Things to Ponder Before You Buy the Motorola-Verizon Droid

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-05 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Verizon Wireless stores are opening as early as 7 a.m. local time Nov. 6 to begin selling the Motorola Droid, which is targeting Apple's iPhone with a killer ad campaign and offering Google Maps Navigation GPS and other perks such a 5 megapixel camera. The smartphone is $199 after a mail-in rebate. Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital says the mobile device requires a minimum $70 monthly service plan for two years, excluding text messaging. Gearlog has more on the service plans, noting that if you want to connect Droid to a Microsoft Exchange account, it will cost $30. Also, Verizon Wireless will enable Droid users to tether their smartphones to their laptops in 2010.

Many Droid watchers have seen the stats about the Motorola Droid smartphone that Verizon Wireless will begin selling Nov. 6 for $199 after a mail-in rebate (there is an instant rebate if you order from Best Buy).

But you may not know that some Verizon Wireless stores are opening as early as 7 a.m. local time to begin selling the device, which is targeting Apple's iPhone with a killer ad campaign and offering Google Maps Navigation GPS and other perks such a 5 megapixel camera.

That's some stores, not all. For example, when eWEEK called to check on early Verizon Wireless openings in Fairfield County, Conn., we found that Verizon stores in malls opened at their regularly scheduled time. If you want to get in early, the best bet is to line up at the stand-alone stores. We think 6 a.m. sounds about right. No kidding.

You may also have seen the overall positive reviews from Walt Mossberg (paywall warning) and David Pogue in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, respectively. Pogue pitted the Droid and iPhone head to head, noting:

"The Droid wins on phone network, customizability, GPS navigation, speaker, physical keyboard, removable battery and openness (free operating system, mostly uncensored app store). The iPhone wins on simplicity, refinement, thinness, design, Web browsing, music/video synching with your computer, accessory ecosystem and quality/quantity of the app store."

Mossberg meanwhile summed up what was on many people's minds about the subscription costs you incur with the Droid after the rebate; the device requires a minimum $70 monthly service plan for two years, excluding text messaging. See BillShrink's calculations of smartphone costs for the Droid, iPhone and Palm Pre.

But gadget blogs are ground zero for all of the new, hot Droid action. Sascha Segan for Gearlog has more on the service plans, asserting that it will cost $30 per month to connect to a Microsoft Exchange account, instead of $45 as some reported. Segan, who checked with Verizon Wireless, noted: 

"There is no special Droid data plan. Second, whether you pay $30 or $45 doesn't depend on what you're doing with the phone. You can hit Exchange email on the $30 plan just fine. It depends on what kind of Verizon Wireless account you have. If you have a personal account or family plan, your data will cost $30/month. It doesn't matter if you're using Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, Gmail, or whatever - it's $30."

However, data on business accounts costs $45 per month. These nuggets are important for corporate road warriors considering the Droid.

Beginning in 2010-not tomorrow when the Droid lands-Verizon Wireless will enable the Droid to be used as a modem to access the Internet on a laptop through Verizon's 3G wireless EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) service, Cnet learned. 

This could be a big boost for the Droid over the iPhone, which does not tether to Macs. Tethering will be a crucial component of Verizon's Broadband Access Connect plan. Segan over at Gearlog said users should expect this plan to add $15 a month to the Droid service plan.

Finally, and this is key in case you Verizon users are planning to jump ship to AT&T for the iPhone: Starting Nov. 15, Verizon will be charging up to $350 as an early termination fee for "advanced devices," according to the Boy Genius Report.  

However, in a twist, Verizon will reward users for the time they do spend with the wireless carrier by shaving $10 off of the termination fee for every month they remain a customer. No doubt the Droid, which Pogue put in its own category by calling it an "app phone," constitutes an advanced device.

Finally, in case you can't get enough of the Droid hype, see the new Droid stealth commercial here. Now: Who is lining up tomorrow to purchase this phone?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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