Smartphone sales will continue to surge in 2011 and through 2012, but RIM and Motorola won’t reap the benefits according to Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha. Apple, Samsung and HTC will be the big winners as global smartphone sales grow by a whopping 62% in 2011 to 482 million units. In 2012, Garcha sees the market growing 36% further to 656 million units. Despite the impending boom, the analyst cut his rating on RIM from Neutral from Outperform, and he sliced his target on shares of RIM stock from $70 to $30. Motorola faired even worse in Garcha’s note as he cut his rating from Outperform to Underperform and lowered his target from $31 to $19. Why do Apple, Samsung and HTC stand to be the big winners over the next 18 months? According to Garcha, they come out on top when measured by the analyst’s nine key metrics: software, services, cloud, product, brand, distribution, tablet convergence, IPR, and chipset efficiency. More →
Verizon Wireless will finally be shifting to the usage-based data plan structure we all knew was coming. Android enthusiast blog Droid Life on Monday reports that future Verizon subscribers will no longer have an unlimited smartphone data option starting July 7th. Instead, they will be forced to choose one of three tiered data options: 2GB for $30 per month, 5GB for $50 per month or 10GB for $80 per month. Those looking for tethering will have to add $20 to each of those plans, which works out to 4GB for $50 per month, 7GB for $70 per month or 12GB for $100 per month. Overages on any plan will run $10 per gigabyte. According to the report, Verizon will charge the same rates for 3G and 4G LTE data plans, so subscribers interested in newer 4G smartphones will not have to worry about paying a premium for data, as they might elsewhere — which is a good thing, considering these plans are already a bit pricey. Current Verizon customers will not be forced to switch to a new plan. BGR contacted Verizon for comment and while the company would not confirm the new plans or exact timing, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson did have this to say: “As we have stated previously, Verizon Wireless is making some minor changes to data plans including those for new smartphone customers. We will move to a more usage based model in July.”
UPDATE: Droid Life has also obtained an internal letter purportedly being sent by regional VPs that confirms usage-based pricing will be the same for 3G and 4G service. The letter can be found through the second read link below. More →
BGR Interview: Verizon Wireless CMO Marni Walden on Android, Apple, tablets and new BlackBerry phones
We recently sat down with Verizon Wireless’ Chief Marketing Officer Marni Walden to discuss a wide range of topics — how Verizon went from smartphone zero to smartphone hero, the carrier’s colossal push that was a major catalyst for Android’s explosive growth, and even Verizon Wireless’ plans to take a leadership role with tablets just as it has with smartphones. We found it interesting that many phones are passed over when it comes to DROID branding, as that stamp of approval for only the best of the best. We covered Microsoft and RIM as well, and Ms. Walden even confirmed that Verizon Wireless will be launching three BlackBerry devices this year. The entire interview is after the break.
BGR Interview is a series of interviews and conversations with executives, influencers, tastemakers and innovators, covering the mobile and consumer electronics industries. More →
Here’s some good news for DROID Charge, LG Revolution, and HTC ThunderBolt owners: BGR has independently confirmed with Verizon Wireless that the carrier is extending its free 4G LTE mobile hotspot offer on those devices from June 15th to July 6th. Verizon Wireless will issue a software update on July 6th that deactivates the free promotion. Users will then need to pay for the service, and Verizon says 4G phone owners do not qualify for the 1GB $20 monthly option. While the carrier hasn’t yet confirmed new hotspot pricing, the next tier data plan is the $35 3GB monthly hotspot data plan, so that may be the new requirement.
Motorola took the wraps off of the DROID BIONIC back during CES 2011, shortly thereafter announced that it had delayed the device until summer. Now, the first shots of the newly redesigned DROID BIONIC are beginning to surface. The images show the device has — what appears to be — a new version of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR user interface. We assume most of the other specs remain the same: the phone clearly shows an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video, it has a 4.3-inch qHD display, and support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Unfortunately there’s still no word on a possible release date, but let’s hope the BIONIC’s battery life is better than Verizon’s other 4G phones. Hit the jump for two more images. More →
Just waiting for Motorola’s update to the extremely popular DROID lineup? The Motorola DROID 3, which we’ve seen leaked in bits here and there, has now been shown off in a pretty detailed way. Enthusiast blog PhonePads has posted 3 how-to videos featuring the Motorola DROID 3 and they look like corporate-produced videos. We’re sure we’ll see the Motorola DROID 3 get official sooner than later, but the question is, are you interested? Videos are after the break! More →
The Motorola DROID X was one of the most powerful handsets to hit Verizon Wireless. It’s only fitting that the big boss of Android phones would get upgraded at some point, right? The Motorola DROID X2 ups the DROID X in almost every way possible. Instead of a single core 1GHz CPU, the DROID X2 features a dual-core 1GHz processor. The display has been upgraded from a baseline screen to a qHD display, and software customizations and enhancements have been made as well. Did one of my favorite Android handsets get even better? Hit the full review after the break to find out.
