker Radio Plus which offers unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, and no audio or banner ads, Slacker was kind enough to offer three 1-year subscriptions to Android Central readers! Simply comment below and we'll randomly draw names over the weekend. Contest ends Sunday November 8th 2009. You can only be entered once so multiple comments won't count as multiple entries.
We need a way to contact you guys so please leave information of some sort (if you're logged in, you're fine). Also, winners will need to sign up for a free Slacker account in order to get their account upgraded! Good luck!
Verizon has officially made the DROID Eris, Verizon's version of the HTC Hero, well, official. Like previous reports, the DROID Eris will release on November 6th for the low, low price of $99 (after rebate, with 2 year contract). We're unsure of why Verizon decided to wait until the day before to announce this puppy but the pricing is absolutely on point. It feels like Verizon is the only carrier who "gets" it when it comes to pricing.
The DROID Eris Specs are pretty much exactly like the Sprint HTC Hero--5MP camera, 528MHz Qualcomm processor, 3.2-inch multitouch screen, and Android 1.5--but the battery is now only 1300mAh compared to 1500 mAh on the Sprint HTC Hero. The four Android harware buttons are replaced by touch-sensitive buttons similar to the DROID.
The DROID Eris offers a great alternative to the DROID and a completely different experience. And make no mistake, this isn't some budget phone, this is still the same phone we deemed the best Android phone on the market only a month ago.
If you're in or around the New York City area on Droid Day, you'll have the opportunity to be among the first group to own the Verizon Motorola DROID. We've just received a tip that tells us that the Verizon Wireless store on 34th Street is planning to open on November 6th at 12:00 AM for a Midnight Launch of the DROID. We're hoping that this is a start of a trend and that many other Verizon stores will follow suit with midnight launches because we know you guys would get restless knowing others are already enjoying their DROID.
Are other stores getting Midnight Launches of the DROID? Who's going to be the first to buy one?
Our neighbors to the north, Canada, should be happy to know that their Android offerings are about to be expanded. As expected, the LG GW620, LG's first Android device, will launch on Rogers for $49.99 with new 3-year contract. We've seen the LG Eve before and were intrigued by its social networking capabilities. Since it is on Rogers, if you somehow manage to unlock it, it'll work on AT&T 3G bands. And since AT&T has yet to officially acknowledge Android, we're sure some of you might just go do that.
In other news, there's a rumor floating around that points to Telus being the carrier that'll get the Motorola DROID. We're working on getting more details, but if this is true, it'll be huge. From what little we know about Canadian carriers, Telus is in the middle of a switch from CDMA networks to GSM networks, however, many of their new devices (iPhone 3GS, GSM HTC Hero, etc) use GSM and we're hoping that they'll get the GSM DROID. Why? Because if Telus does get the GSM version, those DROIDs will also work with AT&T 3G bands. So even with AT&T not acknowledging Android, there's potential for unlocked DROIDs on AT&T. We're still waiting for official word from Telus to give this rumor more legitimacy but in the mean time, this might be the closest you'll ever get to an AT&T DROID.
So what do you guys think? Do Canada Android users and AT&T users both win?
The DROID Eris, Verizon's version of the HTC Hero, has been unboxed and looks generally ready to go for the November 6th launch. Why Verizon doesn't want to officially announce this device is beyond us, because from the looks of it, they've got themselves a winner here.
BGR's tipster says that the DROID Eris is both thinner and lighter than the Sprint HTC Hero and pretty much the best Android device other than the DROID. So when will someone knock off Verizon from its perch of having the two best Android phones on the market?
Hit the jump to see more pictures of the DROID Eris!
T-Mobile discussed Android at the Open Mobile Summit and released some interesting statistics regarding the myTouch 3G along with some equally interesting news regarding Android Market. According to T-Mobile:
About half myTouch users visit the Android Market at least once per day.
80% of myTouch users browse the web at least once per day, and 2/3 say several times per day.
Nearly half of myTouch users say they have “completely customized” their myTouch.
More than 40% of myTouch users access social networking sites multiple times per day.
The myTouch 3G is shaping up to be a great hit for T-Mobile and we're sure the Motorola CLIQ and Samsung Behold II will continue in that tradition.
In regards to Android Market, T-Mobile announced that they'll allow for carrier billing for app purchases which will allow users to purchase apps through their monthly bill rather than through Google Checkout. T-Mobile believes that enabling carrier billing will cause an uptick in app purchases (we'll agree) and developers shouldn't worry because they'll still receive their 70% split. T-Mobile also announced that they're going to introduce a 'T-Mobile Channel' in Android Market to recommend apps for users. Basically, it'll be a more official version of the T-Mobile AppPack.
As Android grows bigger and begins to branch out to new carriers, it's always nice to see that the first one that believed in Android will continue to do so.
The guys at Androidandme have gotten reports that show that T-Mobile is rolling out their 7.2 Mbps HSPA network in Chicago, IL and New York, NY. Currently, T-Mobile's 3G Network is limited to 1.8 Mbps, so the jump to 7.2 Mbps would be huge for the fourth place carrier. There hasn't been an official rollout planned, and if it's going to be like T-Mobile's regular 3G rollout, you'll only know you have it, when you have it.
