Verizon has officially announced the Motorola DROID. The device will cost $199.99 on contract (after mail-in rebate) and will be available November 6.
DROID will be running Android 2.0 and have visual voicemail. The device features a large 3.7-inch 854×480 display, 5 megapixel camera, a 16GB memory card, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Amazon MP3 downloads.
This is really the first Android device that has really made me take notice. Engadget has had some hands-on time with the device and seems to like it, mentioning noticeable speed improvements compared to other Android devices.
- That big screen is killer. Bright, crisp, and tons of room for your icons and widgets.
- Speed is noticeably improved — particularly when moving from app to app. We did notice that some of the home screen scrolling looked laggy.
- Android 2.0 is definitely cleaned up — but it’s most definitely still Android
The biggest new feature in the Motorola DROID is Google Maps Navigation, which will be available to Android 2.0 devices. All of the standard turn-by-turn navigation features are there but with Google’s implementation you also get the most up-to-date map and business data (using your data connection), voice search, and street view.
The Wall Street Journal is already reporting that shares of TomTom and Garmin have dropped dramatically after Google’s announcement. It appears that stand-alone navigation units will soon be a thing of the past.
10/18/09: Verizon Debuts Teaser for ‘Droid’ Handset
Update 10/31/09: Wilson Rothman, of Gizmodo, regarding Google Maps Navigation:
You might still see the occasional sale of a Navigon or a CoPilot, because of particular necessary features and because of the onboard map databases (which people who go off-grid prefer), but really, this thing would—and probably will—swallow the GPS app market alive.
Because of that, I am hoping Google’s developers pay close attention to this review, too. The app is still in beta, but there’s a lot of user-interface work yet to be done. Google: If you’re going to knock everyone else off the mountain, at least give us an app worthy of a king.
Joshua Topolsky, of Engadget, has published his review of the Motorola DROID. He likes it, especially the hardware — calling it “easily the best Android phone to date.”
Greg Kumparak published his comparison of the iPhone 3GS and the Motorola DROID on MobileCrunch. Aside from the Palm Pre, these are the only two phones I would currently recommend anyone purchase.
Update 11/6/09: Network World is reporting that the Motorola DROID will have a $30 per month unlimited (which means 5GB) data plan. If you want to add tethering to that plan it will cost an extra $30, doubling the price of data to a total of $60 per month.
Update 11/8/09: HTC DROID Eris
Update 11/12/09: DROID Limited to 256MB of App Storage
Update 11/21/09: Amazon currently has the Motorola DROID for $149.99 with a 2-year contract, that’s $50 off Verizon’s price.
Update 11/24/09: Once exclusive to the DROID, Google Maps Navigation has finally come to Android 1.6.