Sunday, October 18, 2009 12:07 AM
Verizon and Motorola finally lifted the curtain on their new Droid Android phone yesterday. Make no mistake, this is Android's flagship product, and the first phone that will pose a significant threat to Apple's iPhone. And it will be available very soon, possibly as early as the end of this month.
MobileCrunch has been tracking the phone, which has also been called the Tao or Sholes, for some time. Just about anyone who has come in contact with the phone can't stop talking about it. And from what we hear, they have good reason.
The phone is a three-way effort between Motorola, Verizon and Google. It looks a lot like the iPhone, and may even be as thin or thinner than the iPhone 3GS. It also has two key advantages over the iPhone ¿ a slide out physical keyboard, and use of the Verizon network.
Unlike previous Android phones, the Droid is rumored to be powered by the TI OMAP3430, the same core that the iPhone and Palm Pre use, and which significantly outperforms Qualcomm 528MHz ARM11 based Android phones that exist today (Engadget has a great overview article on mobile CPUs).
Droid will also be running v.2.0 of Android, with a significantly upgraded user interface.
The Droid poses a different and more significant challenge to the iPhone than any other phone to date. The Palm Pre could have been that challenger, but it lacked the Verizon network, and users were unimpressed with the hardware. According to people who've handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. When you combine that with the Verizon network, you've got something that is most definitely a challenger to the Jesus phone.
And the scary thing for Apple is, it may only be a few months before something even better than the Droid comes out. With the flood of Android devices that are hitting the market, a few are bound to be hits. No wonder Google CEO Eric Schmidt is so bullish on Android right now. Things are about to get very, very interesting.