Phones

Verizon Droid's Secret Weapon: Android 2.0

The Verizon Droid is coming. You have probably seen the clever ‘iDon't' ad campaign attacking the iPhone and ending with an ominous, you-will-be-assimilated sort of message. They left something off of the ‘iDon't' list: ‘iDon't integrate well with business tools and networks.'

Actually, Verizon did sort of put that on the iDon't list, just not in those words. The original iDon't list includes both ‘iDon't allow open development' and ‘iDon't customize', both of which imply that the Droid does those things which means the Droid provides a customizable, open development platform that business customers can work with.

The Droid, which is Verizon's rebranded version of the Motorola Sholes device, is slated to be the first of the Android 2.0 generation. Rumors suggest that the cryptic alien message on the Verizon Droid site can be decoded to say the Droid will be coming on October 30. Verizon is officially unveiling details about the Droid today.

According to the leaked specifications, the Droid may very well live up to the iPhone killer hype. The 3.7 inch, capacitive display has significantly higher resolution than the iPhone. The Droid has a fast processor, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 5 megapixel camera with zoom and flash. It sounds like it has the features and functions to go where previous iPhone killers like the Pre have failed.

But, from a business perspective the most impressive feature of the slick new device may be the operating system. Lots of phones have cameras, or GPS, or Wi-Fi networking, but not many are as open to custom development as devices built on Google's open source Android operating system. And, no other device yet is built on the latest Android 2.0 operating system.

Not only does the open source nature of the operating system allow for easier development and customization, but it also results in a much faster development timeframe for the operating system itself. While platforms like the iPhone and Windows Mobile take a year or more to roll out new versions, Android has gone from Cupcake to Donut (SDK 1.6) and now to Éclair (SDK 2.0). The public collaborative nature of open source projects allows for faster development.

The success of the device though is a combination of the operating system and the hardware. There are plenty of other Android-based devices, including the Motorola Cliq and the Samsung Behold II. They are also very capable, but they don't have the impressive hardware specs of the Droid and they aren't available from the number one wireless service provider in the United States.

The iDon't ad campaign and the rumors circulating around the Droid are starting to sound like the ‘Bo knows' ad campaign Nike ran back in the 80's, or the ridiculous urban legend stories attributed to Chuck Norris, or that Dos Equis beer guy.

Unlike Chuck Norris though, the Droid may actually be able to live up to the hype and rumors. At the very least, it provides corporate customers with a feature-filled device on par with the iPhone, but with the added benefit of being open and customizable so it can integrate with business.

Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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