Phone Fight: Verizon Readies Motorola Droid X

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New York - Verizon Wireless plans to give the iPhone 4 a run for its money with the July 15 launch of the Motorola-made Droid X at $199 (after $100 rebate) and a relaxed upgrade policy for current Verizon subscribers.

 

The Droid X is the carrier's first Droid with HD video capture (720p), HDMI output, Blockbuster video-download service, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certification and embedded mobile Wi-Fi hot spot.

For the launch, the company didn't implement a tiered data plan, opting to continue requiring a $29.99/month unlimited-data plan for the Droid X and other smartphones.

The full-touchscreen Android 2.1 device, which is only 0.39 inches thick,  features 16:9 4.3-inch WVGA 480 by 854 multitouch display, 1GHz processor, 8GB embedded memory, included 16GB card and memory expansion to a total 40GB via 32GB MicroSD card.

An upgrade to the Android 2.2 OS will be available in late summer, and a mobile version of Flash 10.1 to stream Internet video will be available in the next several weeks for downloading.

The device will be available through Verizon's direct and indirect channels on July 15, said Verizon Wireless EVP/CMO John Stratton.

To encourage a swift uptake of the device, the carrier will let current Verizon subscribers whose contract is up in 2010 to buy the Droid X at $199 or any other smartphone at the new-subscriber price. Verizon normally requires subscribers to pay full price for a smartphone if they want to upgrade before their contract is up, a spokesperson said.

The Blockbuster app that will ship with the phone lets users sign up for a Blockbuster On Demand account to buy movies and TV shows. Via Wi-Fi, users could download the movies for local storage on their Droid X. Purchased movies will be viewable on the phone or on other devices, such as compatible mobile devices and TVs, equipped with Blockbuster service. Rented movies can be viewed on only one screen.

The Droid X will be Verizon's second Motorola-made Droid with Motoblur service, which aggregates and pushes all of a user's work and personal emails; text messages; and social-network posts, messages, photos and the like to the home screen for easy management.

Other features include 8-megapixel camera/camcorder, preloaded Swype technology to enable continuous finger motion across the virtual keyboard, diversity antennas, and separate front and back microphones. One microphone captures audio while the user takes videos. A third microphone is used for cancelling out background noise.

The included 1540mAh battery delivers eight hours of talk time, and a planned optional 1930mAh battery adds 1mm in depth.

The embedded Wi-Fi hot spot will connect up to five other mobile devices simultaneously to the Internet, but the capability will cost an extra $20/month with a cap of 2GB of data usage. Overages will cost 5 cents per MB.

Apple's iPhone 4 lacks Wi-Fi hot spot but enables Bluetooth tethering to a single mobile computing device at a time.

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