It’s big, it’s bold, it’ll handle Flash (eventually) and it’s got a cool-sounding name. Set to land next month, Verizon is clearly hoping to give the iPhone a run for its money with Motorola’s eye-catching, Droid X.
Verizon Wireless officials — accompanied by the CEOs of Google, Motorola and Flash developer Adobe — unveiled the long-rumored Droid X at a press event in New York on Wednesday, a day before the 4 goes on sale.
Boasting a 4.3-inch display, the same size as the jumbo HTC Evo 4Gscreen, the X will debut July 15 for $199 with a new two-year contract (after a $100 mail-in rebate). will go for the typical $30 a month, with voice plans starting at $40 a month.
The specs behind the new Android phone have been well-leaked, but here they are again: version 2.1 of the Android OS (with the just-announced version 2.2 on tap), a speedy 1GHz processor under the hood, an 8-megapixel camera (with a dual-LED flash and auto-focus) in back, a revamped version of Motoblur (Motorola’s social-networking-friendly interface and “in the cloud” backup service), and 720p .
Other features include GPS and Bluetooth (naturally), HDMI video out, microSD memory expansion (complete with a 16GB memory card in the box), a user-removable battery, and last but not least, the ability to act as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five other (so long as you’re willing to cough up an extra $20 a month and agree to the 2GB monthly cap).
Taking a sly poke at the iPhone, Motorola CEO also promised superior calling quality on the Droid X courtesy of its three microphones (one of them for noise cancellation) and its “high performance” antennas.
The Droid X will also come with a couple of key applications installed: a mobile Blockbuster app for buying and renting movies (long overdue as far as the Android Marketplace is concerned), and Swype, the hot new text-entry app that lets you “type” with a continuous swiping motion of your fingertip. Also included: Skype, V Cast streaming video and Verizon’s NFL Mobile service.
One of the key features of the X is plainly obvious: the oh-so-roomy WVGA display, almost an inch bigger than the iPhone 4’s Retina display. Having seen the Evo 4G’s jumbo display up close and personal, I can attest that a 4.3-inch screen is quite an impressive sight. But the iPhone 4, with its ultra-tight 960-by-640 resolution (versus 854 by 480 for the Droid X), can still claim superiority in the pixel-density department.
Verizon says the Droid X will be able to handle Flash video and Web apps (unlike the iPhone). Well, it will “later this summer” anyway, once an over-the-air update for the Flash Player 10.1-enabled Android 2.2 is released.
Missing in action from the Droid X’s litany of features, though, is a . Whether that’s a huge minus compared with the video-chat-capable Evo 4G and the new iPhone is pretty much up to you. Personally, I’m not dying to make video calls.
Given the timing, it’s hard to see Wednesday’s Droid X announcement as anything but a shot across Apple’s bow. Besides the Droid X’s larger display and Flash support, its camera has more megapixels. (Other Android handsets, such as Verizon’s other Droid phones and the Evo 4G, will also support Flash Player 10.1 once they get the Android 2.2 update.) Then again, the iPhone has that eye-popping Retina display, not to mention that front-facing camera for video chat and its thin, glossy design.
I’ll have a full review once I get my hands on a review unit, so stay tuned.
• Verizon Wireless: Press release
• Verizon: Droid site
— Ben Patterson is a technology writer for Yahoo! News.