NEW YORK-Verizon Wireless, Motorola, Google and Adobe executives held court here June 23 to unveil the Motorola Droid X, a smartphone with an intense focus on bringing consumers strong multimedia capabilities.
Powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP processor and running Google's Android 2.1 operating system, the smartphone features a 4.3-inch screen with WVGA 854-by-480 resolution to let users capture high-definition videos at 720p for playback on HDTV.
Verizon Executive Vice President and CMO John Stratton called attention to the screen:
"When you have a screen and form factor like this-very, very thin, very lightweight-it certainly screams video," Stratton said. "We've taken some special time to bring more video content and video applications to the device."
The black device, which weights 5.47 ounces and measures 5 inches long, 2.6 inches wide and one-quarter inch thick, offers an 8-megapixel camera capable of 1/1,000-second shutter speed. The camera is endowed with auto-focus, touch to focus, panoramic capture and dual LED flash for crisp photo production.
Droid X owners will be able to share the video they shoot with friends with an optional HDMI cable or HDTVs, game consoles or PCs that support the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) technology.
The smartphone, unveiled one day before Apple's similarly multimedia-intensive iPhone 4 launches to the public, comes with 8GB of on-board memory and a preinstalled 16GB memory card. However, it can be expanded to up to 40GB with the addition of a 32GB memory card.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt dropped by to join executives on stage to discuss why the marriage of mobile computing with the cloud is so important.
"There are many, many applications where this is perfect. ... This is not a toy, this is not just an app engine. This is a very, very powerful new kind of an operating system."
He said to make this effective, users need applications and services for multimedia from companies such as Adobe, whose Flash technology has come under fire by Apple and others who believe it is too slow and balky.
The Droid X, which leverages pinch-to-zoom technologies like the Android 2.1 HTC Droid Incredible and HTC Sprint Evo before it, also doubles as a WiFi hot spot, allowing users to power up to five WiFi-capable devices. This costs an additional $20 per month on top of the $29.99 unlimited smartphone plan.
The Droid X also sports several preloaded applications, including a Swype gesture application for using gestures to create and send e-mail messages at up to 50 words per minute, Skype for Mobile, NFL Mobile and a Blockbuster mobile application.
This app will let movie lovers download, rent or buy thousands of videos and TV shows.
Users can actually download movies and TV content from Blockbuster On Demand through V CAST Video via a link icon on the home screen.
Google mobile apps are obviously a standard for this device and include Google' search and search by voice, Google Maps with Street View, Google Latitude, a YouTube widget, and Gmail Google Calendar. Users will be able to browse the Android Market and its 65,000 applications.
Verizon and partners such as Best Buy and RadioShack will sell the Droid X July 15 for $199 with a $100 mail-in rebate and a two-year contract.
Current Verizon Wireless customers who have contracts ending by Dec. 31, 2010, can upgrade to the Droid X without penalty.
Importantly, Droid X users will receive Android 2.2-the Froyo build Google unveiled at Google I/O last month-and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 via an over-the-air update in late summer.
When this upgrade becomes available, business users of the Droid X will be able to access both Microsoft Exchange and Gmail for business. Remote password control and wipe via Exchange server will be available in Android 2.2.