Droid 4 Available February 10th for $199by Jason Inofuentes on February 7, 2012 10:33 AM EST
It feels like we first saw images of the Droid 4 just a few days after our review went live. And so seven months later, looks like Verizon customers will finally have a chance to get their hands on the latest iteration of the Android phone that started it all (on Verizon, at least). Officially announced at CES (peep our hands-on here and here), the Droid 4 continues Motorola's recent history of marginally iterating with each new model. So, while the screen size (4.0"), resolution (qHD) and chipset (TI OMAP 4430) remain the same, the clock speed (1.2GHz), RAM (1GB) and form factor have been reworked.
The design mirrors the look of the Droid RAZR, including the sealed battery (now up to 6.8 Whr), and svelte design. Ironically, the phone is a hair thicker than the Droid 3 it replaces (13.1 mm vs. 12.9 mm), and some of that added thickness is a result of the inclusion of an LTE radio. There aren't a whole lot of QWERTY LTE phones, and the Droid 4 bests Samsung's Stratosphere 4G in thinness by nearly a millimeter. The 4.0" screen is TFT-LCD with PenTile RGBW at 960x540, likely the same one as the Droid 3.
Like all phones not called the Galaxy Nexus, the Droid 4 will ship with Gingerbread (skinned with not-Blur), and an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade will be incoming at a later date. Positioning the device at $199 gives buyers the option of the super-thin RAZR or the QWERTY inclusive Droid 4, with the cutting-edge Galaxy Nexus or the RAZR MAXX with its huge battery. Stay tuned, Droid 5 rumors should be trickling in any minute now.
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Daniel Egger - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - linkSeriously guys: What the heck is up with the constant reports about some mobile phones showing up at some US mobile operator together with subsidised prices with unmentioned subscription plans?
That's really lame for an international site...
mpschan - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - linkAre you complaining that they create these articles, or that you aren't seeing similar versions for other countries?
If the former, you do realize that a very large portion of their visitors are from the US and would find this info interesting. What, should they just ignore the announcement?
Daniel Egger - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - link> Are you complaining that they create these articles, or that you aren't seeing similar versions for other countries?
I'm complaining that this is irrelevant marketing blah. There's no even remotely technical information in those announcements and thus they don't belong here IMHO.
But since you were asking: Over here there ain't no such thing as prices fixed by operators. You can get about any phone with any contract(s) from any dealer for about any price. Apple tried to bring those nonsense fixed prices (free market anyone?!?) over with the iPhone but luckily failed miserably.
Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - linkThe launch of pipeline changed things a bit. It opened doors for articles like this and other smaller announcement-like articles. At least I think this is a relevant article because we have posted about Droid 4 before and readers who are interested in it are definitely craving for info on its release and price.
Don't worry, we haven't forgotten technical stuff, some articles are just less techy than others :-)
JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - linkIt's hard sometimes to distill the marketing from the news, or is it the other way around?
Pipeline is the source for news as it relates to AnandTech's scope of coverage. Sometimes there's news that doesn't have a lot of technical detail to it. On those occasions we strive to provide analysis, clarifying how the news fits in the overall picture.
In the case of the Droid 4 announcement, I focused on its place in the Android LTE smartphone market, specifically in the US and more specifically as it relates to Verizon Wireless. I nailed down its place as the thinnest QWERTY LTE phone and described how it is similar to the rest of the Motorola stable.
If you're complaint is simply that we don't cover enough news with an international perspective, then I'll agree but the challenged posed there is how big of a perspective we can feasibly accomplish. Readers in Europe might get bored reading about product pricing and device competitiveness in New Zealand.
If you're complaint is that we shouldn't cover announcements regarding device sales pricing and availability, then I must respectfully disagree. Ultimately, our readers want to know what they should buy. They can just wait to hear about a phone's release from a commercial, and then wait for our review to make their purchasing decision. But the mobile industry moves at a pace that makes the choice of waiting or not a difficult one. So we're trying to provide more information up front, for those that can't wait.
We appreciate your comments, and recommendations. And I would personally love to hear how I can alter my coverage to improve your experience. Cheers.
Daniel Egger - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - linkRegarding this specific article I would have imagined some non-Verizon details:
- Which networks will the phone be compatible with in general?
- Where will it be released?
- When will it be released?
- What will the MSRP be?
Just have a look at Apples latest iPhone announcements, they contain all of those details.
As it stands the article is only useful for future Verizon customers or current ones with the option to extend their contracts. Plus: The title is slightly incomplete; one has to actually read the article to figure out that $199 is the price when you sign up for a Verizon serviceplan at the same time.
Just out of curiosity: How many of the readers are applicable to this offer? Single digit percentage or even less?
Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - linkJason can answer rest of the points but I will take the last one on my behalf.
I don't think our job has ever been to get as many readers as possible, or make sure that every article we post interests as many readers as possible. That often leads to sensationalism, which is something we are totally against. Usually when I write an article, I already know how popular it will be. Then again, I don't write articles in order to get as many views as possible. Some things (e.g. AppliedMicro's announcement of ARMv8 based server SoCs) are very technical and interest me but don't get a lot traffic.
Also, some articles are non-US as well. Take a look at the White Lumia 800 piece for instance. It will be released in Europe, no idea if US will even get it. As a European, I'm also aware that most US-based sites may concentrate a bit too much on US-only content, but it's also a big market so sometimes a US-only article may be in place.
This is just my point of view, I can't talk on behalf of other editors. Criticism is always welcome and helps us to improve the site :-)
JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - linkThat's up to Motorola, and when word of that is revealed then we will consider posting it. It's safe to say though that since Verizon is the sole licensee to use the Droid name in reference to cell phones then most of our readers will understand the parties referenced in the title.
I also question your supposition about who this article might interest. Verizon customers whose contracts are up soon are certainly interested. As are any other US smartphone customer who would consider switching to Verizon from whatever other provider they are currently using. We could have extended the focus of the piece and given a full discussion of how this phone fits in the overall US smartphone market, but that would be better placed within a full review.
I think we should return to the premise of your original post. "So Anandtech is supposed to be international, right?" The answer, is "No," if that means we shouldn't cover the US market. If it means that we should cover the entire global smartphone market, then the answer is, "We'll try."
risa2000 - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - linkJust out of curiosity, I would be interested to know, how many visitors come from which region (US, Europe, Asia, Africa etc.). Maybe then the articles about some US operators launching some US version mobile phone would get into right perspective, also for non-us visitors. Wishing to serve the largest visitor base is definitely valid argument.
tayb - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - linkSuch a unique name. Sure to bring further brand recognition to Motorola and spur customer loyalty. So very unlike the Previous versions named Droid, Droid 2, and Droid 3.
And the specs? How truly innovative!
I can't believe at one point I thought Motorola would be the "King of Android."