Motorola Delays Droid Bionic Until Summer

Motorola has pushed the launch of the Droid Bionic, its new 4G Android phone for Verizon, to this summer, prompting speculation about the motivations for the delay.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company, which unveiled the device in January and originally promising to put it in Verizon stores by the second quarter, now says it wants to improve the Bionic’s design before its release.

“Based on compelling feedback we are incorporating several enhancements to make this an even better consumer experience,” a Motorola spokeswoman said.

Unconfirmed rumors suggest Motorola may have scrapped the Bionic in favor of another device.

Another possibility is that Motorola wants to wait for the next version of Android, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, which is expected to be a combination of 3.0 Honeycomb and 2.3 Gingerbread. The new OS should arrive this summer and may be reason enough for Motorola to delay the Bionic’s release.

Yet another explanation for Motorola’s delay could be that it wants to groom its offering before letting it loose to tussle with the iPhone 5, which is also slated for arrival later this year. Apple’s current phones, which now sell in Verizon stores, have impacted Motorola’s sales, and it could further threaten the Droid brand.

Motorola could also be waiting for Verizon to improve 4G coverage across the U.S. before it rolls out the 4G-capable Bionic. Verizon has been upgrading their network to include the high-speed coverage, and while many major cities enjoy the enhanced 4G LTE network, smaller markets are stuck on the company’s 3G offering, which is much less impressive.

The Bionic was originally announced with a 1-gigahertz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 4.3-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera.

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