Droid's Official: Verizon, Motorola Confirm Details, Nov. 6 Launch


Motorola and Verizon Wireless on Wednesday confirmed details for Droid, which will go on sale Nov. 6 and cost $199 after rebates and a two-year lock-in.

Poised to challenge Apple and its iPhone and push Google's Android platform further to the forefront, Droid is Motorola's second phone to run Android and the subject of much speculation in recent weeks following Verizon's buzz-building Droid commercials on television and in print.

"We're proud to work with Verizon Wireless and Google on the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0," said Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices, in a statement. "Droid by Motorola delivers a rich consumer experience with warp-speed Web browsing, a mammoth screen, and Motorola's expertise in design and voice quality. Combined with Android's open, flexible graphical user interface and the power of Verizon Wireless' 3G network, Droid is a smartphone that simply doesn't compromise."

Droid arrives next week and users can buy it at Verizon Wireless retail outlets or online for $199 with a two-year lock-in and a $100 mail-in rebate. Voice plans start at $39 through Verizon and data plans (Web and e-mail) start at $29 a month.

Specwise, it's a 0.5-inch-thick phone with a 3.7-inch, 854-by-480 capacitive resolution touch screen, with slide-out keyboard. The Droid includes a 5-megapixel camera and DVD-ready video capture capabilities, and supports both Wi-Fi and Verizon Wireless' 3G network.

The Droid comes preloaded with Google Maps Navigation Beta -- a free, spoken turn-by-turn mobile map service now being offered by Google -- and syncs with Microsoft Exchange, with a Web browser supposedly much improved from previous Android phones.

Droid will compete directly with Apple, iPhone -- and AT&T. Verizon's dramatic Droid ads -- which spoofed the cute indie rock often heard in Apple product commercials and played on Apple's "i" prefix using phrases like "iDon't have a real keyboard" -- began airing earlier this month in prime time, and also appeared in print. New Verizon ads have also been attacking rival AT&T by spoofing Apple's "there's an app for that" catchphrase with "there's a map for that" series of commercials that seek to compare the strength Verizon's national coverage zones to AT&T's.

Droid will also become a flagship product for Google's increasingly more ubiquitous Android, now seen on a number of hot smartphones for fall, as well as Barnes & Noble's Kindle-rivaling e-book reader Nook, and in the hands of excitable developers pumped at the news of an Android 2.0 software developers' kit.

Some analysts see Google Android claiming a 14.5 percent market share for mobile OSes within three years, and both Motorola's Jha and Verizon Wireless Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton puffed up Android in their prepared statements.

"This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the Droid by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google," said Stratton in a statement "Droid by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country."

Motorola is throwing serious weight behind both of its new Android babies, Cliq and now Droid. Motorola declared its support for developing Android-based devices earlier this year, and although some speculated it was in fact too late to the Android party, Jha has said on several occasions that Motorola's Android play isn't the "make or break" for its struggling mobile business that some observers think.