Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Droid Pro from Motorola Aims To Compete with BlackBerry

Verizon Wireless will offer Motorola's Droid Pro, which is optimized for business use and aimed at competing with Research In Motion's BlackBerry. The Droid Pro is powered by Android 2.2 and comes with productivity and security features. An analyst said RIM "is not shaking in its boots" while Motorola segments its smartphone lines.

Attention, BlackBerry owners. Motorola's new Android 2.2-based Droid Pro, announced Tuesday, is optimized for business use, including the ability to have voice service in more than 220 countries and data Relevant Products/Services service in more than 200.

The device is also focused on productivity Relevant Products/Services tools for business with corporate connectivity, security, full push corporate e-mail, a unified calendar offering work features, and the Quickoffice Mobile suite. Users can view, edit and share documents such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Built-In Security Features

Mike Lanman, president of the enterprise Relevant Products/Services and government market for Verizon Wireless, which will offer the Droid Pro, said the smartphone "combines the feature-packed, high-level user experience that customers look for in an Android smartphone," as well as the security and reliability that businesses require.

The Pro features a 3.1-inch display, a one-gigahertz processor Relevant Products/Services, 4GB of memory -- two internal, two removable -- and a QWERTY Relevant Products/Services keyboard. There is support for both Exchange e-mail and Gmail, a corporate directory lookup, and Flash Player 10.1. The new device can also provide a 3G Relevant Products/Services mobile Relevant Products/Services hot spot to as many as five other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Built-in security features include AuthenTec IPSec multi-headed VPN integration Relevant Products/Services, remote wiping if needed, and support for complex passwords. Encryption for the Pro and the SD card is expected to be available early next year.

There's also a five-megapixel camera with autofocus, dual LED flash, and what Motorola calls "DVD-quality video Relevant Products/Services." Pricing will be announced closer to launch, which is expected in a few weeks.

RIM 'Not Shaking in Its Boots'

Avi Greengart, an analyst at industry research firm Current Analysis, said, "Research in Motion is not shaking in its boots, any more than it has in the past." He noted that RIM's BlackBerry has become a leading business smartphone in large part "because of RIM's attention to IT Relevant Products/Services managers, by providing them with whole solutions," and its complete package is "still unique."

But, Greengart noted, the Pro "looks promising" as a device that could appeal to business users. Motorola's success with Android, he said, "has been largely dependent on carrier promotion." While HTC, for instance, has also been a beneficiary of Verizon's advertising and shelf space, Greengart said, "Motorola's devices have gotten the lion's share."

He also pointed out that Motorola "has started to segment its lines," targeting some devices at youth, at "outdoor types," or, for the Droid Pro, at business people interested in productivity tools, as well as IT departments.

At the same time it unveiled the Pro, Motorola also took the wraps off the Citrus, an entry-level touchscreen phone. The Citrus has Android 2.1, not the latest version of that OS, and a touch panel on the back that enables users to navigate.

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