Libertyville, Ill. - Motorola is upgrading its original Droid with the launch of the $199 Droid 2, due at
on Aug. 11 and in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores on Aug. 12.
Verizon also expects the device to be available through third-party retailers that carried the original Droid.
The upgraded version adds 3G mobile hot spot capability, an improved slide-out QWERTY keyboard, preinstalled Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification and a processor speed that exceeds the original's 550MHz. The new model's processing speed wasn't disclosed in Motorola's announcement nor on Motorola's website.
In addition, the new model features the Android 2.2 OS, whereas the current Droid features Android 2.1.
The redesigned slide-out keyboard features raised keys. The hot spot feature connects up to five Wi-Fi devices to the Internet via Verizon's CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A network.
A limited-edition R2-D2 version of the Droid 2 will be available in September only on Verizon's website. It will feature exclusive Star Wars content and external hardware designed to look like the trusty Droid from the film saga.
Other Droid 2 enhancements include new enterprise security features, such as remote wipe and password enforcement, for Microsoft Exchange server. Motorola also added Swype technology to accelerate text input on the virtual keyboard; Wi-Fi 802.11n to join 802.11b/g; speech-to-text conversion; and 30 fps video capture, up from 24 fps. Both models feature 30 fps playback. Talktime grows to 575 minutes on the internal 1390mAh lithium-ion battery, up from the original Droid's 385 minutes on a 1400mAh battery, Motorola's website shows.
In another change, the Droid 2 comes with 8GB of embedded memory and included 8GB MicroSD memory card, whereas the original came only with included 16GB memory card. Both models support 32GB MicroSD cards.
Carried-over features include multi-touch 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen, and 5-megapixel camera/camcorder with DVD-quality (720 by 480) video capture. Both models weight 6 ounces.
Current Verizon Wireless customers whose contracts end by Dec. 31, 2010, can upgrade to any smartphone, including the Droid 2, without penalty.