You can squash any fears that Motorola's Droid 2 smartphone won't ship with Froyo (Android 2.2). And while you're at it, put to rest any suspicions you might have had that the $20/month mobile hotspot add-on and Flash Player 10.1 wouldn't be part of the mix, because it's all getting tossed in with Motorola's latest and greatest.
Courtesy of Verizon, the Droid 2 is finally official. In addition to the above, Droid 2 will ship with a revised QWERTY keyboard, Swype pre-installed, a 3.7-inch multitouch display, 5MP camera, DLNA streaming, 8GB of onboard memory, and an 8GB microSD card thrown in for good measure.
So when you can order one? Tomorrow's the day to mark on your calendar, which is when Verizon will offer up its newest smartphone in pre-order form for $200 with a 2-year contract. As for in-store availability, you'll have to wait one extra day.
Motorola's Droid smartphone will soon be replaced by the Droid 2, the only questions are 'when' and 'how much?' We have a couple of tentative answers to both of those.
As for when, it's looking like Verizon will officially announce a launch date this Tuesday, which Web murmurs have pegged for this Thursday, August 12. The Droid 2 has already been given a full page spread in the Boston Globe, so we know we're getting close.
And as for cost, expect the Droid 2 to run $200 with a 2-year service agreement, or $600 without. That's according to yet another leak, this time from a North Carolina resident who spotted a dummy unit at his local Best Buy accompanied by a price tag.
While final specs have yet to be officially released, the Droid 2 is expected to come configured with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, 5MB camera, and an improved slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
You didn't really think we'd get through the week without yet another tablet announcement, did you? That's just crazy talk, man, and Motorola will have none of it. Neither will Verizon.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Motorola is hard at work putting together a tablet that will allow users to watch televisions programs on its 10-inch screen. Google's Android platform will provide the foundation, but it's Verizon's FiOS digital pay-televisions service that sets this device apart.
Citing "people briefed on the plans," FT says Motorola is working closely with Verizon to tie its device in with the wireless carrier's FiOS service. It should also be noted that Motorola currently builds the TV set-top boxes for the FiOS television service, so this wouldn't be a giant leap for the two companies.
Other details are few and far between, though FT believes Motorola is trying to trump Apple's iPad on a variety of fronts, including making the device thinner and lighter, and addressing some of the iPad's missing features, like Flash support and dual cameras.
Late last week, Motorola Droid users rejoiced as it was announced they would be receiving an Android 2.2 update this week. But now another announcement is leaving a sour taste in users' mouths. Verizon has announced that the update will not contain the Froyo standard USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. In the statement, Verizon claimed it was a hardware issue, saying, "[the Droid] doesn't have [the] hardware to support a mobile hotspot."
Some users are calling Verizon's bluff though. The Droid is one of the most hackable Android phones available, and may custom ROMs exist for it. A rooted Droid is perfectly capable of running a hotspot with some of these ROMs. This fact makes Verizon's statement suspect. A more likely scenario is that Verizon simply doesn't want to allow users to use the free tethering in Froyo.
Some other Verizon phones, like the Droid X, have a special paid hotspot app that Verizon charges monthly for. It's possible Verizon and Motorola did not want to take the time to develop such a feature for a phone that is about to discontinued. What do you think? Conspiracy, or hardware shortcoming?
Apple is doing everything it can to deflect attention away from the iPhone 4's janky antenna design, like calling out other smartphone makers for supposedly being in the same boat, including Motorola and the Droid X. To be fair, Motorola (and Verizon) fired off the first marketing missile by taking out a full page spread in The New York Times earlier this month taking digs at the iPhone 4 in the small print.
Now Motorola has begun rolling out a second ad, and this time, the company is blasting Apple's iPhone 4 in large print by titling it's second spread "NO JACKET REQUIRED." The rest of it goes like this:
"At Motorola, we believe a customer shouldn't have to dress up their phone for it work properly. That's why the Droid X comes with a dual antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like to make crystal clear calls without a bulky phone jacket. For us it's just one of those things that comes as a given when you've been making mobile phones for over 30 years."
