Droid to rise up (again)

Verizon and Motorola Mobility are expected to release a new Droid phone this October. But will the five year old Droid brand still appeal to consumers?

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (2011) on left with Motorola Droid (OG Droid, 2009).
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (2011) on left with Motorola Droid (OG Droid, 2009).
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (2011) on left with Motorola Droid (OG Droid, 2009).

Droid. Or, call it Terminator.

Like the relentless robot, the Droid moniker, left for dead time and time again, keeps bouncing right back up again and again.

In the 1984 classic movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said, “I’ll be back.” This could, in fact, be Motorola and Verizon’s new catchphrase for 2014. According to CNET, the two will once again resurrect the much loved Droid brand and release a new phone on Big Red in October.

The news isn’t entirely surprising. Android Authority published last month what it believes to be the specs: Snapdragon 805, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 1440×2560 resolution  screen, Android 4.4.4, 20MP rear camera, 2MP front camera.

If the leaks are true, and the screen does come in at 4.6-inches consider that a slight disappointment – given the penchant for larger screens (iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 4, et. al.) it would be decidedly unDroid-like to give us die-hards anything but the most impressive armament.

When the Droid brand first bowed in 2009, the smartphone world was a very different place. Android was nascent, and the iPhone had only been on the market a few years. Backed by a flashy and memorable “Droid Does” campaign, the Motorola Droid (with slider keyboard no less!) became an instant hit. It was the first phone running Android ready for the masses… recall this was just about the time you could login with a Google account (Gmail address) and–boom!–all your contacts, and email would sync almost instantly. It was near magic.

But today the market for Android devices is mighty crowded. Some stand out based on build quality (HTC One M8), others give customers everything but the kitchen sink… well, even that too (Samsung Galaxy S5), while at least one attempts to appeal to our desire for a personal experience (Moto X).

Is the Droid era bygone?

If indeed Verizon does offer a new Droid (could it be, as some predict, called the Droid Turbo?) it will be interesting to see if consumers gravitate towards a brand that’s: (a) 5 years old; (b) positioned in a very macho/robotic fashion; and (c) facing massive competition from all directions (price, feature set, screen size).

Motorola Mobility appears to realize it needs a trump card.

The DroidLanding Twitter account mentions fast charging. Expect that feature to be the key differentiator. A fast charging phone could be very appealing to those who have 20-30 minutes to charge the phone mid-day before running to the next appointment or meeting. Though it must be said I never recall seeing the Terminator ever plugged in and we know that thing just kept going and going and going…

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