The DROID Incredible 2 recently landed on Verizon Wireless, and it has some tough shoes to fill. When the original launched, it was BGR’s favorite Android phone to date despite stiff competition from the Motorola DROID, which launched at the same time. The DROID Incredible 2 packs some decent hardware, like a 1GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video, and more, but its specs — and data speeds — don’t match those of phones at the higher end of Verizon’s portfolio. Is the DROID Incredible 2 a worthy successor to the original or does it fall short? Read on to find out!
Verizon Wireless has detailed a software update that will soon be pushed to the Motorola DROID X, thus confirming that the phone will be upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The update will include a number of enhancements and the more prominent ones include a new user interface, better word prediction, app grouping, an improved email application, geo-tagging support in the camera, a download manager application, auto-focus improvements for the camera in low-light conditions, and improved battery life while using Bluetooth. Phone Scoop says Verizon has confirmed it will begin pushing the Android 2.3 update to DROID X phones on May 27th. More →
If you just picked up a brand new Motorola DROID X2, here’s a deal you may want to take advantage of. The “Essentials Pack” for the DROID X2, which includes an HDMI cable, a multimedia station with HDMI-out (and an included wall charger), a navigation/music vehicle mount and a vehicle car adapter, is now available for $19.97 — a $30 discount. If you still have a DROID X sitting around, the whole kit should work just fine with that, too. Hit the jump for a link to Verizon’s website to take advantage of the deal. More →
Verizon announced on Monday that it will activate its blazing fast 4G LTE network in 23 new markets on June 16th. The service will soon be available in Hartford, Connecticut; Harrisburg, State College, and Erie, Pennsylvania; Dayton and Springfield, Ohio; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Sacramento and Fresno, California; Spokane, Washington; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Flint, Grand Rapids, and Lansing, Michigan; Indianapolis and Forth Wayne, Indiana; and Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Verizon also said that it will expand its existing 4G footprint in Detroit and the San Francisco Bay area, and that it remains on course to fill out its entire 3G footprint with 4G data connectivity by the end of 2013. So far we’ve reviewed two 4G-capable phones from Verizon — the HTC ThunderBolt and the Samsung DROID Charge — and the carrier’s LTE network has blown us away on both devices.
There isn’t anything quite like a dual-core Android handset to brighten up your Saturday, huh? We have just spent some time with the Motorola DROID X2 for Verizon Wireless, and while the external casing hasn’t changed much, this is indeed a very new phone. For starters, like we mentioned, that super-fast 1GHz CPU that powered the original DROID X is now a screaming-fast 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor. If that wasn’t enough, the screen now features qHD resolution, bringing the LCD into modern times. The DROID X2 still features an 8-megapixel camera around back, and also runs Android 2.2 with a 2.3 upgrade coming at some point. The UI is a little bit refreshed as well, and we like the four static apps on the bottom of every screen as opposed to the overlay that used to appear, which was viciously annoying. All in all, this is one of the fastest devices available on Verizon Wireless, and while it isn’t a 4G phone, it’s certainly one of our favorites already. There’s a few more hands-on photos in the gallery!
As much as we like Verizon Wireless’ second 4G LTE-enabled smartphone offering, $300 is a tough pill to swallow — even for the fastest smartphone we’ve ever reviewed. While the improved battery life and slimmer build probably do warrant a $50 premium over the HTC ThunderBolt, Verizon’s other 4G smartphone, its $250 asking price is a bit steep to begin with. As usual, however, AmazonWireless has swooped in with a sale price and undercut Verizon’s asking price by a cool $100. The new lower price of $199 is in line with what one might expect to pay for a smartphone on contract, and the DROID Charge is well worth it thanks to a 1GHz processor, a gorgeous Super AMOLED Plus display, an 8-megapixel camera and, of course, blazing fast 4G LTE speeds. Amazon’s $199 price tag for the DROID Charge is only available for a limited time, though no end date has been specified for the sale. More →