But some folks may not know they can preorder the Android 2.1-based, multimedia-focused device now from Best Buy. The retailer said June 25 that consumers can preorder the smartphone, which boasts a 4.3-inch screen and 720p HD video-capture playback, for $199 without the mail-in rebate. Credit Engadget for noticing the news first.
“With the buzz we’ve seen around the Android platform, Best Buy is confident that consumers will be thrilled about the Verizon Droid X by Motorola pre-sale,” said Scott Anderson, senior director of merchandising at Best Buy Mobile.
“It has been a great summer for smartphones with the HTC Evo and iPhone 4 launches, and the addition of the Droid X adds another strong option for our customers to consider.”
A funny thing that Anderson should mention Sprint’s HTC Evo, which many folks are comparing to the Droid X because they share the same operating system and especially the same, fashionably (or unfashionably) large 4.3-inch display.
There are apparently a lot of mixed emotions about the display size, which Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha says is responsible for eating up 60 percent of a smartphone’s battery. Current Analysis’ Avi Greengart, who attended the Droid X launch in New York City June 23, told eWEEK:
“Personally, I find devices with displays smaller than 3.5 inches to be too small, and anything over 4 inches to be too big-in this respect, the 3.7-inch screen on the original Motorola Droid and HTC’s Incredible hit the sweet spot in between. But it really depends on what the user tends to do with the device and how large their hands are.
“Both Motorola’s Droid X and HTC’s Evo 4G do fit in a pants pocket-barely-and provide expanded screen real estate that enhances multimedia, navigation and typing. But both devices give me hand cramps if I hold them as phones for any length of time, and the large form factor just doesn’t work at all for many women with smaller hands.”
Greengart’s position reinforces the Evo and some of the Droid devices as masculine mobile computing machines.
Analysts Discuss Value Proposition of the Droid X
Still, Gartner Research analyst Ken Dulaney said Motorola needed to make the Droid X for competitive reasons versus Apple, particularly the vaunted new iPhone 4, which is currently troubled by antenna issues.
“It’s what Motorola needed to do,” Dulaney said. “They were sorely missing a slate form factor to compete more directly with Apple. It looks pretty good. I like the buttons on the EVO better … not narrow and skinny like the Droid X.”
Dulaney ventures that the Droid X may be what consumers who purchased the original Droid probably really wanted had it been available, adding that it “may stop some of the bleed to AT&T for the iPhone.” Ouch for Android.
Industry analyst Jack Gold noted that the Verizon launch even this week is a poke in the eye to Apple, which launched the iPhone 4 a day later on June 24.
“It basically says, ‘See, we can get some really popular phones to compete with you. You’d better get the iPhone on our network pretty quick.’ Of course, Verizon wins either way.”
So now it seems the hot smartphones for the summer range from the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 to the 4.3-inch Droid X. That’s some serious diversity, which is great for consumer choice.
“One sign that the smartphone market is maturing is that vendors are further segmenting the market,” Greengart said. “There was always a split between the high-end, halo products and lower-priced smartphones, and now we are seeing multiple options in each category.”
Gleacher and Company analyst Mark McKecknie said the new Droid X and Verizon’s corresponding Droid ad campaign will help Motorola’s new Droid X sell 1.2 million units in the third quarter.
Not too shabby, but a drop in the bucket compared with the reported 1.5 million iPhone 4 devices shipped in one day.