Verizon offers Droid 3 for $200 as it ends unlimited data pricing

Device has bigger screen than Droid 2, adds a fifth row of numbers on keyboard

Motorola Droid 3 smartphone
The Motorola Droid 3 smartphone has a five-row qwerty keyboard. (Photo courtesy of Verizon Wireless.)

Verizon Wireless today began selling the new Motorola Droid 3 smartphone on its website for $199.99 with a two-year service plan. In-store sales start July 14.

New wireless subscribers are subject to Verizon's new tiered data service plans, which took effect today. The plans start at $30 a month for 2GB of monthly data usage.

The Droid 3, a slider device, runs the Android 2.3 mobile operating system. It has attracted attention because it boasts a dual-core 1GHz processor with 16GB of internal memory. It also has 26% more pixels on its 4-in. touchscreen than did the 3.7-in. Droid 2, which launched last summer.

The new smartphone has front and rear cameras and features 1080p video capture, according to Verizon's website. The rear camera is an 8-megapixel model, putting it at the upper end of cameras on today's hottest smartphones.

Just a half-inch thick, the Droid 3 is the thinnest slider smartphone on the market, according to Verizon. It is 4.9 in. long, 2.5 in. wide and weighs 5.9 oz. The qwerty keyboard has five rows -- one more than the Droid 2. The fifth row is dedicated to numbers. To give users a sense of the Droid 3's size, Verizon has provided more details on its website, along with photos featuring the device next to a typical man's wallet and sticky notes.

The Droid 3 runs on CDMA and GSM networks for global calling, but it doesn't work on the faster 4G LTE network that Verizon is rolling out in the U.S.

In a statement, Verizon described the Droid 3 as being "enterprise-ready," pointing out that it features both device and SD card encryption and supports the use of complex passwords. Moreover, it's possible to remotely wipe data from both the device and the SD card. Users can view and edit documents and presentations on the Droid 3 with QuickOffice, and they can take part in meetings using Citrix GoToMeeting for Android, and IT shops can use Citrix Receiver for Android to send corporate apps and data to either company- or employee-owned devices.

The Droid 3 has a mobile hotspot feature that gives it the ability to allow as many as five nearby Wi-Fi-ready devices to connect to the Verizon 3G network.

Verizon also rolled out its new tiered data service plans today, after warning customers for nearly a year that it was planning the change. In making the move, the carrier is following the lead of AT&T, which stopped offering unlimited data plans last year.

In its new starting data plan, Verizon charges $30 per month for 2GB of monthly data usage. That replaces a plan through which the carrier offered new subscribers unlimited data usage for $30 per month -- however, Verizon said that existing subscribers will be allowed to keep their unlimited plans.

Verizon's other two data plans are 5GB of monthly data use for $50 per month, and 10GB of monthly data use for $80 per month, with overage charges of $10 for each additional 1GB used in a month.

To help customers monitor data use and avoid overages, Verizon this week said it will begin sending free text message alerts when data usage crosses the 50%, 75%, 90%, 100% and 110% thresholds of a customer's monthly allowance.

Customers can also receive email alerts by registering with My Verizon.

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

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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