Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) unveiled its newest flagship Android smartphone, the Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Droid X, at a press event in New York City, deepening the collaboration among Verizon, Motorola and Android vendor Google.
The Droid X will be available July 15 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Verizon said that any subscriber who is eligible for a phone upgrade this year will be able to score the Droid X at launch.
Verizon's announcement, which the carrier had been teasing for more than a week, is the latest indication that the nation's largest wireless operator is banking on its partnership with Google to carry it to success in the smartphone market. Verizon already offers Android phones from the likes of HTC. The announcement also came a day ahead of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) release of the iPhone 4.
The Droid X runs Android 2.1 and a modified version of Motorola's MotoBLUR user interface. The device features a 1 GHz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments, a 4.3-inch screen, Swype's messaging technology, a dual-flash, 8-megapixel camera, HD camcorder, as well as DLNA and HDMI connectivity, allowing users to download, stream and share personal HD content. The phone has three microphones--one for video, one for voice and one for noise cancellation. The device also features a mobile hotspot service that will allow users to connect up to five devices via WFi; the service will be $20 per month extra and comes with an extra 2 GB data cap.
The Droid X will get a software upgrade in the latter part of the summer for Android 2.2 and Adobe Flash Player 10.1. Google also release the Android 2.2 sourcecode.
Verizon's launch event featured presentations from Verizon CMO John Stratton; Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha; Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of engineering and Android guru; and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a surprise visit at the start pf the presentation and praised mobile as a new way of computing.
"It's not one product," Schmidt said of the Droid X. "It's not an app engine. It's not an operating system. It's the sum of it all." Google's Rubin added that Google's Android partners are selling 160,000 Android phones per day, and that there are now 65,000 apps in the Android Market.
Verizon's Stratton highlighted the Droid X's support for video. "When you have a device like this, it screams video, and we've done some work on that front," he said, according to reports. Droid X users will be able to rent and buy movies from Blockbuster via the gadget. Click here for more on the Blockbuster service.
Motorola's Jha noted the Droid X is the company's 11th Android phone, and trumpeted its enterprise credentials; the phone supports Microsoft Exchange email and remote management and wiping. Jha is counting on the device to help drive sales at Motorola's handset division. "This will be a workhorse in driving our volume over the next couple of quarters," Jha said in an interview with Bloomberg. Jha has said that the company's handset unit will get back to profitability in the fourth quarter. Motorola will spin off the handset unit and its set-top box division in the first quarter of 2011 as a new company that Jha will lead.
Earlier this week, Verizon released a teaser video for the Droid X, which many blogs dissected to find out key specifications for the high-end smartphone. Verizon's promotional activities around the Droid X were similar to the $100 million marketing campaign Verizon deployed for the original Motorola Droid last year.
- see this release
- see these pictures and specs
- see this post from TI
- see this release from Blockbuster
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Google post
- see this FierceMobileContent article about the Blockbuster service
- see this NYT article
- see this Engadget live blog
- see this Fortune live blog
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