Droid 2 on pre-sale tomorrow, in Verizon stores Thursday

Update has faster processor, built-in Froyo, bigger keys

The Motorola Droid 2 smartphone Verizon Wireless announced the pre-sale of the Motorola Droid 2 smartphone online starting tomorrow, with in-store sales on Thursday. The Droid 2 sells for $200 after rebate and a two-year contract for voice and data.

The Droid 2 has attracted attention for having the Android 2.2 mobile platform, known as Froyo, as well as the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 already built-in. Other recent Android phones releases, such as the Droid X , did not have the upgrade at launch.

Froyo is seen as important to enterprise users , partly for support of Exchange and Gmail and push delivery of e-mail. Froyo also supports a corporate directory with global search and widgets that can help differentiate work and home e-mail. The security features of Froyo allow IT shops to remotely control complex passwords and wipe clean a device through an Exhange server.

Droid X, which went on sale July 15, will have Froyo by early September, Motorola said in a message posted Aug. 5 on a support forum . Both the original Motorola Droid and the HTC Evo 4G got Android 2.2 last week, as noted by Computerworld blogger J.R. Raphael .

While Verizon clearly expects to have supplies of the Droid 2 available on Thursday, it is not clear how long they will last for immediate availability. In late July, several recently launched Android devices could be ordered, but shipment dates were delayed by two or three weeks, and sometimes longer.

Regarding the upcoming supply of Droid 2 phones, a Verizon spokeswoman said today: "We always order what we feel are adequate numbers of all our devices, but sometimes customer enthusiasm surpasses even our best estimates."

The Droid 2's Froyo features might be a big draw, but its 3.7-in. multitouch display atop an improved QWERTY keyboard (compared to the original Droid) could be more important to users. The keys appear bigger than those on the original Droid, based on Verizon's 360-degree online view , which also describes the overall device as 4.58 in. by 2.38 in. by .54 inches -- the same as the original, including the screen size.

Many other Droid 2 specs are not officially available, but AndroidCommunity found certain specs from a Verizon document, including a 1 GHz processor, which is nearly double the 550 MHz in othe original Droid, based on Motorola's specs published last year.

The Droid 2 also has a 5 megapixel camera, the same as the original.

The original Droid has more internal memory and removable memory than the Droid 2, although in a slightly different configuration. The original has 16 GB pre-installed with up to 32 GB of removable memory. The Droid 2 has 8 GB preloaded, with an 8 GB microSD card that can be upgraded to 32 GB, for a total of 40 GB, which is 8 GB less than the original.

A Droid 2 user can pay $20 a month for the ability to make the Droid 2 a 3G mobile hotspot for up to five Wi-Fi devices.

Verizon also said it is adding an R2-D2 version of Droid 2 to honor the Astromech Droid in the Star Wars film series. That version will include exclusive Star Wars content and external hardware designed to look like the sturdy Droid from the films. It will be available only online, starting in September.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smart phones and other handhelds and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter @matthamblen , send e-mail at mhamblen@computerworld.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

This story, "Droid 2 on pre-sale tomorrow, in Verizon stores Thursday" was originally published by Computerworld.

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