Verizon, the largest wireless 3G network provider in the United States, announced that Motorola's new phone, the Motorola Droid, will be on sale starting Nov. 6.
Motorola Droid is the first smartphone with Google's Android 2.0 platform, a new version of the Google’s operating system and platform for mobile devices.
Motorola Droid will be available from Verizon Wireless for $199.99 with a new two-year contract and a $100 mail-in rebate. The voice plans start at $39.99 for 450 minutes per month, while a data plan for monthly Internet access costs $29.99.
The flagship Android 2.0 device is a "side slider" – where the keyboard slides out from the main frame – with a full-QUERTY keyboard. The Motorola Droid also features a 3.7-inch touch display with a resolution of 854×480 pixels.
The phone comes with an in-built 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, autofocus and image stabilization built in. The phone can also record video at 720×480 resolution with 24fps and playback at 30fps.
Motorola's Droid features heavily rely on Google's Android 2.0, an operating system tightly coupled with other Google services like search with voice-recognition, Gmail, or Google Maps.
The Droid is location-aware and is the first one featuring the beta of Google's new Maps Navigation, providing turn-by-turn voice guidance. Google had announced Maps Navigation for mobile phones today, coinciding with the Motorola Droid announcement.
The Droid aims to directly compete with the iPhone, as hinted in Verizon's "Droid Does" ad which lists all the main iPhone weaknesses such as lack of multitasking, no hardware keyboard or the closed development application platform.
On the downside, the number of Android-based applications is still relatively sparse compared to Apple's App Store, which now has close to 100,000 third-party applications.
Industry experts say that the Google’s GPS feature which is now being offered for free on the Android 2.0 might spur portable GPS navigation manufacturers like Garmin or TomTom to provide better products.