31 Comments

Summary:

Droid launched in November 2009 and has sold over 700,000 units. It is inching towards the million mark, thanks to a strong marketing push by its backers Motorola and Verizon. In comparison, Motorola’s Cliq & Dexter appear to be slow pokes when it comes to sales.

droid1.pngMotorola and Verizon’s $100 million marketing push seems to be paying off: The much-ballyhooed Droid smartphone made by Motorola and powered by Google’s Android 2.0 OS is inching toward its goal of a million devices sold during the fourth quarter of 2009. The two companies have thus far sold between 700,000 and 800,000 Droids, according to data collected by RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue.

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Mark McKechnie estimated a few weeks ago that Motorola was going to sell 600,000 Droids. Looks like we have gone well past those estimates. McKechnie expected Motorola to sell about a million Android-based phones during the quarter.  Demand for Droid might be stronger than previously indicated, Sue’s numbers show.

With a month to go, it is more than likely that Motorola will meet its targets, Sue said in a note to his clients, mostly because of strong demand. “According to our survey, some higher-traffic Verizon stores in major cities may be selling over 100-200 Droid units per week since the launch,” he said. “The bulk of Motorola’s smartphones this quarter will be at Verizon.”

Droid has received good reviews, though lately some dissatisfied customers have started to speak out against the smartphone. I personally am lukewarm on the device, even though I am amazed by its super-fast multi-app processor, stunning screen and, of course, the Verizon network, which is rock-solid. Nevertheless, I much prefer the BlackBerry Tour over Droid.

droid2.pngMotorola is expected to sell about 1.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009, which means the company’s other Android devices — Milestone (the European version of Droid), Motorola Cliq and Dext — are not selling as well as Droid. That’s no surprise since there isn’t a big marketing push to support these devices.

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  1. Considering the previous “iPhone killers” these are remarkable numbers. I am not going to play armchair pundit on what this means about the iPhone and Droid. But as a fan of Apple I am happy there is finally good competition to the iPhone. I do not believe the droid will trounce the iPhone but I hope that it wakes Apple up to spur them to innovate faster than they have in the past.

    For disclosure: I am buying a Droid in the next few weeks.

  2. @Om,

    I’m honestly not surprised by these results as competition is always great for consumers. I still remain convinced that strong numbers (not saying 1 million units per quarter) could have been achieved for the Palm Pre, but neither Sprint nor Palm put a STRONG and dedicated marketing campaign behind the Pre. In fact, Sprint’s “Now Network” campaign with Pre product shots is simply terrible, and the least effective way to generate product awareness and demand.

    Kudos to Motorola, Verizon, and Google for raising the bar in the smartphone market.

    My $.02,

    Best.

    1. Curtis – I agree on the Palm/Sprint analogy – that crossed my mind as I was reading Om’s post. Palm had the marketing buzz up but wasted it away once the launch date was known for the Pre and Sprint did not do much else to assist.

      1. Curtis and HSK,

        Funny thing is consumers still like the Palm Pre and they still can stage a comeback — they need to plan smarter.

      2. Verizon also put a lid on Pre sales by repeatedly stating that the phone might come to Verizon next year. We will see if they will spend any marketing money on the Pre in 2010…

        On the other hand, I found O2’s marketing for the Pre in Europe solid, both the Pixi and the Pre received promotional discounts by Amazon and Walmart and at least on Amazon, the Pre is currently outselling the Droid. Palm will present their figures in a few weeks (their fiscal quarter ended in November).

    2. Curtis

      Totally agree with you: Verizon and Motorola have done well to cash in on their strong buzz and kept the momentum by spending lavishly to build market share. In the end it bodes well for the two companies — they are in an impossible position as they vie for attention against Apple’s iPhone, which is currently a consumer darling. I just want to see how long they can keep the momentum.

      1. Om,

        I concur 100%. I’ll add that I hope some of the smartphones which are due over the next 2 quarters challenge the iPhone, Droid, and the Pre. Maybe we’ll get you off of your BlackBerry? ;-)

  3. Impressive but I wonder what is the payback on $100 million advertising campaign.

    If they sell 1 million droids at $200 each that is $200 million of immediate revenue and then we figure another $150 per month for two years per phone then that is another $3.6 Billion.

    How do all these numbers play out?

