Droid 2

Motorola and Verizon have officially announced the Droid 2, the successor to the best selling original Droid. It’s physically the same as the original Droid phone, but with twice the processor power and memory, upgraded software and new features.

It features Android 2.2 (Froyo) with Flash 10.1, the slide-out QWERTY keyboard of the original, a 3.7″ display, 5MP camera, and 8GB of internal storage, supplemented by an 8GB SD card that comes in the box. Motorola also bumped the processor from 600 MHz to 1 GHz, the same speed as the newer Droid X, and doubled the available RAM from the original Droid to 512 MB. It goes on sale tomorrow for $199, after a $100 rebate and a two year contract.

While Android 2.2 and iPhone OS 4.0 have advanced features, the Droid 2 and iPhone 4 are quite different. The $199, 1 Ghz Droid 2, uses an OMAP 3640 processor, has a keyboard and runs Flash 10.1, but lacks a front-facing camera (for video chat) and apparently lacks 720p recording. It has a 3.7-inch screen, can operate as a mobile hotspot (for an addition $20/mo), and works on Verizon’s CDMA network. The $199 iPhone4 has an Apple A4 (ARM Cortex-A8) processor with PowerVR GPU, features a super resolution 3.5-inch screen, advanced 3-axis sensors, records 720p, and works on AT&T’s HSPA data network. Both have 5 MP cameras but neither have HDMI output. “Droids”, of course, use the Android Market while iPhones use Apple’s App Store.

Droid X is Verizon Wireless’s current flagship Android device with a bigger 4.3″ display, HDMI output, and an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording. The “X” uses a touchscreen not a keyboard. Droid X went on sale July 15th, with a similar $199 price, after $100 rebate with a 2 year contract.

Meanwhile, AT&T is about to roll out the Dell Streak this Thursday, August 12, with general availability following a day later. The Dell Streak will cost $299.99 with new two-year AT&T contract, and $549.99 without.

The Dell Streak is an Android-based tablet/phone with 3G connectivity and a 5-inch display. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1GHz processor and features a 5 MP camera, VGA front facing camera, Micro SD slot, removable battery, built-in Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth connectivity options with 2GB of internal storage and Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, street and satellite views. According to Dell, the Streak is SIM-locked to AT&T’s network – even if you buy the $550 model (without a contract).

The tablet ships with Google Android 1.6, but an update should be available soon which will bring the device up to Android 2.2 with support for Adobe Flash. Dell has launched a mobile app store for the Dell Streak, with applications also available via Android Market.

Samsung’s Epic 4G, a variant of the Galaxy S Pro for Sprint, is rumored to be due August 21st. The WiMAX phone supports Sprint’s CDMA network and features a 1 GHz Samsung ARM Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor with a PowerVR GPU, 512 MB of RAM, between 8 and 16 GB of memory, a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED touchscreen, side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera that can record 720p video at 30 fps, WiMAX, WiFi and Bluetooth. Samsung’s 7-inch Android-based tablet, the Galaxy Tab may be available sometime in the third quarter of this year.

UPDATE: Sprint now says the WiMax Epic 4G phone will be available beginning Tuesday, Aug. 31. It will cost $249.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement, after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Powered by Android 2.1, it features a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display with touchscreen gestures like multi-touch pinch, six-axis motion sensing, mobile Hotspot, Wi-Fi b/g/n and 1500 mAh removable battery. Everything Data plans start at $69.99 per month, with a $10/mo premium required for the 3G/4G phone.

According to Marguerite Reardon, AT&T requires customers with “quick messaging” devices to spend $20 a month on top of your voice service for either a texting or a data plan. Verizon requires all newly activated 3G multimedia phones to subscribe to a data plan. You can either sign up for a $9.99, 25 megabyte-per-month data plan for data services, or you can sign up for a $29.99 unlimited data plan. Texting plans are still priced separately.

AT&T’s new mobile phone data plans include a 200MB/month $15 plan with an overage fee of $15 for each additional 200 MB ($75 per GB). On AT&T’s $25 plan (now capped at 2GB/month), you’ll pay $10 for each additional GB. So using 5GB/month on an iPad will now cost $55/month instead of the previous $29.95/month. If you are using the 200MB/month plan, your 5 GB/month would cost close to $75 per 1GB x 5 ($375). Tethering costs an additional $20 per month.

So far, Verizon is sticking with its $29.95 unlimited (5GB) data plan. A $20/month fee for tethering (WiFi & USB) provides up-to 2GB of data, but with an astronomical $50/GB overage fee. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access.

By contrast, Sprint’s mobile hotspot plan costs $29.99 per month, but their overall voice and data costs are lower. Sprint’s HTC EVO ($199) features a 4G connection, video chat with two cameras, and a 4.3-inch display. Smartphones like the HTC Evo and the HTC Desire have started to receive Flash Player 10.1 as part of the Android 2.2 “Froyo” update, according to the Adobe Blog.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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