NEW YORK--Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a guest appearance at a press conference here Wednesday where Google, Motorola, and Verizon Wireless unveiled the new version of the popular Android Droid smartphone.
Schmidt took the stage first and touted the importance of the smartphone category.
"This is not a toy or app engine," he said. "It is a powerful kind of operating system. What is happening now is that people are thinking mobile first instead of desktop first."
He cited the importance of a robust wireless network, as well as hardware with fast processors and big screens. But Schmidt said Wednesday's event is notable not just for the announcement of the new Droid, but for the emergence of the entire category of device.
Indeed, the new Droid X epitomizes this. The newest version of the Google Android phone made by Motorola offers an HDMI output, a 4.3-inch display, and 720p video capture. The device also comes with faster processors that will offer faster Web browsing. And it has an 8-megapixel high-definition camera.
John Stratton, executive vice president of Verizon Wireless, said the device is made for video. And there will be new apps designed to take advantage of these features, including a deal with Blockbuster to provide movies for purchase or rent.
The Droid X will cost $199.99 after a $100 rebate and will go on sale starting July 15. Unlike AT&T, which has switched to tiered pricing for its iPhone, Verizon said it will keep its unlimited mobile data plan for smartphones, which costs $30 a month.
The new Droid X also offers Wi-Fi hot spot capability, which allows users to connect up to five additional Wi-Fi devices to the Verizon 3G network. This feature will cost $20 extra a month for 2GB of data for the month. If users exceed the 2GB, they will pay 5 cents per megabyte.
Verizon is altering its upgrade policy to sweeten the deal for current customers looking to upgrade to the Droid. It will allow any Verizon Wireless customer whose contract expires in 2010 to upgrade to the Droid when it comes out on July 15.