Ouch. It will be interesting to see how, or even if Apple responds.
It doesn't seem to matter how many industry heavyweights line up against them, Apple is steadfast in its determination to keep up its drive by smear job on competitive smartphone antennas. The latest victim of Apples ire is the Motorola Droid X which they demonstrate falls victim to the same “death grip” reception problem as the iPhone 4.
Apple might think they are “educating” consumers with these clips, but a closer inspection of the Droid X shown in the video demonstrates a phone being held in a rather unnatural fashion, with the hand in question trying intentionally trying to cup the bottom. Everyone holds a phone differently, we get that, but the hand in this clip is practically covering up the microphone.
We have no idea where Motorola located the antenna on the Droid X, but can we all just agree that putting an antenna on the side of a phone with no protection, regardless of the manufacturer is a bone headed idea and just move on?
Motorola managed to find a company willing to purchase its wireless network business, and that company is Nokia Siemens, who has agreed to cough up $1.2 billion for it, the two companies announced this week.
"This is an exciting acquisition that I believe has significant benefits for customers, employees and our shareholders," said Rajeev Suri, Chief Executive Officer of Nokia Siemens Networks. "Motorola’s current customers will continue to get world-class support for their installed base and a clear path for transitioning to next generation technologies while employees will join an industry leader with global scale and reach. Nokia Siemens Networks will see the benefits of a deal that is expected to enhance profitability and cash-flow and to have significant upside potential."
The deal nets Nokia around 50 more customers, while also strengthening its position with China Mobile, Clearwire, KDDI, Sprint, Verizon, and Vodafone, Nokia said.
As part of the deal, Motorola will shuttle about 7,500 employees to Nokia, including large research and development sites in the U.S., China, and India.
For the most part, first impressions of Motorola's recently launched Droid X have been largely positive, but it's the eFuse chip contained inside that's getting all the attention. As was reported all over the place last week, modders who muck with the device's bootloader will set off the chip and end up with a bricked smartphone for their trouble, but that's all a bunch of hogwash, says Motorola, who set out to clear the air.
"Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner, and legal requirements," Motorola wrote in an email to Engadget. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can reboot once approved software is reinstalled."
In other words, altering the phone's firmware won't result in a dead device like many had feared, but it does sound as though the Droid X will be harder to hack than other smartphones. Does that mean it will be impossible? We highly doubt it, given the modding community's never-die attitude, especially now that we know the Droid X isn't any danger of dying either.
Apple's iPhone 4 is getting all the attention as of late, and not all of it good. Capitalizing on the bad press, Motorola and Verizon have taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times promoting the Droid X...at the iPhone 4's expense.
"Introducing the Droid X by Motorola, the ultimate smartphone," the ad starts off. "Its screen is gigantic. It's capacity is huge. Every experience from messaging to movies is larger than life. It can even connect with your HDTV so you can share things with large audiences."
The ad starts off innocent enough, and then goes into full attack mode:
"And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design," the ad continues. "The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls. You have a voice. And you deserve to be heard."
Motorola late last week announced a surprisingly sleek looking smartphone designed for the Enterprise, the ES4000 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA).
"Motorola recognizes that mobile teams are the lifeblood of an organization, and empowering these teams with unmatched features and functionality to eliminate road blocks in the field is critical to an organization," said Gene Delaney, president, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions. "The new ES400 EDA combines the best features of mobility, communications and task functionality without compromising performance or design – offering mobile workforces the ability to take action and capture information with a single click – in front of the customer where it counts most."
Featuring a 3-inch VGA screen and full QWERTY keyboard, the ES4000 comes built around Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. Powering the device is an ARM 11 processor (MSM 7627) clocked at 600MHz, along with 256MB of memory and 1GB of internal Flash storage (upgradeable to 32GV via microSD card slot).
Motorola said it will ship the ES4000 later this year for an as-yet undetermined price.