iPhone

Five interesting details about Verizon's new Droid smartphone

Verizon released more information about the Motorola Droid on Wednesday. Here are the five most interesting details.

On Wednesday morning, I did a call with Greg Haller, Verizon Wireless president of the midwest region, and he revealed some more information about Verizon's Moto Droid smartphone. Here are the five most interesting details:

1. Will cost $199, available on Nov. 6

Verizon has set the price of the Droid at $199, the same price as the 16GB iPhone (the 32GB iPhone costs $299). The Droid comes with a 16GB memory card. But the user can pop that out and upgrade to 32GB themselves, if they choose.

2. HTML5 and hi-res Web experience

Droid has an HTML5 Webkit browser, compared to HTML4.1 on the iPhone and the Pre. The Droid features an 854x480 screen -- compared to 480x320 on the iPhone -- and so the screen will show about twice as many pixels as the iPhone (of course it will be much smaller on the screen). The image below (a slide from Haller's presentation) shows how much more of a Web page you'll be able to see on the Droid versus the iPhone.

3. Exchange push support

Verizon officially revealed that the Droid will have built-in support for Microsoft Exchange messaging, including push capability for email, calendars, and contacts. Since it's still mostly business people that are buying smartphones, this is critical -- and it was missing from the G1, the first Android smartphone.

4. Voice-activated search

Another feature that Verizon touted was Google-powered voice search. Haller described the Droid as a "true search monster." He said,  "One button, talk to the phone and you'll find what you're looking for... The voice service works very well."

5. Verizon isn't closing the door on the iPhone

Verizon's ad campaign for Droid has almost exclusively been aimed at the iPhone (and Halller confirmed that more ads are coming), but that doesn't mean that the door is closed on the iPhone coming to Verizon. Haller said, "We continue to talk to more manufacturers, including Apple. We'd love to have to the iPhone."

Other details, based on Haller comments:
  • Wi-Fi is included (unlike other high-end Verizon smartphones)
  • Verizon won't load a bunch of its own software on the Droid. "The only thing we're going to load on here is visual voicemail."
  • The hi-res screen will do "DVD-quality video"
  • Has 550MHz Cortex-8 processor
  • It's an ounce heavier than the iPhone
  • Haller called it the "thinnest qwerty slider in the world"
  • Verizon does not expect to have any capacity problems like AT&T has seen with the iPhone. "We've literally spent millions of dollars nationwide to increase our capacity," said Haller. "We've put ourselves in a very favorable position for data capacity."

Later on Wednesday at the press kick-off event in New York, I got a live demo of the Droid and I received a review unit from Verizon. My personal observations and a full review of the Droid will be forthcoming.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

11 comments
dadonaldd
dadonaldd

I'll get one if it supports slingbox/slingplayer.

slatimer76
slatimer76

In my company, several people already have iPhones. They are all excited about me deciding to get a Droid, so we can see how they stack up next to each other, side by side. From what I have read, the Droid smartphone should be a fun toy, business tool and everything else the iPhone is.

mlieberman
mlieberman

It looks great but I think I might wait closer to the holidays or just after since there's rumored to be nearly 50 android phones being released in the next couple of months. Definitely interested in getting an Android phone though.

lmf1701
lmf1701

1. Droid does NOT support hands free bluetooth dialing 2. Droid does NOT support direct synch to local Outlook files (exchange yes, local outlook no) 3. Droid does NOT support the ability to manage Yahoo and other email in folders 4. Droid does NOT come with an app for Notes & Task management 5. Droid does NOT have an iTunes equivalent for synching music, vids, pictures, etc. ... Freebie: Verizon reps are generally clueless in regards to what Droid Does and Does NOT...

charlie
charlie

The best phone I ever had, Moto Q9M, is getting old and worn and I WANT (not need) to upgrade. The Droid looks fugly, but functioanlity looks awesome I was ready when I first read about it. Then again, so many other Droids are coming out for Christmas. Should I wait? Even my clients are asking me. Hmmmm...Hopefully we'll have more advanced intel before I jump! Charlie O'Hearn www.plexus-it.com

RobD.
RobD.

It seems to have everything I need. I've been considering a phone upgrade for a while, I have a Samsung Omnia that is a decent phone, except for the tiny WinMo 6.1 icons that require stylus-intervention and the virtual keyboard, which I do not like at all. I've decided my next phone MUST have a keyboard. The G1 just didn't cut it. Now that Android supports push Exchange ActiveSync, plus all the other new features, I'm ready to switch.

GreatZen
GreatZen

I'm currently using a fantastically annoying Samsung SCH-i760. Any phone on the AT&T network is virtually useless to me since I live and work throughout the Southeast (there's a map for that), so the iPhone hasn't even been an option. Despite the many quirks of the SCH-i760, there hasn't really been a CDMA based smartphone that is remarkably better, so I'm definitely interested. I hope the news is good because I'm awfully tired of having to reboot my phone twice a day, having the google apps suite crash about half the time I change aspect, and having a really, really terrible mobile IE.

RipVan
RipVan

The other notes are good points. But I hear far too many people use the "doesn't have iTunes" point. iTunes is the equivalent of AOL for computer users. I know a lot of people like iTunes. Back in the day, lot of people liked AOL, too. They didn't know it was for people who still needed lessons in how to use a mouse. They were the last to learn that AOL WASN'T the internet. I know many will disagree, but I see the same thing with iPod, iTunes, IDumb, whatever...

eddzpc
eddzpc

You couldn't have put that better. The AOLame parralel is right on tatget. Having used many types of players including an iPod, the iPod was my least favorite player and iTunes to be very clumsy to transfer files between machines. The lack of removable storage expandability and non user replaceable batteries are just two of many deal breakers between me and owning an iPod. The iHype will wear off quickly as soon as Flash comes to Android.

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