Friday is the official release date of the Droid, a smartphone manufactured by Motorola and powered by Verizon Wireless. And Verizon isn't missing any chances to bombard potential consumers with news of the Droid. Beginning earlier this week, Verizon aired an advertisement billing the Android-equipped Droid as next-generation 'stealth' technology – a device worthy of the weeks of hype.
At the start of the new television advertisement, which was shown repeatedly during Game Six of the World Series, a squadron of stealth bombers scream through a cloudy sky. Each of the planes drops a small black package toward the farmland below. The camera then follows people cautiously approaching the craters left by the bombers. In the final frames, one of the black packages opens to reveal a blinking Droid phone. (See video below.)
So how do the Droid ads stack up? Pretty well. The production value of the ad is high, and the mysterious atmosphere is in line with the entire Droid campaign. As we've noted, Verizon has relied on a whip-'em-into-a-frenzy viral marketing approach, waiting for the very last minute to actually reveal photos of the Droid. (If you were wondering, that's the Droid in the photo at right.)
In October, Verizon released the “iDroid” spots, which played down the capabilities of the Apple iPhone. “iDon’t have a real keyboard. iDon’t run simultaneous apps. iDon’t take night shots. iDon’t allow open development,” reads anti-Apple copy posted on the Droid website. “iDon’t customize. iDon’t run widgets. iDon’t have interchangeable batteries. Everything iDon’t, Droid does.”
On Friday, Verizon will unveil the ultimate marketing gimmick – a promotion allowing New Yorkers to control two of Times Square's largest digital billboards using only voice commands. According to Verizon, the billboards will ask passersby to call a toll-free number to search for something in the Times Square area. The results will then be displayed on the digital billboards using Google Maps.
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 bests the iPhone in terms of resolution. At CNET, Kent German and Bonnie Cha called the Droid “a real competitor to Apple’s device.”