Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Motorola Announces Droid 4, Droid RAZR MAXX on Verizon Wireless

LAS VEGAS—At CES 2012, Motorola and Verizon Wireless have launched the Motorola Droid 4 and the Droid RAZR MAXX, two 4G LTE-powered smartphones for Verizon’s network.

The two companies are billing the Droid 4 as the thinnest 4G LTE QWERTY smartphone on the market—4G LTE and QWERTY being two things that usually lead to thicker phones. The Droid 4 measures 5 by 2.7 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.3 ounces. That’s no Droid RAZR, but it’ll certainly do given what’s under the hood. The new version looks a little softer and classier than the Droid 3. In addition to the five-row physical keyboard, which features sharp-looking, edge-lit keys, the Droid 4 also includes a 1.2GHz dual-core processor (bumped from the Droid 3′s 1GHz)and 1GB RAM.

The 4-inch qHD (540-by-960-pixel) display features “scratch- and scrape-resistant” glass, but is otherwise similar to the Droid 3′s panel. Motorola says the entire Droid 4 is enclosed in a water-repellant nanocoating as well. There’s still an 8-megapixel camera on board with 1080p video recording, plus 16GB internal storage, a microSD memory card slot, and a useful mirroring mode to throw images or video on a living room or hotel HDTV.

CES 2012

One annoying downside: The Droid 4 ships with Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), instead of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Motorola is promising an upgrade to ICS in the second quarter of 2012, but we’re moving past the point where at least high-end phones should come preloaded with Android 4.0.

As a Motorola Android phone, the Droid 4 is another device that works with Motorola’s increasingly large array of convertible accessories, including the 10.1-inch Lapdock 100, the 14-inch Lapdock 500 Pro, the Vehicle Navigation Dock, and the HD Docking Station, plus Motorola’s Webtop mode, which runs a desktop version of Mozilla Firefox and sports task automation features. The keyboarded Droid 4 also keeps up Motorola’s business end of the equation, with support for government-grade FIPS 140-2 encryption for data security and a Citrix Receiver for Android client preloaded. It also sports a 4G LTE mobile hotspot mode that works with up to eight devices simultaneously with the appropriate Verizon Wireless plan.

All told, the sharp-looking Droid 4 gives the Droid3 the LTE radio it should have had, but is now stuck on an OS that the world is already moving away from, at least for a few months—presumably thanks to Motorola’s relatively heavy UI layer and all that Webtop mode stuff, it has to move over to ICS.                        More