Verizon wireless today officially announced the Google Android 2.0-powered Droid smartphone, the company’s first Android phone. The Droid will be available Nov. 6 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate.
As we reported previously, the Droid is a large, slim (0.5-inch thick) smartphone with a 3.7-inch, 854-by-480 capacitive touch screen and a sliding keyboard. It has a built-in 5-megapixel camera, DVD-quality video recording, and Wi-Fi, and it makes calls on the Verizon Wireless network.
The Droid has a TI OMAP 3430 processor which can run at up to 600-MHz, Motorola chief executive Sanjay Jha said in a press conference on Tuesday. The processor changes speed based on the demands of running programs. The OMAP 3430 is based on ARM’s Cortex-A8 architecture, which is newer and faster than the ARM11 used in previous Android phones.
The Droid is also the first phone to come with Google Maps Navigation Beta, which offers free, spoken turn-by-turn driving directions based on the Google Maps engine.
As an Android 2.0 phone, the Droid automatically syncs with Microsoft Exchange and has an improved Web browser compared to other Android phones. The browser supports HTML5 and double-tapping to zoom.
When asked if Verizon got early or exclusive access to Android 2.0, John Stratton, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, was a bit coy.
“We gain a time-to-mark advantage through close collaboration [with Google],” he said.
Verizon intends to release more Droid-branded Android devices in the future, Stratton said. “The partnership between Verizon and Google will be a multiyear partnership … under the Droid franchise,” he said.
Motorola, for its part, will release at least 20 smartphones next year, Jha said. While some of them, such as the Droid, won’t have Motorola’s proprietary MOTOBLUR interface, most will, he said.