Droid Ultra smartphone expected at next week's Verizon event

Several smartphone unveilings coming, including iPhone 5S

Several smartphone launches are imminent, including next Tuesday's Verizon Wireless event in New York City to unveil what the carrier's calling "the next generation of one of their most popular family of devices."

Other smartphones expected for fall sales include the iPhone 5S, the Moto X from Google, and the LG Optimus 2.

It's a safe bet that Verizon will update the Droid Razr smartphone line running Android, including the Motorola Droid Ultra, which was described as "invulnerable" in a leaked TV ad storyboard first posted on Android Central and since removed.

Various reports indicate the Ultra will have a Gorilla Glass screen and Kevlar for the case, and will launch Aug. 8. Other Droids that Verizon could disclose include a Droid Ultra Maxx and a Droid Ultra Mini, according to Computerworld's JR Raphael and other reports.

The coming Moto X might also be revealed at the Verizon event, analysts said, but other reports suggest it will be unveiled by Google on Aug. 1 or at a Google event planned for July 24.

The Moto X would be the first smartphone produced by Motorola since it was acquired by Google a year ago, and will reportedly run Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) and will have a 4.7-in. 720p touchscreen.

A leaked video from Rogers Wireless and obtained by Mashable, shows the Moto X will have a voice command innovation that allows a user to interact with the phone anytime by speaking, "Ok, Google Now." No touch will be required to initiate the voice command.

Meanwhile, Google on Wednesday sent out invitations to a press event July 24 in San Francisco that reveal no details other than that Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai will host, signaling that some new mobile product or feature could be unveiled.

Pichai, whose formal title is senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps, replaced Google exec Andy Rubin this past March to lead development of the Android mobile operating system.

Industry watchers have awaited a new version of the company's Android software, known as Jelly Bean, in the current version. The latest rumors focus on a fall release of Android 5.0, dubbed Key Lime Pie.

LG also has set an event for Aug. 7 in New York City, where the company is expected to announce the G2, a successor to the Optimus G launched last September.

Qualcomm has already said it is providing the Snapdragon 800 processor to the successor for the LG Optimus G. That 800 chip would have LTE Advanced support and 802.11ac Wi-Fi capability.

While Android phones dominate smartphone sales globally, in the U.S. there is still tremendous attention on when the next iPhone, generally called the iPhone 5S, will appear.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek this week told investors that Apple's manufacturers will begin production of the iPhone 5S later in July. All Things D cites unnamed sources confirming that timeline.

Misek also said Apple is already producing a lower-cost iPhone for fall release priced at $300 to $400 without a carrier subsidy.

Various reports say the iPhone 5S includes a larger battery, an A7 processor and a fingerprint sensor. It will run the new iOS 7, unveiled in June.

Zach Miners, of the IDG News Service, contributed to this report.

This article, Droid Ultra smartphone expected at next week's Verizon event , was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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