Battle of the smart phones

Verizon
Wireless unveiled the latest addition to its a successful line of Droid smart
phones preempting Apple’s eagerly anticipated iPhone 4 launch by a day.

The
new Motorola Droid X, available exclusively on Verizon’s network, will have all
the bells and whistles: a 4.3-inch display, HDMI output, 720p high-definition
video capture, an 8 megapixel camera, a 1 GHz processor and three microphones
to help with noise cancellation and call quality.

The
phone can also store an enormous stash of videos, photos and music. It comes
with 8 gigabytes of installed memory plus an SD card featuring 16 GB of
expandable memory, which can be upgraded to 40 GB. All of that comes in a phone
less than half an inch thick.

The
Droid X is scheduled for 15 July release, and will cost $200 with a new
two-year contract.

The
Droid X is one of the first phones to take advantage of a cool new feature in
Google’s latest Android operating system update: The phone can become a Wi-Fi
hotspot for up to five devices. That add-on will cost customers an extra $20 a
month for up to 2 GB of data transmission. Each additional megabyte will cost 5
cents.

The
new Droid is part of Verizon’s attempt to outflank chief rival AT&T- the
iPhone’s exclusive carrier — by taking advantage of the surging popularity of
Google’sAndroid mobile operating system to create a distinctive smart phone
brand within Verizon.

Android
is a hot wave to ride. Phones running Google’s mobile OS outsold iPhones in the
first quarter, according to research group NPD. In the first three months of
the year, 28 per cent of U.S. smart phones sales were of Android phones,
compared to 21 per cent for Apple. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion
continued to hold the lead, with 36 per cent of overall sales.

Though
the Android OS may not resonate with most mainstream consumers, Verizon’s $100
million Droid marketing campaign has helped establish its Droids as serious
iPhone competitors.