  4. Great to see the Droid doing well
    What IMO are some reasons for the success

    • Verizon users badly needed a high end smartphone.
    • Motorola is still a respectable consumer brand
    • Great marketing strategy by the trio of Moto, Verizon and Google
    • Consumers love Google and Android too.
    • The most important reason is the Brilliant Timing of the launch when all other handset makers and carriers don’t have a new handset to showcase and are playing it safe due to the economy.

    http://www.fonearena.com/blog/2009/12/01/motorola-on-target-to-sell-1-million-droid-phones.html

  5. Wow. A million devices. It took Apple almost a weekend to sell that many iPhone 3GSs (they would have sold more in the first weekend, but they ran out).

    1. You iPhanbois crack me up. You insist on comparing a phone that sold in 8 countries and on multiple carriers to this phone which sold in 1 country on only 1 carrier. Why all the dumb comments and ridiculous comparisons if this phone isn’t a threat to your small world? A closer comparison would be the original iPhone which sold 1 million units in the first 10 weeks it was available.

      1. Rob
        There is nothing that’s stopping droid to enter multiple markets and enable multiple carriers. And for starters, it was Droid that compared itself to the iPhone. If Droid itself doesn’t expand its market, then it is IT’S problem and not of iPhone or its fans. Get a life.

      2. Please remember that the original iPhone is the device that started the revolution and woke up the industry. Since the Palm 180g days up until 2007 there was nothing that compelling, I was on one phone to the next with no real future. 2 years later the iPhone platform has a good start. Much like a computer upgrade my original iPhone is running OS X v3.0 is happily serving my Mom who loves it. She’s not ultra technical so doesn’t need the speed or GPS. Hopefully Droid is a true platform an not just a place holder until Google releases their rumored gphone running the “true” Android platform. Deadend products are being fed to consumers. Will they eventually realize? Who knows, but the iPhone is a platform built from the ground up to go places with new hardware and software and not just a single issue device of say a G1 or a Droid. Can the G1 be upgraded to Android V2.0? Will Droid have upgrades to the rumored “true” Android platform? Time will tell but the iPhone is here today and has a compelling strategy. While not perfect, change is always around the corner, like the jump from pusihing web apps to an actual iPhone SDK.

      3. Not that Rob, the Other Rob Rob Friday, December 4, 2009

        Google has repeatedly said the “gPhone” is non-existent. The Droid is what is the “true” Android OS software, so spare us the FUD.

      4. The Droid aka Milestone is available worldwide, but not promoted by the carriers. Did you read the article?

  6. Amazing numbers. $100 per customer spent on advertising. I suspect they think it was money well spent as these are the “green shoots” from which they hope to grow a much larger market.

  7. The Droid is a decent device but…

    • Will the Verizon network hold up once millions of users are downloading gigs a day on 3G? People take shots at ATT, but the iPhone data consumption is unlike any network has ever seen. It remains to be seen how Verizon will hold up to this type of usage pattern
    • The physical keyboard on the Droid is next to useless. The main reason people complain about the iPhone “virtual” keyboard is its lack of tacktile feedback. People used to the “chicklet” keys on the blackberry don’t like it. The Droid keyboard is totally flat and offers no “chicklet” feel, so I don’t see it being that big of a hit. All it does it double the thickness of the device.
    1. Search “4g verizon” for an answer to you first question.
      I agree about the keyboard, especialy the inability to keep the backlight on.

      1. Kwyjibo, I don’t think a smartphone can run on press releases… Verizon’s has promised full 4G coverage by 2013, but that’s still far away and doesn’t tell us anything about the capacity of the 3G network today or next year.

  8. When I got my Droid my girlfriend would yell at me that I’ve been on “that thing” all day. Yesterday, she got her own. When she starting playing around with it she turned to me with her face lit up “It’s amaaaaaaazing”. I’ve never seen such a look on her face before. I feel so vindicated.

    Motorola designed a really crappy phone. The keyboard is useless, and the device is too square. However, the screen, and the google operating system is truly amaaaaaaaaaaazing!

  9. I checked out Droid over the weekend at a Verizon store. Verizon expects customers to pay an additional fee for visual voicemail. Did not inspire me to be a Verizon customer.

    1. Use google voice and u have free visual voice mail, along with free calls, and text your google number which i made to almost be identical to my regular one!

  10. Hasn’t Motorola shot itself in the foot a bit by doing exclusivity deals in Europe? For example, Expansys has an exclusive selling the phone without a contract until after Christmas and it carries a big premium (£450). Who made that decision!?

    You do get the option of a contract, when purchasing, but no choice means fewer sales.

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