Verizon and Motorola Tuesday confirmed the Droid 2, a slicker, faster version of the original Motorola Droid and hotly rumored in recent weeks. The Droid 2 is similar to the nine-month-old Droid but has an upgraded, more user-friendly keyboard and more processing power, as well as up-to-date software and version 2.2 of Google's Android OS.
According to Verizon and Motorola, the Droid 2 will be available starting Wednesday through Verizon's online store and in Verizon retail outlets starting Thursday. Cost is $199.99 with a two-year lock in, and all Verizon customers with contracts expiring in 2010 are eligible for an upgrade.
There's also a bonus for "Star Wars" geeks: A limited-edition version of the Droid 2 will be released in September and styled to look like R2-D2, while featuring what Motorola and Verizon are describing as "exclusive 'Star Wars' content."
Droid 2 offers a 1GHz processor, up from 600MHz in the original Droid and the same power as the new Droid X, and has 512 MB of RAM. It comes with Android 2.2 -- which many hot Android phones haven't yet received -- as well as support for Adobe Flash 10.1, a 5-megapixel camera, 8 GB of memory and an 8-GB microSD card, and mobile hot-spot capability for up to five devices.
"When we announced Droid X last month, we reaffirmed our commitment to continue to bring unique experiences to the Verizon Wireless network," said Jeffrey Dietel, vice president of wireless device, marketing and development for Verizon Wireless. "The Droid by Motorola was our first Android device, so it is important for us to include the successor to that phone in our portfolio."
Added Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer of Motorola, about Droid 2: "We've taken a big leap forward from the original Droid."
The Droid 2 continues Verizon and Motorola's march to Android dominance; the carrier and the manufacturer are responsible for some of the hottest smartphones in a year already dominated by buzzed-about Android devices. Droid 2 had been rumored for months and both Android and the Droid brand are established by now, but according to what Boy Genius Report is describing as a leaked Verizon Wireless product road map, Verizon and Motorola are just getting warmed up.