July 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM ET
Verizon and Motorola unveiled the refreshed Droid smartphone line at an event in New York City on Tuesday. The three new devices focus on three different concepts: Thinness, battery life, and compactness.
While introducing the new smartphones, Rick Osterloh, Motorola Mobility's senior vice president of product management, emphasized that all three have significant upgrades over the last generation of Droid devices. He listed off a 24 percent faster CPU, a 100 percent faster GPU, and twice the RAM. All three have 2-megapixel cameras in the front and 10-megapixel cameras in the back. Lovers of Google Now will be happy to find that they can control the virtual assistant by saying "OK, Google Now" and issuing a command. (Yes, the "OK, Google Now" trigger phrase will be familiar to Google Glass fans.) Those who are used to super-high-resolution screens might not be all that excited though: The new Droid devices offer 720p displays. This is particularly disappointing when dealing with the tall Ultra.
The new Droid Ultra will be priced at $199. It's a thin, tall, beast of a phone which will be available in red of black. It has a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. Unlike the MAXX and Mini, the Ultra does not support wireless charging .(Which is not surprising considering that it's only 7.18 millimeters thick.)
The new Droid MAXX will be priced at $299 and focuses on battery life. It is 9 percent thinner than last year's Droid MAXX model, measuring in at 8.5 millimeters. It has a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor with quad-core graphics, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. According to its spec sheet, it will handle up to 48 hours of use on a charge.
The Droid Mini is priced at $99 and is "compact without compromise," the folks from Motorola explain. It has a 4.3-inch display and sits in one's hand as comfortably as an iPhone (which will make Android users who favor the smaller footprint quite happy, even if it isn't quite as slender). It has a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor with quad-core graphics 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage.
Pre-orders begin online on Tuesday and the devices will start shipping on Aug. 20. Those who order one of the new Droid devices before Sept. 30 will receive 6 months of free Google Music Play All Access service. Access to Ingress, a location-based invitation-only game made by the folks in Google's Niantic Labs, is also included (along with the ability to invite 5 friends).
While you're making notes on your calendar, keep in mind that the Moto X, that other new Motorola device, will be officially unveiled on Aug. 1. Leaks suggest that the gadget might just be the mid-range smartphone to beat and that it might bring a more "pure" Android experience.
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