With Droid X2, Moto Loses Some of Its Mojo


Motorola’s refresh of the Droid X gains a dual-core processor but few other upgrades over its predecessor when it arrives in Verizon Wireless stores on May 26 for $199 with contract. The Droid X2 looks similar to last year’s model, but boasts a higher-resolution display. The upgrades appear to stop there for this Android 2.2 phone, which Verizon says will be upgraded to Android 2.3 at a future date. Although this is Verizon’s first dual-core handset, the limited upgrades and reuse of the same design indicate Motorola could struggle in the fast-maturing Android market.

Neither Motorola nor Verizon are offering full specifications for the device in their joint press release Wednesday. That may be due to the lack of substantial hardware bumps to the Droid X2. Earlier this month, a leaked specification sheet for the phone made its way to the web via the PocketNow site, which identifies the following hardware and feature-set:

  • 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor
  • 4.3-inch touchscreen running at qHD (960×540) resolution
  • 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, support for up to 32 GB microSD card
  • 8-megapixel rear camera sensor with 720p video recording, dual LED flash, auto-focus
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, aGPS

Last June, I was so enamored by the Droid X that I tagged it as the best Android phone on Verizon’s network at the time. Assuming the leaked specifications are correct, which appears likely at this point, the Droid X2 appears as a disappointment or missed opportunity to me. What’s missing? 1080p video capture is becoming standard on a $200 handset, for starters, although that could be added via a future software update. Front-facing cameras are also becoming typical fare at this price on 3G-capable phones, and there’s no mention of one on the Droid X2.

Essentially, it appears Motorola swapped out the processor and display from last year’s Droid X chassis. While these are welcome improvements, I’m not sure they’re going to be enough to sway Verizon customers away from other upcoming handsets in the Droid line-up. Consumers don’t go solely by specifications when choosing a handset — look and feel are certainly factors, too — but the Droid X2 seems like it should be called the Droid X 1.5.

I have little doubt that people will be interested in the Droid X2, and I’m not suggesting it’s a poor choice of handset by any means. But the young Motorola Mobility company that spun off from Motorola isn’t experiencing the same sales growth as HTC, Samsung and others which are growing at faster rates and offering more advanced features or a wider array of high-end handset choices. According to research firm Canalys, LG passed Motorola in smartphone sales during the first quarter of 2011, even though LG was very late to the smartphone game.

Maybe I’m being overly harsh, but I think the Droid X2 might be better suited for a slightly lower price or should have had a just a few more features. Perhaps when I get my hands on a review unit or official specifications are published, I’ll feel otherwise, but for now, I view the Droid X2 as an uninspiring upgrade, because I know Motorola is capable of so much more.

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