The HTC Droid Incredible is now available on the Verizon Wireless network.
Prescient shoppers who took advantage of Verizon’s offer to preorder the smartphone may be doubly pleased with themselves today – according to the Verizon site, shoppers who buy the device online today shouldn’t expect it to ship until May 4, “due to high demand.”
Retailing at a subsidized rate of $199, after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract – sans contract, you’re looking at $529.99 – the Incredible is expected to make quite an impact.
“The Incredible is likely to have the biggest impact on Google’s nascent foray into retailing; consumers will have absolutely no reason to buy the upcoming Verizon Wireless-specific version of the Nexus One when the Incredible is available at retail,” wrote Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart in his April 20 report, “HTC’s Droid Incredible Lives Up to Its Name at Verizon Wireless.”
Greengart additionally expects the Incredible to impact specific competitors at Verizon (sorry, Palm Pre) and writes that it “kills the rationale for the Verizon Wireless version of the Nexus One.” AT&T’s iPhone is expected to feel little impact, however, and neither will it spoil Sprint’s launch of the HTC EVO 4G.
The Incredible runs Google’s Android 2.1 operating system, features a 3.7-inch WVGA (480 by 800) AMOLED capacitive touch screen and includes the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. WiFi connectivity and an 8-megapixel camera are included, it ships with the latest version of HTC Sense and Incredible users will have access to several exclusive Verizon apps, including Skype mobile VOIP (voice over IP), for unlimited Skype-to-Skype calling and instant messaging.
There’s also Bluetooth 2.1, 8GB of internal memory, a full HTML browser with Flash Lite 4.0, easy access to the growing Android Market app store and tight integration with Google apps such as Google Maps with Integration, Gmail and Google Talk, as well as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
More than a list of impressive specs, however, there’s said to be a compelling usability about the Incredible that might see it outselling Verizon’s last Android hit, the Motorola Droid.
“While we have seen these components used before, the Droid Incredible is more than the sum of its parts, and those parts have clearly been optimized for speed,” wrote Greengart. “Apps launch instantly and the device can handle multiple apps running in the background without any noticeable hitches.”
Analyst Charles King, with Pund-IT, told eWEEK, “People I’ve spoken with who’ve used the Droid Incredible say it’s the first phone … that truly leaves the iPhone in the dust.”
Other early reviewers have called it the best Android device for sale today, and the sharpest-looking smartphone in Verizon’s inventory.
During Verizon’s first-quarter earnings call April 21, executives reported that even more Motorola Droids had been sold during the generally slow first quarter of 2010 than during the holiday-driven fourth quarter of 2009. Pointing to customer demand for mobility and the enormous response to the Android OS, executives seemed poised to round the bases on another homerun.
“The Android operating system continues to do very well,” Verizon CFO John Killian said during the earnings call. “You’re going to hear a lot more about that in the coming months, particularly with an important launch for upcoming up shortly, with the HTC Incredible – which the early reviews of have been extremely positive.”
While, for now, the Incredible doesn’t have to compete with the iPhone on the AT&T network, should the time come, it might just be a fair fight.
“The Droid Incredible competes head on with the iPhone in browsing and overall speed, and exceeds it in areas such as social networking, screen resolution and camera resolution,” wrote Greengart, “but it still trails the iPhone significantly in terms of apps, accessories ecosystem and content infrastructure. The iPhone also has a simpler user interface.”