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Verizon Droid slammed by Palm CEO

Jon Rubinstein says that the Droid has narrow appeal. Try telling that to the reported quarter million consumers that snatched up Droid phones last week alone.

By Matthew Shaer / November 17, 2009



It's the month of Motorola Droid, a smartphone powered by Verizon Wireless and Google’s Android 2.0 operating system. And by all accounts, things have been going pretty swimmingly. A quarter of a million people purchased Droid phones last week alone, mobile tracking company Flurry announced yesterday – a major-league launch, no matter which way you slice it.

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But at least one person isn't impressed with Droid-mania. In an interview with the New York Times, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein questioned whether the Droid had any mainstream market appeal. “Android, and the Droid in particular, are designed for the techie audience,” said Rubinstein, who once served as head of Apple's iPod unit.

By comparison, Rubinstein argued, the Palm line – which includes the Pre and the Pixi – were better suited to the majority of consumers' lives. “We are doing a more general product that helps people live their lives seamlessly," Rubinstein said. The Palm CEO added that a truly successful phone will not be forced to rely on outside software (i.e. Google Android).

“The companies that will deliver the best products are the ones that integrate the whole experience — the hardware, the software and the services — and aren’t getting one piece from here and one piece from there and trying to bolt it all together,” he said.

Early tests of the Droid have been largely positive, with reviewers praising the Droid’s navigation capabilities, its full QWERTY keyboard, and its lush screen display, which easily bests the iPhone in terms of resolution. Meanwhile, Verizon has been working to promote a Europe-edition Droid called the Milestone.

The Milestone has a different radio deck and no access to Google Maps – Google Maps Navigation hasn’t yet crossed the pond – so the phone is getting a test version of Motonav, PC World reports. Other than that, the Droid and the Milestone are basically identical.

Do you have a Droid? Drop us a line here, or on Twitter, @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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