Droid Pro, Citrus Join Motorola Android Lineup

A push of six Android smartphones, including the Android-running Droid Pro and Citrus, comes as Motorola prepares to spin off its handset business.

Motorola introduced two new Android-running smartphones for the Verizon Wireless network Oct. 5. The Droid Pro, the first Android phone specifically for business users, will arrive in the coming weeks, while the Citrus, an entry-level consumer handset, will arrive later in the quarter.

Motorola introduced the phones at the CTIA Wireless trade show in San Francisco, the same day that AT&T announced it will soon be offering three new Motorola handsets, the Flipout, the Bravo and the Flipside, which run Android 2.1 and the latest version of Motorola's user interface, Motoblur.

Motorola's big Android push comes as its executives prepare to separate its handset business from the rest of the company, a move first announced in 2008. At the CTIA event, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said the spinoff was "looking good for the first quarter, the early part of the first quarter," Bloomberg reported in Business Week Oct. 6. Jha added that the growing popularity of Android handsets was creating an innovation race.

"It's a good thing for consumers and for carriers," Jha said, according to Bloomberg.

If most Android handsets are designed to compete with the Apple iPhone, the Droid Pro is a more direct threat to Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones. The Motorola device features a 3.1-inch multitouch display, a four-row QWERTY keypad, a full HTML browser with Adobe Flash Player 10.1, the Android 2.2 operating system, a 1GHz processor and 4GB of memory.

A global phone, it offers data coverage in more than 200 countries, and in addition to 3G offers WiFi-enabled DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) connectivity. With the enterprise in mind, it features support for Gmail and Exchange e-mail, comes preloaded with the Quickoffice Mobile Suite, and allows the user to view, edit and share Microsoft documents. Security features include AuthenTec IPSec multiheaded VPN integration with remote-wipe capabilities and complex password support. Encryption for SD cards will be available in 2011.

The Droid Pro also contains a 5-megapixel camera, and can act as a Verizon 3G Mobile Hotspot for up to five other WiFi-enabled devices.

"The Droid Pro is an advanced business-ready solution that provides users with the full smartphone experience, redefined by delivering the power of a Droid," Jha said in a statement. "The Droid Pro consolidates users' work and personal needs. This is just another reason the Droid Pro is setting a new standard for [the] enterprise, allowing users to enjoy all the benefits of a smartphone with full push delivery of corporate e-mail and corporate-level security."

The consumer-geared Citrus runs Android 2.1 and relies on an on-screen QWERTY keypad. However, the full-capacitive touch screen offers flick, swipe and pinch-to-zoom navigation, and on the back of the phone is a touch panel, called BackTrack, that offers the alternate option of navigating without obstructing the display-which seems ideal for showing off photos.

Citrus' seven home screen panels can be customized with applications and widgets, and the device comes preloaded with Microsoft's Bing Search and Bing Maps, in addition to Google services such as Google Talk and Gmail. To boot, it's made of 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and arrives in 80-percent post-consumer recycled packaging.

Motorola also introduced the Android-running Spice smartphone, announced without a carrier partner. Another lower-cost, entry-level handset, it features a touch screen with multitouch support, BackTrack on the flip side and Motorola's Flashback application, which lets users view and manage all their content from a single application.

Motorola did not give prices for the phones, saying such details would arrive closer to the handsets' launch dates.