Motorola and Verizon Wireless's newest LTE device, the Droid Bionic, is a bit late getting into the game, but promises to be a strong contender in this summer's smartphone wars.
The imaginatively named handset evokes both Star Wars robots and the 1970s cyborg action heroes "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "Bionic Woman." It was announced at CES in January with Verizon's lineup of LTE devices with an unofficial expected early summer release, but Motorola said in April that it was adding some enhancements.
The candybar-style, large touchscreen, Android 2.3 powered Bionic has front and back cameras and a dual-core processor. It will hit stores on August 4th, according to Android Central, which obtained a leaked screenshot of unknown origin that also noted the correct date of the July 14 release of the DROID 3. ThisIsMyNext also published a flyer from retailer Best Buy that said the Bionic is coming soon.
Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney would not comment on the supposed release date but said the Bionic would be released when testing is complete, and customers can sign up for updates via Verizon's Web site.
Some reports said the touchscreen may end up being larger than originally announced, 4.5-inches, and Raney said "it's likely the specs may end up being slightly different based on customer feedback."
DROID-branded phones, which are models using Google's Android operating system sold exclusively by Verizon, are known for their large displays.
"The DROID Bionic is a big screen unit -- almost a small tablet," said analyst Gerry Purdy of Mobiletrax. "The displays on some of these handhelds are almost at five inches. In the smartphone market the thinking is that bigger is better but that's not necessarily true."
Purdy noted that the Bionic, which has no keyboard, will compete with a new sister device, also from Motorola, called the Droid 3.
People Like Keyboards
"The new Droid 3 will appeal to those who want a smartphone but a landscape style QWERTY keyboard," said Purdy. "Lots of people who didn't buy an iPhone probably didn't buy it for that reason -- they like the keyboard."
The first phone equipped for Verizon's high-speed long-term evolution data network, which opened for smartphones earlier last year, was the HTC Thunderbolt, followed by the DROID Charge, the release of which was also delayed following an outage of the LTE network in some areas that prevented new phone activations.
As more LTE phones slowly make their way into the Verizon's shelves, they will need to find ways to differentiate, says Avi Greengart of Current Analysis.
"I think there's definitely room in the market for more LTE smartphones -- particularly if Motorola is bringing different features and better battery life to the table," said Greengart. "While I'm a bit confused as to how Verizon Wireless chooses which phones get the DROID brand and which don't, there's plenty of room within the DROID brand for additional products."
Posted: 2011-07-09 @ 7:53am PT
Droid 3 came out on the 7th.
Posted: 2011-07-09 @ 7:09am PT
Correction to your article. It should say DROID 3 not DROID 2
"It will hit stores on August 4th, according to Android Central, which obtained a leaked screenshot of unknown origin that also noted the correct date of the July 14 release of the DROID 2."
Editor's note: Corrected. Thanks for the catch.
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 4:51pm PT
Still waiting for the official spec. Sounds little dumb if it only comes with 512MB RAM and a VGA front camera.
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 3:58pm PT
How can the Droid 3 compete with the Bionic when it is merely a 3G device? A dual core device with no 4G LTE? Ridiculous!! It figures that Verizon won't say anything about the Bionic when they are trying to push Droid 3 sales right now. With no unlimited data plan new customers may go to other companies like Sprint, Virgin Mobile etc. Th Motorola Photon cold be a viable alternative to the Bionic.
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 3:50pm PT
I have the original Droid and bought it thinking I'd like the QWERTY keyboard. I used it for about a month, then ditched it for the touchscreen version. Can't wait to get a Droid Bionic!
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 2:30pm PT
Least you got the updated screen size. Hopefully, all the other specs are not correct or there will be a lot of very upset people, like myself, who are expecting a much bigger change.
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 1:38pm PT
*Way behind on the Bionic specs
Posted: 2011-07-08 @ 1:07pm PT
Little behind on the Bionic specs