Hands On

Why the Droid X Won't Trump the iPhone


Apple's (AAPL) new-product launches tend to overshadow any company that dares to unveil a gadget around the same time. That's what happened to Motorola (MOT) and Verizon Wireless, whose Droid X was introduced the same week the iPhone 4 went on sale.

The Droid X is the successor to last year's original Droid. That phone began Motorola's comeback effort after the former wireless king, whose fortunes tumbled when it couldn't create a successor to its hit Razr, scrapped development of its own operating system in favor of Google's Android. The Droid X, which goes on sale July 15, has a few advantages over the iPhone. The 4.3-inch screen, the largest I've ever used, is nearly 25 percent bigger than the iPhone's. Yet the Droid X is lighter and thinner than its predecessor because Motorola jettisoned a physical keyboard in favor of an onscreen one. It can also do something cool that the iPhone can't: provide a Wi-Fi signal for nearby devices. The Mobile Hotspot feature costs $20 for up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, on top of the cost of the phone—$199 after a $100 rebate—and voice and data plans that start at $75.

The Droid X's biggest advantage is that it runs on Verizon Wireless, which is superior to the AT&T (T) network that the iPhone is—at least for now—tethered to. This summer, an over-the-air upgrade will allow the Droid X to run videos using Adobe's (ADBE) Flash software, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs has famously banished from the iPhone. Still, while the Droid X does a lot of things well, it does no one thing well enough to conquer the mighty iPhone.

(Click here for the complete version of the story.)



CELL BY DATE

Motorola's biggest moments

DynaTAC 8000X (1983) - The first commercial portable phone—a Gordon Gekko favorite— weighed 2 pounds.

MicroTAC (1989) - The lightest, smallest phone of the 1980s weighed 12.3 ounces and measured more than 9 inches in length.

StarTAC (1996) - This "clamshell" model introduced the pocket-size cell phone—at an introductory cost of $1,000.

MOTORAZR V3 (2004) - Phone or fashion accessory? The Razr became a status symbol in the hands of Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Kate Moss.

Jaroslovsky is a technology columnist and reviewer for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek.

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