Verizon said it will begin selling the Motorola Droid X, the latest phone with Google’s Android software, on July 15 for $200 with a two-year contract.
The move comes as the three companies attempt to keep pace with Apple, which releases its highly-anticipated iPhone 4 a day after the Droid X hits stores.
“There’s definitely a band forming here today,” said Andy Rubin, head of Google’s mobile business.
Verizon, the largest U.S. carrier, said the Droid X features a large 4.3-inch touch screen display, which promises high-definition video output, and integrate an 8.0-megapixel camera that can also record high-definition videos, which the company hopes will set the phone apart from its competitors.
The device comes with Swype software, which Apple lacks, to make typing on the touch screen keypad faster and more accurate. Users can drag fingers between letters instead of tapping on each one separately. It also has a faster 1-gigahertz processor and ability to create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for five other devices for an additional service cost of $20 a month.
The Droid X runs Android 2.1 software and will get the newest Android software, version 2.2, as well as a version of Motorola’s own customized user interface, called MotoBlur. Unlike the iPhone, the Droid X also comes with Adobe’s Flash Player 10.1 for watching flash videos later this summer. Consumers will be able to purchase and rent movies from Blockbuster to watch on the device. Movies cost $10 to buy and $4 to rent using over Wi-Fi.
“This is going to deliver an unparalleled experience,” said Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s chief executive. “There’s a meaningful amount of traction we can get through the summer period.”
For Jha, the Droid X represents a validation of his strategy to focus Motorola’s resources on high-end devices. The Droid X is the company’s second flagship phone for Verizon since it restructured its struggling handset unit last year. It expects to launch a Droid “superphone,” which has a 2-gigahertz chip, later this year.
“We don’t expect to have that problem with the Droid X,” said John Stratton, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, regarding supply issues affecting the HTC Incredible and iPhone 4 due to a scarcity of displays supplied by Samsung.
Verizon said that customers coming to the end of their contract this year would be able to upgrade to any smartphone, including the Droid X.