Verizon Has Some Droid Tricks Up Its Sleeve

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We've been hearing a lot about the Verizon Droid, a re-branded Motorola Sholes (Sholes is the name of the guy who invented the QWERTY keyboard btw) smartphone that has some pretty insane hardware specs and will be the first smartphone to carry the Google 2.0 (Eclair) Software.

Boy Genius Report even has a review today on the product, and they are positively smitten with it. It has an incredibly pixel-dense 3.7 inch screen which is only slightly bigger than the iPhone's yet has an 854x480 screen. That is nearly three times as many pixels as and iPhone, Pre or previous Androids.

But back when Verizon and Motorola had their press conference a few weeks ago, there wasn't just the Motorola Sholes. There was another Smartphone from HTC at the event. The smartphone in question was thought to be a CDMA version of the HTC Hero. However it turns out to be a slightly different phone called the HTC Eris.

Interestingly, Engadget says this phone will also be called the Droid. The Droid Eris. This also looks like a solid smartphone, though not as high level as the Motorola Sholes-Droid.

From a branding point of view, however, this is a bit of a mess.

Verizon is taking the term Droid (incidentally, this word is owned and licensed by Lucasfilm), and using it as a device name (Sholes) and as another category name (Droid Eris).

Droid is a shortened version of Android, the Google Smarphone OS but it could still cause confustion with other Android phones - even ones from other carriers..

Will there be consumer confusion? You Betcha! If someone tells me they want a Droid, are they asking about the Motorola or the HTC - or they may even mean an Android phone from a different carrier. OR maybe they are talking about some Star Wars character?

But this should not enough to take the shine off of these phones. The"original Droid" (I call it this because it was unveiled a full week ahead of the other Droid -- Eris) is expected to sell well by the only reviewers who have seen it so far, Boy Genius Report. I like their quote at the end:

"So will the Motorola Droid be successful? Absolutely, we think. It will eat in to BlackBerry sales, Windows Mobile sales, and positively murder any lingering Palm Pre sales. It’s that good. Did you notice how Verizon still hasn’t announced the BlackBerry Storm2?"

It is interesting that the Boy Genius doesn't believe Apple should be worried about the Droid launch. From the commercials that Verizon has been throwing up recently, you'd think they were aiming directly at potential iPhone customers:

In any case we should find out soon. The Sholes-Droid is supposed to be unveiled by the begining of November just a week or so before the Eris on November 6.

This story, "Verizon Has Some Droid Tricks Up Its Sleeve" was originally published by Computerworld.

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