Verizon and Motorola have unveiled the Droid Pro, a new Android phone that takes aim at BlackBerry. This corporate-focused handset melds the touchscreen interface of its fellow Droids with a comfortable keyboard and world-phone antennas.
The candy-bar phone sports a 3.1-inch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. For comparison, the iPhone 4 features a slightly larger 3.5-inch screen, while the Droid X boasts a hulking 4.3-incher. Neither have any physical keypad. The Droid 2 enjoys 3.7-inch touch screen and slide out keyboard, offering bigger keys than the Droid Pro but requires an extra motion every time you want to type on it.
Inside the Droid Pro, Motorola has packed all the firepower that Android fans have come to expect: 1GHz processor, 512MB of memory, 2GB hard drive plus an SD card slot. The 5-megapixel camera is on par with Apple and the Droid 2, but a little shy of the 8-megapixel Droid X. Of course, pixel count doesn't mean much these days. We'll need to wait for a hands-on before ranking any camera above another. The Droid Pro will also come with the latest Android 2.2 operating system.
Many reporters noticed the Droid Pro's BlackBerry theme immediately.
"Motorola's BlackBerry?" marvels Engadget. "The freshly-announced Moto Droid Pro's keyboard feels like it, to be sure, and after trying it out, we believed the Motorola rep who told us they tested comparable speeds of 37WPM in several focus groups."
If consumers feel the same way, this could end badly for RIM, the company behind BlackBerry. As we reported recently, RIM's market share sagged by about 2 percentage points between April and July to 39.3 percent. Not terrible. But over the same period, Android rose 5 points to 17 percent. This disparity shows no sign of slowing, with more average shoppers upgrading to their first smartphone and corporate customers straying from the BlackBerry ecosystem for something with a little more kick.
Don't get us wrong – there's nothing wrong with BlackBerry. In a recent roundup of the best smartphones on each carrier, the Monitor recommended T-Mobile users check out the Bold 9700. But Google's OS is really roaring ahead this year. Each new Android phone offers more reasons for once-loyal eyes to waver. Just check out some of these recent reviews: