Verizon Wireless' Motorola Droid, the smartphone based on Google's Android operating system that some experts said could slow Apple's rising iPhone star, is coming to Best Buy with an instant $100 rebate.
Best Buy's mobile specialty retail unit said it will begin pre-selling the Droid October 29, which is set to arrive in stores Nov. 6. Like Verizon, Best Buy Mobile will sell the device for $199 with a two-year contract.
However, Verizon stores will charge customers $299 upfront, with a $100 rebate offering that must be mailed in. These can take awhile to process and several weeks typically pass before users receive their rebate check.
Best Buy Mobile is offering the rebate for the smartphone "at the point of purchase" in the store so that customers don't have to mail-in their request to get cash back. Users must go to the mobile section in Best Buy and tell customer service workers they want to pre-order the Droid.
"Bringing the Droid to Best Buy Mobile expands our already unmatched assortment of smartphones allowing customers to compare high-end devices like the iPhone 3GS, HTC Hero and Droid all under one roof," said Best Buy Mobile President Shawn Score in a statement. "The fact that customers can purchase the phone first at Best Buy through the pre-sell is an added bonus."
Thanksgiving and Black Friday are right around the corner and customers will certainly be looking at the Droid as a potential gift for family members, significant others or even friends. Best Buy's move is a nice perk that could lure consumers to buy from them instead of Verizon as we hurdle toward the holiday season.
After a lot of hype leading up to the announcement, many reviewers are saying the Droid is not the iPhone slayer it was purpoted to be.
Moreover, Google dropped jaws Oct. 28 by announcing that it is releasing a Google Maps Navigation GPS application for Android 2.0 devices, such as the Droid. The application provides turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps. Pictures of how the application looks can be viewed here.
Lost in the hullaballoo that this could crush GPS purveyors Garmin and TomTom was that the GPS app was a true differentiator from anything on the iPhone -- that is, until Google offers Maps Navigation on the iPhone.
While some might question why Google would cede a competitive distinction to its smartphone rival, it's important to look at the bigger picture. Google isn't looking to dominate the smartphone market. It is looking to dominate the mobile ad market on top of smartphones.
The more applications it manages to get on the most popular smartphone -- the iPhone comprises 13 percent of the smartphone market and rising -- the greater the chance it has for serving online ads to the smartphone users.