Verizon launches first Android phone, Motorola Droid

The Droid has landed. After teasing the launch for weeks with a series of iPhone-bashing advertisements, Verizon Wireless officially unveiled its first phone based on Google's Android platform, the Motorola Droid, at a press event in New York. Although the product launch was expected, and specifications of the device leaked ahead of the event, the action still marks a significant milestone for the nation's largest wireless carrier.

droid android motorola verizon wirelessEarlier this month, Verizon announced that it would be partnering with Google on multiple Android devices, and the Droid appears to be the first of a franchise under the Droid brand name. "Our initial device is Droid, so this is kind of the cornerstone, but we will expect over time that the partnership between Verizon and Google will be a multi-year partnership," said Verizon CMO John Stratton, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, rumors are popping up that Verizon will soon be launching an HTC-made Android device, called the Droid Eris. Verizon has promised at least two Android phones before the end of the year.

The Motorola Droid, as has been previously reported, is the first Android phone running on Android 2.0, which was just officially announced yesterday. It has a 3.7-inch WVGA display, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g WiFi and a pre-installed 16 GB microSD card. The phone also has GPS, a micro USB connection and a 5-megapixel camera that sports 4x digital zoom, auto-focus and a dual-LED flash. Interestingly, the phone also sports a free Google Maps Navigation application, newly introduced by Google, that provides spoken turn-by-turn directions--a major competitive action against navigation vendors like TeleNav and TomTom.

Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha, who was on hand for the Droid launch event, said the phone would not run the company's MotoBLUR user interface, which the company introduced in September along with its Cliq Android device for T-Mobile USA. Jha said Motorola plans to release at least 20 smartphones next year.

Verizon will begin selling the Droid Nov. 6 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.

For more:
- see these pictures and specs
- see this release
- see this Droid fact sheet
- see this WSJ live blog (sub. req.)

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