Watch out iPhone, here comes the Droid

Verizon droidVerizon Wireless, Motorola and Google set the smartphone market on fire yesterday with Droid, their latest offering. Does this mean the iPhone, which many hailed as the Jesus phone, is counting down its last days of glory?

John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer, told reporters yesterday that the Droid could compete head to head with the iPhone. They started building their case against their rival in the last several weeks with the iDont ads that listed all things wrong with the iPhone. Although the Droid won't hit stores until Nov.6, experts are already giving it a thumbs up. Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester, told that at this point the Android 2.0 "represents the most credible challenge to the iPhone platform."Priced at $199.99 after a $100 mail-in discount with a 2-year sign-up, the Droid runs on Verizon's top-rated 3G network (to be upgraded to 4G next year). Motorola made the hardware, featuring a slideout keyboard, bigger screen and higher resolution than the iPhone.The phone has been touted as a multitasker with easy access to corporate networks.

To me the most desirable feature on the Droid is the Google Maps Navigation that runs on the Android 2.0 operating system. Directionally challenged, I look forward to kissing Mapquest and my Garmin goodbye and having a phone with turn-by-turn directions, up-to-date maps, live traffic info, 3D view etc.

So, will the Droid be the iPhone killer? Probably not. iPhone has reached near iconic status in the smartphone category and it has reached a maturity that is yet to be demostrated by other smartphones. But if you were about to get yourself an iPhone soon, should you wait till Nov. 6, and give the Droid a look? Absolutely.
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