Motorola Droid Bionic Delayed as iPhone 5 Looms

Motorola is halting its Droid Bionic on Verizon Wireless' network until the summer, citing the need for "expanded features, functionality and an improved form factor."

Motorola Mobility April 19 confirmed it is delaying the launch of its Droid Bionic 4G smartphone until this summer so it can improve the device's hardware and software.

Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show, in January, the Droid Bionic was to be Motorola's fastest Android 2.2 smartphone to date, powered by a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor and fueled by Verizon Wireless's 4G LTE network.

Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said the phone would launch in the second quarter, but that sentiment was premature, as Motorola told eWEEK it was delaying the device to make some changes that will push it to at least late June.

"Based on compelling feedback since the show, we are incorporating several enhancements to make this an even better consumer experience," Motorola said in a statement. "This includes expanded features, functionality and an improved form factor."

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

While its wonderful to claim there is always room for improvement, it's hard to imagine what improvements Motorola will make on a device that was clearly speedy in limited testing and sported a crisp, clear screen and an iPhone-like feel in the hand.

Possibly, HTC's Thunderbolt, Verizon's first 4G phone that launched March 17 to accolades, gave Motorola some pause, or perhaps the Droid Bionic was too similar to the existing Motorola Atrix 4G on AT&T, which also runs Android 2.2 and offers a qHD screen.

Perhaps Motorola plans to include a near-field communications chip and will run the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system instead of Android 2.2, which will be more than a year old once the Droid Bionic lands.

It could be that Motorola's skittishness is predicated on the rumored iPhone 5, which is expected to be built to accommodate Apple's new cloud computing software and applications.

Depending on what rumor one chooses to believe, the iPhone 5 is coming out in June, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, or in the fall in time for the holiday season. Others believe Apple should wait until 2012 to release the iPhone 5.

Whatever its reason for augmenting the device, Motorola is confident it will be a winner in the 4G-device game. "We believe the Droid Bionic will have those same award-winning features [as previous Droid phones] and will be one of the best 4G LTE devices on the market," Motorola concluded.