You have to hand it to Motorola; as little as a year ago their future looked bleak. Android was still in its infancy and lacking polish, mainstream devices running it were few, and there weren’t public or visible signs of any forthcoming devices which would challenge the dominance of BlackBerry or iOS, especially from Motorola. A few months later, they launched the Motorola Droid, and a few months after the floodgates opened up - out has poured a steady stream of relatively polished devices running Android 2.x. It’s been breakneck almost, with new flagships every 3 months on average - the latest is Motorola’s Droid X on Verizon - henceforth just 'X.'

You also have to hand it to Verizon for getting its act together. Previously, they were infamous for crippling device hardware and OSes - the Touch Pro notoriously lacked an entire row of keys, and half the RAM. Their smartphone lineup also used to consist entirely of BlackBerries and Windows Mobile devices. That’s all changed.

Since the first Motorola Droid, they’ve been probably the single most vocal proponent of Android, embracing and billing their lineup of “Droids” as serious iPhone alternatives. The unique combination of being the largest carrier and the largest 3G footprint (and the  perception of having above average coverage) has resulted in massive growth of the Android platform. That’s definitely a turnaround for two giants.

Eight months after launch, the Motorola Droid is now a relatively old piece of kit. It’s amazing how fast the market is moving - the fact that an 8 month old handset is now obsolete is a testament to just how breakneck this pace is.

Motorola and HTC are now locked in a battle for dominance of the Android segment on the nation’s largest carrier. On one side is the HTC Incredible, on the other is the X and eventually the Droid 2. Across the aisle at Sprint, HTC has the EVO 4G. If you’re interested in a smartphone of the Android variety, you’ve got the most options ever right now, and the X is the newest contender. Let’s dive in.
 

Form Factor and Build Impressions
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  • homebredcorgi - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Who do we have to blame for the “Droid” moniker? Verizon or Motorola?

    I have a Nexus One and continually get asked, “Is that a Droid?” or “Does that run Droid?” to which I usually reply yes and let sleeping dogs lie…but seriously, why name it so similar to the operating system? And then why make “Droid” a series of phones if your first phone is just known simply as “Droid”?! At least call it the "Droid One" or something to differentiate from the series of phones....

    So now we have the Droid, Droid Eris, Droid X, and will soon have the Droid 2 which are all phones in the Droid series, all running on various builds of Android. Yeesh. Could they have made that any more confusing?

    All in all, the Droid X looks very nice. I personally think the original Droid had all the flair of a TI-82 calculator (ugly as sin in a blocky retro way), but the Droid X seems to have modernized its looks. Still not sure if I would want a phone that large though….
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Verizon owns the rights to the "Droid" trademark from Star Wars. So they decided to capitalize on that and name their whole line of Android phones "Droids".

    I think it's kinda cheezy but hey, it's selling and is something that people can focus on. With the army of phones coming out every week, it's difficult for the average person to keep up. It helps if they can just go to a store and ask for a Droid.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    Actually they have only been using Droid on the high-end phones, the Devour and Ally were not Droids.

    There is also rumor of a special edition Droid 2 coming with R2-D2 on the battery cover...
    Reply
  • lewchenko74 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    The best, most comprehensive review of the Droid X Ive read so far. Thank you.

    Just got to wait until it arrives in the UK unlocked now, but personally I think Im going to get the Droid 2 instead with the keyboard.

    I am amazed at the pace the smartphone market is moving at. Im 1yr into a 2yr contract with a HTC Hero. It feels like an antique! These 2yr contracts really are a ball and chain.

    It also seems like HTC is starting to lag behind Samsung and Moto now in terms of processor and features. Sense also seems a little 'old' compared to other UI layers (or maybe thats just me).

    Disappointed that it only runs Android 2.1 when 2.2 is now out though.... That would be like Apple releasing iPhone4 running OS3.2 whilst saying OS4 is out there too but not quite available yet! (I guess Apple actually did that though with the iPad ;-) )
    Reply
  • mvmorr01 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    What app are you using for those CPU utilization graphs? I did a quick search and couldn't find it in the market. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    It's an application called "SystemPanel" which I found a while back. If you turn logging on, it'll give you some very cool graphs of battery use over time and CPU utilization over days even. Produces some very cool results when I do battery life testing.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • 529th - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    First of all I want to say I love mine! :) Bought it the day it came out.

    Wow what a great review!!!

    I didn't know you could run benchmarks on a phone! Linpack!?? WOW awesome!

    I can't wait till Froyo! :)

    Thanks again chief!

    <3 Anandtech reviews!
    Reply
  • WaltFrench - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    Linpack is a 90s-era benchmark that performs a specific matrix solution. As much as possible, all floating point adds and muls.

    I've tried in other forums to find an app, prior to 6/1/2010, that actually uses Gaussian elimination with partial pivoting. The particular method works best to find complex patterns within large data sets; that's great for my statistical investment models and for a lot of other stuff. It's strongly suggestive of performance on weather simulations, quantum chemistry, etc., stuff that no sane person would attempt (today) on a smartphone.

    Others claim Linpack scores around 40 on overclocked ARM chips with Froyo (the JITting being fabulously helpful for highly repetitive benchmark code). I got ~35 on my iPhone. These scores are ~ 13X–16X what the Linpack author quoted long ago for his 486 (/487, I presume).

    I don't know a lot about graphics but presume 3D work that calls for lots of floating point Add/Mul work would get routed to the GPU, so I think these scores are of extremely limited relevance to any smartphone app I can envision.
    Reply
  • vshin - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Where are the antenna attenuation tests? No weak spots? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    There's definitely attenuation tests in there, and weak spots. The bottom of the phone as expected causes a 15 dB drop. It's on page 14: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3826/motorola-droid-...

    -Brian
    Reply

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