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Verizon's New Droids Last Longer, Browse Faster

Verizon Wireless introduced the latest members of the Motorola Droid family on Wednesday, promising the best battery life and the fastest 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity in the industry.

Motorola Mobility, along with new parent Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and longtime partner Verizon, announced three new LTE smartpthones (the Droid RAZR HD, Droid RAZR Maxx HD and the Droid RAZR M) Wednesday afternoon, following Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s phone unveiling nearby. (See Nokia Lights Up Windows Phone 8 Devices and Nokia's Lumia 920: Will It Support US LTE?)

The phones are focused on some key mobile pain points, particularly the trade-off between battery life and the faster speeds that come with LTE. New Moto CEO Dennis Woodside, who took over from Sanjay Jha in May, pointed out that most LTE phones can't make it through the day on a single charge, but the new RAZR trio boasts 16 to 32 hours of talk time. (See Google Closes $12.5B Motorola Deal .)

The compact RAZR M features a 4.3-inch display, while the 4.7-inch RAZR HD packs in 40 percent greater battery capacity than the original Droid RAZR. The bigger RAZR Maxx takes battery life to the extreme, boasting 32 hours of normal use, 13 hours of video streaming or eight hours of Web browsing at LTE download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbit/s. All three will have Android's latest operating system, Jelly Bean 4.1, on board.

The event also served as the coming-out party for what Woodside called "the new Motorola Mobility," a company that looks much the same as the old, save for its new ties to Google.

"We are here to tell you the new Motorola starts today," Woodside said, outlining four big bets for the handset maker: 4G LTE speed, power management, Android and open-source platforms.

Woodside said there are some 15 million LTE subscribers in North America today, and one-third use Motorola devices, making it the leading LTE device maker. It gained that status thanks in large part to Verizon, which currently covers three-fourths of the U.S. (or 371 markets) with LTE today.

Moto still has a long road ahead of it, however. Even with its exclusive bet on Android, the company has struggled to keep up with other Google smartphone partners like Samsung Corp. . While its first Moto RAZR was a huge success, it's relaunch of the brand nearly a year ago didn't match its popularity. (See Is Motorola Finally Dying?, Moto Needs the RAZR to Burn and Photos: Moto Gets Skinny With 4G RAZR.)

Moto's three new smartphones build on the RAZR reputation, and it's counting on consumers' need for speed -- and longevity -- to make them a hit. The RAZR M goes on sale today for $99 on contract with a rebate, and the RAZR HD and RAZR Maxx HD will be available before the holidays, the partners said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:21:51 PM
re: Verizon's New Droids Last Longer, Browse Faster

Agreed. Unfortunately, the "new" Moto looks too much like the old, I think. The improvements were pretty marginal and the devices looked pretty standard. But, hey, at least they had release date, carrier and pricing info (ahem, Nokia)!

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:21:51 PM
re: Verizon's New Droids Last Longer, Browse Faster

I admire what they've done with improving LTE battery but nobody bought them when they announced the same type of thing with the original LTE RAZR last year. The need was even more pressing then. Why would people care more now?

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 5:21:49 PM
re: Verizon's New Droids Last Longer, Browse Faster

Maybe these are the last of the devices Motorola developed pre-acquisition by Google? It's a long enough cycle, after all.


Presumably Google has some new stuff up its sleeve for next year?

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