Ladies and gentlemen, the newest Droid has officially landed.
Verizon's Motorola Droid X launched across America on Thursday. The Droid X is among the most powerful Android phones to date, with a 4.3-inch display, 1GHz processor, and 720p high-resolution video recording. Plus, it's expected to receive Google's Android 2.2 upgrade within a matter of weeks, making it one of the first handsets to run the long-awaited Froyo operating system.
Thanks to Android's open ecosystem, the Droid X has countless options for customization -- a night and day change from a certain other popular smartphone platform. Much of the muscle comes from the ever-expanding Android Market, which features an uncensored and ever-expanding array of programs that let you make the most of your Android experience.
Here are 12 top-notch Droid X apps to help you get started. If this is your first Android phone, you may also want to check out my beginner's guide to getting around Android. And once you're ready to explore even further, this list of 40 Android tips and tricks should come in handy, too.
All right -- ready to begin?
Droid X App #1: Google Goggles
One of the most innovative apps available for the Droid X is Google's own Google Goggles. Google Goggles, a free download in the Android Market, lets you get information about objects simply by pointing your phone at them. It can recognize landmarks, logos, artwork, businesses, and all sorts of different products.
Once you snap an image, Goggles scans and identifies it. Seconds later, it brings you detailed information about the object along with pages of relevant Web results.
When you're using the Goggles Android app to learn about a business, the program combines GPS and compass data to deliver live augmented-reality-style results. That means you can just point your phone at a building, and your phone will display the name of the business along with links to contact information and customer reviews.
Pretty cool, eh?
Droid X App #2: ShopSavvy
For on-the-fly product comparisons, the ShopSavvy Android app is tough to beat.
With ShopSavvy, available for free in the Android Market, you can quickly scan any barcode and see how much other stores -- both online and in your area -- are charging for the item. You can also check out user reviews, making this app a must-have for any tech-oriented shopping trip.
(In case you're wondering: Yes, you do get funny looks from other customers. And yes, it's definitely worth it.)
Droid X App #3: WaveSecure
While you're loading up your new Droid X with apps, music, and data, why not take a moment to protect yourself in case the phone's ever lost or stolen?
WaveSecure may be one of the most important Android apps you'll ever install. If your Droid X is missing, WaveSecure's Web site lets you remotely activate the phone's GPS system and pinpoint its exact location. If it turns out the phone's fallen into the wrong hands, one more click will remotely wipe all of your personal data from the device. And if the thief tries to swap out the SIM card, WaveSecure will automatically lock the phone down.
The WaveSecure app itself is free, but in order to use the service beyond its seven-day trial period, you'll need to pay an annual subscription fee of about $20 a year.
(Note: I've previously recommended another security-oriented Android app called Mobile Defense. It has similar functionality, but unfortunately, its developers have temporarily returned to a closed beta model and suspended all new registrations while they prepare for their next release.)
Droid X App #4: MyBackup Pro
WaveSecure can back up and restore some of your phone's data, but for an even more robust backup option, an Android app called MyBackup Pro is well worth grabbing.
MyBackup Pro, currently $4.99 in the Android Market, can back up practically everything on your phone: contacts, call logs, bookmarks, text messages, system settings, and files from all the other apps you've downloaded. MyBackup Pro can even back up your Android home screens, so if your phone's ever lost or damaged, you can restore your custom setup in seconds.
MyBackup Pro lets you schedule regular automated backups of whatever data you want to either your phone's SD card or the company's secure online servers. With the latter option, you can restore all of your information to any Android phone -- be it your current Droid X or another device -- anytime.
Droid X App #5: Google Sky Map
Google calls its Google Sky Map for Android app a "mobile planetarium," and that's no exaggeration.
Google Sky Map, a free download from the Android Market, uses a combination of GPS data, compass data, and time and date information to help you identify planets, stars, and constellations through your phone's screen. It's like looking into space through a magic telescope.
Google Sky Map can search for specific planets and stars, too: You just type the object's name, and the app will direct you to its current location.