3 new Motorola Droids -- and a Moto X in sight

With all eyes -- or, at least, all tech geek eyes -- looking ahead to Moto X, the first phone that has been manufactured under the auspices of Motorola Mobile/Google, Verizon has just introduced three new Motorola phones under relatively modest circumstances.

They seem like fine phones.

The three new 4G LTE phones will be available starting August 20th and include: the 4.3-in. Droid Mini ($99), the 5-in. Droid Ultra ($199) and the 5-in. Droid Maxx ($299). (All prices are for two-year contracts.)

The three phones have a lot in common, including the software and much of the hardware. They will offer a 1.7GHz dual-core processor along with what Motorola calls its X8 mobile computing system, which will be made up of two application processor cores, four graphics processor cores, one contextual computing processor core and one natural language processor core. All three will offer 720 x 1280 HD AMOLED displays using Gorilla glass. All three include a 10-megapixel outward-facing camera and a 3-megapixel forward-facing camera. All have 2GB of RAM; while the Mini and Ultra have 16GB of storage, the Maxx will have 32GB.

Other differences? The Droid Mini's difference is obvious: a smaller screen and a lower price. The Droid Ultra (which will be available in both red and black casing) is what Verizon reps described as the thinnest 4G LTE phone available at .28-in. The Droid Maxx will include a 3500mAh battery that will, according to the company, offer 48 hours of use.

Besides Android 4.2.2, there are a number of additions that Motorola is including. For example, Touchless Control is supposed to allow you to have access to Google Now commands without having to actually hold the phone to wake it up (so that you can, for example, use the phone in a car without handling it). The Verizon rep who was demonstrating it at the introductory event today couldn't make it work because of the ambient noise (I couldn't help wondering if the ambient noise in a small car on a highway would be all that much better. But be that as it may…)

Other software add-ons include Quick Capture, which lets you immediately launch a camera and take a photo by touching the screen; Active Display, which lights up just a portion of the screen to reveal info without disturbing others; and Droid Zap, which will let you share photos and videos with anyone within 300 feet. (Currently, it's only available to Droid owners, but it should be eventually available to other Android phones via a Google Play app.)

I was able to briefly handle the phones, and of the three, I preferred the Droid Maxx which, while it was heavier than the lightweight 4.9-oz. Ultra, felt more substantial; I also liked its Kevlar body, which wasn't as slick as the others and so felt less likely to eventually land on the pavement.

The phones are now available for pre-order. Whether customers will want to pre-order before they find out what the upcoming Moto X is about is another question; no matter how nice these look, there is too much excitement surrounding the Moto X to encourage technophiles to jump into the Droid camp just yet.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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