Droid 2 on pre-sale tomorrow, in Verizon stores Thursday

Update has faster processor, built-in Froyo, bigger keys

Motorola Droid 2 smartphone
The Motorola Droid 2 smartphone

Verizon Wireless announced that pre-sales of the Motorola Droid 2 smartphone start tomorrow online, with in-store sales beginning on Thursday. The Droid 2 sells for $200 after rebate with a two-year contract for voice and data.

The Droid 2 has attracted attention because it has the Android 2.2 mobile operating system, known as Froyo, and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 already built-in. Other recently released Android phones, such as the Droid X, did not have Version 2.2 at launch.

Froyo is seen as important to enterprise users, partly because it supports Exchange and Gmail and push delivery of e-mail. Froyo also supports a corporate directory with global search and widgets that can help differentiate between work and home e-mail. The security features of Froyo allow IT shops to remotely control complex passwords and wipe clean a device through an Exchange server.

Droid X, which went on sale July 15, will have Froyo by early September, Motorola said in a message posted Aug. 5 on a support forum. Both the original Motorola Droid and the HTC Evo 4G got Android 2.2 last week, as noted by Computerworld blogger J.R. Raphael.

While Verizon clearly expects to have supplies of the Droid 2 available on Thursday, it is not clear how long they will last. In late July, several recently launched Android devices could be ordered, but shipments were delayed by two or three weeks, and sometimes longer.

Regarding the upcoming supply of Droid 2 phones, a Verizon spokeswoman said today: "We always order what we feel are adequate numbers of all our devices, but sometimes customer enthusiasm surpasses even our best estimates."

The Droid 2's Froyo-enabled capabilities might be a big draw, but other features that could be more important to users include its 3.7-in. multitouch display and its QWERTY keyboard, which is better than the original Droid's keyboard. Based on Verizon's 360-degree online view, the Droid 2's keys appear to be bigger than those on the original Droid. The overall device is 4.58 in. by 2.38 in. by 0.54 in.

Many other Droid 2 specs are not officially available, but AndroidCommunity found additional information in a Verizon document, including the fact that the new device has a 1-GHz processor, which would offer nearly double the performance the original Droid, which had a 550-MHz chip, according to specs published by Motorola last year.

The Droid 2 also has a 5-megapixel camera, the same as the original.

The original Droid has more internal memory and removable memory than the Droid 2, although in a slightly different configuration. The original has 16GB pre-installed with up to 32GB of removable memory. The Droid 2 has 8GB preloaded, with an 8GB microSD card that can be upgraded to 32GB, for a total of 40GB, which is 8GB less than the original.

A Droid 2 user can pay $20 a month for the ability to make the Droid 2 a 3G mobile hot spot for up to five Wi-Fi devices.

Verizon also said it is adding an R2-D2 version of Droid 2 to honor the Astromech droid in the Star Wars film series. That version will include exclusive Star Wars content and external hardware designed to look like the small, sturdy droid in the films. It will be available only online, starting in September.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smart phones and other handhelds and wireless networking for Computerworld. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to his RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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