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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  • TareX - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    Why are all the Samsung Galaxy S phones missing from your charts and comparisons? I wanted to see how Hummingbird compared and how the Super AMOLED fared against their Droid X counterparts...
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    Maybe because the first US version launched a day before the review went up, and they weren't sent a review sample.
  • enealDC - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    Great job!
  • Juniper Research - Friday, July 23, 2010 - link

    Very interesting article... we have this week published a new report on smartphones and a free whitepaper is available to download here...

    John Levett
    Marketing Executive at Juniper Research
  • Homefries - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    First off, great review Brian.

    However, while you did a very thorough comparison of the Droid X to other Android devices, you barely mentioned the real competitor the Droid X has to stand up against: the iPhone 4.

    Readers want to know if the Droid X is the best phone on the market - the whole market - not just the market subset dedicated to Android devices.

    Like the majority of the tech media, your review furthers the notion readers belong exclusively to either the iOS camp or the Andriod camp. This is simply not true. Informed readers, like the ones that peruse Anandtech, want to buy one smartphone, regardless of any marketing slants, that is the best.

    Your review of the Droid X should have helped us answer the question, "Should I buy the Droid X or the iPhone 4?" But, it did not.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    Well, I think the conclusion in the iPhone article and some earlier Android articles applies, there is no "best" for everyone. Some people love Apple and the Apple way of life, some people won't touch it. As the iPhone is currently limited to AT&T, that is going to deter a lot of people. How large a pocket/bag you plan on carrying the phone in might make size differences more important to some than others. So while I am not one of the readers calling for no subjective opinions (it is interesting that FroYo feels significantly faster/different) I think it is still up to each buyer to decide what is most important to them.
  • Electrofreak - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    Brian and Anand, are you sure you're using the correct information regarding the SoC in the Droid X? I believe it is a OMAP 3640, not a 3630, as the maximum recommended clock speed of the 3630 is described in numerous places across the net as being 720 MHz, while the max clock speed of the 3640 is described as 1 GHz. In addition, the max recommended clock speed of the 3430 in the Droid was 600 MHz, not 800.

    The information I cite above is widely available across the web... if you've got inside information the rest of us don't have, by all means let us know. But as someone who has written articles of my own on ARM SoCs and follows ARM industry news closely, I suspect that your data may not be 100% correct.

    Regardless, I do have to thank you for writing some of the most informative hardware articles on the net. I appreciate it!
  • Electrofreak - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    ...and I just found this:

    So, per TI's blog it is the 3630... now we just need an explanation of the other info on the web that describes the 3630 as maxing out at 720 MHz.
  • Brian Klug - Monday, July 26, 2010 - link

    Yeah, TI's documentation is a bit outdated. Anand tackled the SoC part, but the 3630 is indeed a 1 GHz part, it isn't the 3640 guaranteed. There was a lot of confusion online about it, but Anand got the official word. ;)

    I agree, back when I did my other OMAP 3 piece it was 720 MHz.

  • Electrofreak - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    Looking forward to that Hummingbird review Brian. I hope you're able to dig up some info that I wasn't able to when I wrote my article ( back in April.

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