Enterprise Mobility: Motorola Droid Bionic Delayed on Verizon 4G LTE Network: The Reasons Why

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-04-29
 
 
 

Motorola Droid Bionic

The Droid Bionic introduced at CES sported a 4.3-inch quarter-high-definition (qHD) screen and an 8 megapixel camera, as well as HDMI connectivity to let users hook up their video and games to large-screen HD televisions in full 1080p.

Motorola Droid Bionic

Bionic Up Close

Here's a live picture of the Bionic from the CES show floor. The device remained tethered so we could only get a passing feel for the device, which we found sleek and speedy on the makeshift Verizon 4G LTE network.

Bionic Up Close

HTC ThunderBolt

The HTC ThunderBolt eWEEK tested in March from Verizon reminded us of the Bionic. In fact, both boast crisp 4.3-inch displays and run Android 2.2, 8 megapixel cameras and HDMI connectivity in 1080p, all at 4G speeds. Perhaps Motorola is concerned about producing essentially the same phone with the same form factor, OS, touch-screen size and the same 4G capabilities from the same carrier. Sure, the Bionic would run MotoBlur to the ThunderBolt's HTC Sense UI, but these gadgets are more or less the same phone. HTC just beat Motorola to market. This is eWEEK's best guess as to why the Bionic has been delayed.

HTC ThunderBolt

Samsung Droid Charge

To add insult to injury, Verizon just unveiled theSamsung Droid Charge for its 4G LTE network. Then eWEEK received its review unit April 28, the same day it was supposed to launch. It looks and feels nothing like the ThunderBolt or Bionic, possessing Samsung's sleek design and Super AMOLED Plus screen. However, the Charge does run Android 2.2 and has an 8 megapixel camera, like the ThunderBolt and Bionic. As with the ThunderBolt, the Bionic would have to compete with another high-end 4G LTE smartphone that beat it to market. Two 4G smartphones from the same carrier is certainly reason enough to make Motorola rethink the Bionic's hardware and software.

Samsung Droid Charge

From Froyo to Gingerbread

Perhaps Motorola will upgrade the Bionic from the Android 2.2 "Froyo" OS to the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" OS to make the phone feel newer and fresh. Currently, only the Samsung Nexus S from Google (unlocked) and T-Mobile (with contract) and Sprint's Nexus S 4G run Gingerbread in the United States. TheNexus S 4G is coming to market May 8.

From Froyo to Gingerbread

Gingerbread and Near Field Communications

If Motorola is indeed swapping Froyo for Gingerbread in the Bionic, we might also conclude that it is adding a NFC (near field communications) chip to provide a differentiator to the ThunderBolt and the Droid Charge. This way, the Bionic would be able to afford consumers the opportunity to scan products with NFC sensors, including paying for goods via the phone.

Gingerbread and Near Field Communications

Battery Issues?

One reader suggested Motorola may be adding a new battery after seeing the power-chomping of the ThunderBolt. On 3G networks, the ThunderBolt's 1400 mAh battery proved sufficient for a day's use, but once the network radio toggled to 4G, it became pedestrian—4 to 5 hours of use at most.

Battery Issues?

The iPhone 5 Looms

Maybe Motorola has the inside scoop on the iPhone 5 and is retooling its Bionic to hew closer to that device, which is expected to accommodate Apple's new cloud computing software and applications. The iPhone 5 may be introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June or in September. The iPhone 5 may look like thismock-up from former Engadget editor Joshua Topolsky.

The iPhone 5 Looms

Motorola Rushing?

We think this comment summed up what happened to the Bionic quite well: "Maybe they did plan to actually produce it, but maybe technology (and competition) is moving so fast that you can't introduce a concept and wait five months to release the production model." That sounds about right. In fact, some might say the same for the Motorola Xoom, which some argued moved too fast to market. Motorola might need to take a look in the mirror at its go-to-market strategy.

Motorola Rushing?

Rocket Fuel