Verizon Sells 250,000 Motorola Droid Phones in First Week

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-17

Verizon Wireless and Motorola sold 250,000 units of the Motorola Droid smartphone in its first week, compared to the 1.6 million units iPhone 3GS Apple and AT&T sold in its first week, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry.

Launched Nov. 5 with heaps of hype and a supposed $100 million marketing campaign, the Droid is the No. 1 wireless operator's first device based on Google's Android mobile operating system.

Verizon also launched the Android-based HTC Eris, which lacks a physical keyboard and the turn-by-turn navigation system in the Droid. eWEEK reviewed both devices Nov. 16.  

Before users rush to proclaim that iPhone 3GS trounced the Droid, Flurry noted that Apple launched its handset in eight countries at the same time. The Droid launched in the United States only.

Moreover, Apple's iPhone had an installed base of more than 25 million when the 3GS launched June 19. Of those, more than 6 million were first-generation iPhone users who were expected to upgrade to the 3GS. Flurry's Vice President of Marketing Peter Farago concluded:

"Taken in this context, Droid sales of 250,000 units during its first week from a standing start and in just one country, is a strong result for Motorola and Verizon. Also, by Flurry's measurement Android does have an edge over iPhone app usage, with the average Android session length at four minutes vs. two minutes for iPhone apps."

Flurry used its analytics service to track the usage of more than 10,000 developers' applications on iPhone and Android.

To estimate first week sales totals for the myTouch 3G (which totaled only 60,000 units shipped), Droid and iPhone 3GS, Flurry detected new handsets within its system and then adjusted to account for varying levels of Flurry application use by each handset.

Farago said Verizon's aggressive campaign coupled with its 3G network advantage positions the Droid as a legitimate challenger to the iPhone. "While iPhone continues to dominate the smartphone market overall, each subsequent Android handset launch increases competition for Apple."

Others agree. Om Malik noted:

"If Flurry results are accurate, then Motorola and Verizon have a winner on their hands. This is the fastest-selling Android device to date. It also helps that Motorola and Verizon have budgeted $100 million to promote it. As the gadget makes its way across the world, one can expect sales of Droid to go higher. Motorola predicts it will sell a million units by the end of 2009."

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Mark McKechnie said in a Nov. 17 research note that Motorola should sell another 200,000 Droids by Black Friday and 150,000 to 200,000 during the remainder of the holiday season, bringing the total Droid units shipped to 600,000 Droids for the year.

Meanwhile, Verizon and sole iPhone carrier AT&T continue to slug it out on the legal front in Droid Vs. iPhone ads.

Verizon Wireless responded Nov. 17 to a lawsuit filed by AT&T earlier this month that accused Verizon's marketing campaign of misleading consumers about AT&T's 3G coverage in the United States.

Verizon said AT&T's request to have the ads pulled is meritless, noting that "AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts..."

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