What better way to get to know the DROID than to compare it to its Android siblings (or is it cousins)? We've put the sharply beautiful Motorola DROID next to the Android phones you know and love: the T-Mobile G1, the HTC Magic (myTouch 3G), and the Sprint HTC Hero. Once upon a time those phones were heralded as the best Android phone available but each will have to bow out for the DROID.
Hit the jump to see the comparison pictures! And for bonus coverage, we decided to pit the DROID against the iDon't device of the iPhone 3GS!
We've got the Verizon Motorola DROID here at Android Central Headquarters (thanks Verizon!) and it's just as we imagined--beautiful, fast, bold, and striking. Verizon, Motorola, and Google really did a masterful job in delivering a handset that will re-ignite the Android OS and re-introduce Android as one of the best smartphone platforms available.
Expect full coverage of the DROID in the days leading up to Droid Day (November 6th) and beyond. Hands-on pictures, quick thoughts, full in-depth reviews, and more to come. And if you want any specific coverage, be sure to let us know!
If you didn't think Verizon could get any more serious about the DROID, think again. After going after the iPhone in their first commercial teaser for the DROID, Big Red is back with 'Stealth'. 'Stealth' continues to tease about the most anticipated Android device to date while adding to the sci-fi lore of the DROID. The ad spot is as cinematic as commercials get, lulling readers into the mystery and next-gen nature of DROID. We're very impressed.
We're assuming that Verizon is calculating their move on when to show off the DROID to the general public and judging by the magnitude of their first two ad spots, it might be even bigger and bolder than ever.
What do you guys think of the new DROID commercial?
As the DROID prepares for launch, little details about Verizon and DROID are coming to light, here's the latest:
Is Verizon Charging $15/month for Exchange Support on DROID?
This isn't really news at all. Verizon has been charging different rates for Individual Data Plans and Business Data Plans for quite some time. It's not a matter of Exchange Support incurring the added cost but just the type of account you have (Individual or Exchange). Individual Data Plans will still have Exchange Support. If you buy your phone through your corporate account, you'll be charged $45. If you buy your phone like a normal person, $30 will still get you Exchange.
So no, Verizon isn't doing anything different and not charging anyone who uses Exchange an extra $15. The DROID uses regular Verizon smartphone plans, nothing to see here. [pcmag]
Verizon Opening Stores Early for DROID
In order to support the anticipated demand for DROID, Verizon Stores will open early on Friday, November 6th. According to Verizon, stores will open at 7AM or 8AM Local Time. Verizon suggests you contact your local Verizon store to see what time your store is opening but specifically states that Mall Stores will not open early (because the Mall won't be open!) [verizon]
DROID Will Tether in 2010
Verizon will release a tethering-plan, Verizon Broadband Access Connect, for the DROID in early 2010. Word on the street has it at $15 on top of your usual data plan, which isn't a half bad deal. Though we believe tethering should be free (you're already paying for 'unlimited' data!), at $15, we're sure those who need tethering can justify the cost and for those who think it's too expensive will find another way. [gizmodo]
Sony Ericsson is planning a whole line of these 'Rachael'-powered devices with the XPERIA X10 being the flagship device. The 'Rachael' UI might even pop up on other operating systems like Symbian and maybe even WinMob. All of these 'Rachael'-powered devices will likely show up in the first half of 2010 (so DROID, you have nothing to worry about...yet)
Sony Ericsson added their own touch to Android 1.6 and we're really impressed with some of their concepts. They're introducing Timescape, a MOTOBLUR-esque social networking integration that streamlines all of your social networks. Mediascape, which is the beautiful music application we saw yesterday. And face recognition, which will allow for automated photo tagging by recognizing your friends after they've been tagged by you and will even allow you to call friends when you tap on their face when viewing a picture (not entirely useful but amazingly cool nonetheless). Can we agree that this sounds amazing?
The only problem is that in its current stage, 'Rachael' seems to be more proof-of-concept than actually being ready for the primetime. Engadget had the opportunity to play with a pre-production X10 with a very early build of the 'Rachael' UI and simply couldn't get a real feel for the software (it's that far from being finished). But regardless, Sony Ericsson is taking a gigantic step in the right direction and could very well re-define how smart our smartphones can get.
Though we admit we wanted to hear an official release date, price, and carrier for the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 today, we're still satisfied with what Sony Ericsson has done. If they deliver on their promises, we're certain that it'll be 'extraordinary and magical'.
What do you guys think?
Hit the jump to see more pictures and the promo video of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10!
The Samsung Behold II just showed its pretty face and we got the pictures to prove it. Though we'll never like the name of the device (why name a brand new Android phone after a dumbphone?), we're beginning to come around on the Behold II. We're big fans of Samsung devices and it looks like the Behold II will pack enough niceties (3.2 inch AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera) and uniqueness (TouchWiz UI) to hang with the big boys. It has an obvious 'Galaxy' design to it but differs in that it will run Samsung's TouchWiz UI that allows for sleek multitasking.
It's an interesting ad spot--Neil Patrick Harris and 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary even pop up for cameos--but we're going to bet that many folks might be left confused with Motorola's choice in branding. We all know that MOTOBLUR is the UI that powers the phone, the Motorola CLIQ, but we're almost certain many folks will watch the spot and think that BLUR is the phone they want and have no idea that the CLIQ exists.
How do you guys like the ad? Could it be confusing for users not familiar with Android?
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