New Droid on the Way to Kick Some iPhone 4 Aspirations

Verizon and Motorola are planning to unveil the next Droid device at a launch event that will take place just a day before eager Apple fans will get their hands on iPhone 4.

Verizon Wireless, Motorola, Google and Adobe will share the stage on June 23rd in New York, with Verizon Wireless Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton, Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin, Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen all scheduled to speak.

Reporters in attendance will get to demo the new Droid immediately afterward, according to the press invitaiton.

No further details were given.

“We’ve not made an announcement on a new Droid,” Brenda Boyd Raney, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, told LinuxInsider. ” We have sent out an invitation to a media event on June 23.”

A 4.3-Inch Screen?

Speculation about the new handset has been running rampant.

“Call it a superphone or a mega-smartphone, but the 4.3-inch handset is absolutely Verizon / Motorola’s answer to the HTC EVO 4G, and makes the Droid Incredible look like a bench warmer,” wrote Engadget’s Joanna Stern on Tuesday.

The Motorola Droid X device is “slightly longer and wider, and it has four physical buttons along the bottom of the screen rather than touch-sensitive ones like those on the EVO,” Stern wrote.

With a 4.3-inch, FWVGA 854 x 480-resolution screen, the handset apparently runs Android 2.1 “with some new sort of Motoblur (perhaps Ninjablur) skin,” she added.

Multitouch Keyboard

However, the screen could be as large as 4.4 inches, if Bianca Bosker’s article on the Huffington Post has it right.

It’s also possible that it’s a Droid 2 device rather than Droid X, Clint Boulton says on eWeek.

An 8-megapixel camera, meanwhile, records 720p video, Engadget’s Stern noted, and though the device preloads Swype, there’s also a multitouch keyboard option — plus a 1 GHz ARMv7 processor and 8 GB of storage space.

1GHz or 2GHz?

It’s possible a 2 GHz processor could be in place, eWeek’s Boulton suggested.

Such a device would be expected to sport a gyroscope, he pointed out, as well as “an Nvidia Tegra-based graphics processor with full Flash 10.1 hardware acceleration.”

‘The High-End Experience’

A big screen and a powerful processor are consistent with the expectations of Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s mobile devices technology and trends team.

As for a price point, “with a two-year contract, we’ve seen a lot of smartphones around US$200, but the ultrapremium phones are scratching the $300 price point,” so a high price tag isn’t out of the question, Llamas told LinuxInsider.

“The Droid is meant to be the high-end experience,” he explained. “I don’t expect them to limit themselves on feature sets.”

‘Potentially a Risk’

A front-facing camera is a feature that’s increasingly seen in high-end handsets, yet it doesn’t appear to be part of the new Droid device, Alex Spektor, wireless analyst with Strategy Analytics, told LinuxInsider.

“That’s potentially a risk,” he noted.

Both the Evo 4G and the iPhone 4 are trying to push video conferencing and chat on mobile, though it hasn’t yet really caught on in United States, Spektor noted.

Then there’s the large screen and HDMI-out functionality, both of which are “expected of high-end handsets today,” Spektor added.

HDMI-out lets users link their phone to a big-screen TV for sharing with others in the room. Phones like the upcoming Nokia N8 will feature such functionality, noted Spektor.

‘I Seriously Doubt This Will Be It’

The big screen is certainly expected, but as for the processor, “Motorola has said something about pushing toward a 2 GHz phone, but I seriously doubt this will be it,” Spektor opined.

“In the next 12 months, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they put it out,” he predicted — “it’s a good way to convince consumers that one product is better than another.”

Still, faster processors have more of a negative impact on battery life, Spektor pointed out, so “I think consumers would rather have a phone that lasts through the day.”

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