Motorola's Droid 3 might be only slightly smaller than the original, but it boasts some boosted hardware and interesting features, according to a new iFixit teardown.
Two years ago,
Motorola's original Droid rumbled its way onto the smartphone stage. Everything
about the device, from its blocky form factor to the way it bellowed "DROID"
when turned on, positioned it as the aggressive counterpart to the sleek, curvy
A little less
than two years later, Motorola is rolling out the Droid 3. The latest device
has chucked none of the design or features that made the original so
distinctive: There's the same rectangular design and sliding QWERTY keyboard.
However, the Droid 3 boasts a power upgrade with a dual-core 1GHz processor
backing an Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") operating system. There's also an
8-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture, and a battery rated for nine
hours' continuous talk time.
said, Motorola evidently didn't see much of a point in slimming down the Droid
3, which is only slightly smaller than the original. This bucks the recent
trend toward making smartphones (and tablets) as slim and light as possible.
What else lies
under the hood of the Droid 3? Repair firm iFixit decided to subject the Droid
3 to one of its exhaustive teardowns, and found some additional features hiding
beneath the plastic, including a SIM card that enables the device for global
use (something lacking in earlier Droid versions), a speaker assembly that
"uses pressure contacts to transmit data to both the speaker and antenna,"
offset keys on the smartphone's slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a motherboard
loaded up with a three-axis accelerometer and other components such as a
Qualcomm MDM6600 supporting HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) speeds of
up to 14.4M bps.
That SIM card
is particularly significant. "A lack of SIM cards in earlier Droids severely
hampered international use of Verizon's network," iFixit wrote in its July 18
note accompanying the teardown. "This SIM enables the Droid 3 to be used almost
anywhere in the world." That being said, an informational card included with
the phone notes that roaming data charges, depending on a particular region,
could be stratospheric.
"Yet even with
all the techno upgrades, Motorola paid no attention to the [reparability] of
the Droid 3," the firm's note added. "You still have to take apart the whole
phone in order to access the display and glass, a procedure hampered by Torx
screws and glue that are used to hold everything together." The firm ended up
giving the smartphone a score of a 6 out of 10 on the reparability front,
"having been given some brownie points for an easily replaceable battery and
for a straightforward (albeit time-consuming) disassembly process."
During the teardown, iFixit also noted that,
"Interestingly, a hole through the motherboard allows sound to pass through for
better transmission to the outside of the phone."
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.