Motorola Droid 2 expected to launch late this week

Droid 2, the follow-up to the popular Motorola Droid handset, will hit stores late this week, tech industry insiders say.

Droid 2 should touch down in stores this week. No word if the giant glowing Droid eye will be part of the bargain.

Back in November of last year, Verizon Wireless rolled out the Droid, a smartphone manufactured by Motorola and powered by Google's Android operating system. Verizon – helped out by a major-league advertising blitz – reportedly sold 250,000 Droid handsets in the first week of sales alone. And after 74 days, it had surpassed the original iPhone launch. Very impressive.

Now Verizon is set to release the Droid 2, essentially a beefed-up Droid, with an improved keyboard, the Android 2.2 Froyo OS, and a snappier processor. According to Wired, the Motorola Droid 2 will likely retail for $200 with a 2-year contract, which is more or less on par with previous Droid offerings. Expect the Droid 2 to be available by the end of the week.

The impending launch of the Droid 2 comes as Android-enabled handsets continue to make major gains in the smartphone market. At a conference last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that 200,000 new Android devices are sold every day; meanwhile, NPD has released data showing that the pace of Android sales had helped the Google mobile OS become the most popular smartphone operating system in the US.

Of course, this isn't the first new Motorola Droid phone to be launched this summer.

The Droid X, which arrived on July 15, has received high marks for its big HD screen, its Android operating system, and its stellar call quality. "I never had a dropped call," USA Today's Edward C. Baig wrote in his review of the Droid X. "Find an iPhone user who can say the same. I hear all the time from folks wondering if and when the iPhone will land on Verizon's network. I wouldn't bet on that happening soon."


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