Is This Motorola's iPhone Killer?

The Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone is so good that everyone keeps looking for an iPhone killer. No such gadget has come forth, but Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) has produced the closest thing to it in the Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) Droid. Moto is back again with another Droid model, and this one looks like a real contender.

The Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android platform is currently the only real challenger to the iPhone's user-friendly and application-launching hegemony, as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) won't release the Windows Mobile 7 framework until this fall and enterprise leader Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) is still trying to innovate in the consumer-centric market. According to advertising firm Chitika, the original Droid accounts for about a third of all Android phones in use today, thanks to a massive marketing push from Verizon.

The HTC-produced Droid Incredible is a better phone than the first Droid, hands down, but its sales figures are hamstrung by the decision to use a nifty OLED screen. Those screens are in short supply and high demand, which is great news for OLED technologists, but not so good for HTC and Verizon.

That's where the Droid X comes in. Scheduled to hit store shelves on July 15, the X can do everything the Incredible does -- and more. There's a 1-gigahertz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) inside, driving goodies like an eight-megapixel camera, a cadre of noise-canceling microphones, and an HDMI port for streaming pictures and video to your high-definition TV. Droid X also comes with enterprise-friendly new features such as remote password management and tighter integration with Microsoft Exchange servers. Designed for both corporate and personal use and equipped with a pedestrian LCD screen, this model was designed to move in big volumes.

According to Andy Rubin, Google VP of engineering, 160,000 Android devices are now activated every day. That's up from 100,000 a month ago, when reports surfaced that Android passed the iPhone in terms of U.S. activations. When the Droid X joins the fracas at the same $200 price point as the practically unavailable Droid Incredible and only $50 above the clearly inferior Droid, I expect those activation numbers to make another leap. And don't forget that Motorola is not the only Android partner to release products in a big way this summer: Samsung seems to have reserved some OLED screens for itself in preparation for an oncoming wave of Galaxy S phones.

Motorola has a winner on its hands here, and the glory days of RAZR dominance are coming back if Verizon markets this model as effectively as it pushed the original Droid. The iPhone 4 will outsell the Droid X in any head-to-head comparison, but it stands so alone. Today, I have to explain Android to friends and family in terms of how iPhone-like it is. In a year or two, Android will be so ubiquitous that the explanation might have to go the other way around.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2010, at 5:13 PM, rollzone wrote:

    hello. all the innovative gadgetry platforms on the next big thing, are worthless without better provider services. the every few months unveiling, will never catch up to what is available today; in other global markets. i am baffled by the accepted downgrade in America's personal communicators, with America investing so much in the industry. the phone i want, is not supported by my communications network: not A Terrible & Trumpeter. the "T" one is closest, but not enough compatible for me to jump ship. for my personal preferences, it exceeds "4" phone- so i chose this particular phone months ago, and may never see it released in this country. i am supposed to compromise to a downgrade in America.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2010, at 6:34 PM, johnnykansas wrote:

    At 4.3 in the device is too wide for many to handle comfortably as a phone.

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