Droid Bionic smartphone goes on sale Thursday for $300

Dual-core processor and Verizon's LTE network make it speedy

The speedy Motorola Droid Bionic smartphone will go on sale from Verizon Wireless for $299.99 on Thursday, the carrier announced Wednesday.

It is Verizon's first dual-core 1 GHz smartphone to run on its fast 4G LTE network, the carrier said. In addition to the phone, Verizon will sell accessories for the Bionic with its 4.3-in. touchscreen display, including an 11.6-in. Lapdock for an additional $299.97.

Motorola Bionic smartphone
The Motorola Bionic smartphone with Lapdock.

Motorola Mobility launched the Lapdock concept at CES in January, showing the ability to use the smartphone's processor to connect to and run the Lapdock. Users would then have a full keyboard and large screen to view videos or edit documents. Coupled with Motorola's Webtop application, the Lapdock and other accessories will launch a full Firefox Web browser.

Bionic also comes with Zumocast, a Motorola app that allows Bionic users to access remote files on a personal or work desktop computer.

While the Bionic is a powerful phone with the latest features, it comes at a premium price. In January, Motorola demonstrated the Lapdock docking feature on the 4-in. Motorola Atrix 4G, now being sold by AT&T for $99.99.

Sprint also sells the Motorola smartphone-Lapdock combination with the Motorola Photon 4G, an angular-shaped phone with a 4.3-in. display that sells for $199.99. A Motorola spokeswoman confirmed that the Lapdock is the same concept but somewhat different for each of the three phones.

The Bionic is the last of the three in the same concept line to appear, but delays in getting it out the door only seem to have bolstered interest among Android fans. Verizon originally said it would launch by the end of June. Motorola said in April it would launch in the summer after taking time to make a hardware and software redesign.

Early reviews have remarked on Bionic's higher price and somewhat disappointing display. The display is Quarter High Definition, or 960 x 540 pixels.

What may matter most to cutting edge users is that the Bionic is the only 4G LTE smartphone on Verizon that has a dual-core 1 GHz processor. Where available, LTE is giving customers 5 Mbps to 12Mbps download speeds and 2Mbps to 5 Mbps upload speeds.

It is also the slimmest LTE phone on Verizon, measuring 5 in. by 2.63 by 0.43 in. It weighs 5.6 oz.

Bionic also runs the latest version Android 2.3.4, while the Atrix first appeared on Android 2.2, now upgradeable to 2.3. The Bionic supports 32GB of storage with both internal and a pre-installed external 16GB microSD card.

It also has two cameras, one front-facing for video chat, and an 8-megapixel rear camera that puts it in line with the latest smartphones. It also supports 1080p HD video.

In addition to the Lapdock for nearly $300, Verizon will offer a smaller dock for $40 with ports, but without the Lapdock's display and keyboard; a vehicle navigation dock for $40; and an HD station for $100 for connecting to an HD monitor.

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 e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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