Motorola Sharpens Droid RAZR Lineup with RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD and RAZR M

Motorola Droid RAZR HD

Motorola tried to snatch the smartphone headlines from Apple and Samsung Wednesday by introducing three robust additions to its Android lineup: The muscle-bound Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD and the affordable, but still power-packed Droid RAZR M.

The Droid RAZR M, which has a 4.3-inch display, is available now for $100 when purchased with a two-year service plan. No specific dates or prices were announced for the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD, which have 4.7-inch screens. All come with 1.5 GHz dual-core processors, 1 GB of RAM and front- and rear-facing HD-video-capable cameras. [Update: The Droid RAZR HD is now available for $200 and the Droid RAZR MAXX HD is $300, in both cases when purchased with a two-year service plan.]

“I’m here to tell you that the new Motorola starts today,” said Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola Mobility, now a part of Google. “In many ways, Google and Motorola have only just begun.”

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside talks to the press as the image of Martin Cooper, who led the Motorola team which invented the mobile phone in 1973, looms behind him. Cooper was in attendance at the New York press event.

Motorola’s three new RAZR models offer 4G data speeds via the LTE network from Verizon Wireless, long-lasting batteries and are the first to ship with Google’s Chrome for Android Web browser, which has a handful of finger-friendly features.

For example, to switch between tabs on Chrome you simply swipe your finger from one side of the screen to the other. A swipe to the side also gets rid of a tab while you’re looking at a group of them. Users also have the option of synchronizing bookmarks with Chrome browsers on other devices. Unlike the standard Android Web browser, Chrome has no limits on the number of tabs you can have open at once.

According to Motorola, the Super AMOLED displays on the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD have 78 per cent more pixels than the original DROID RAZR, resulting in a sharper, smoother-looking display. The key difference is that the Droid RAZR HD, available in black or white, comes with a lithium-ion battery which provides 24 hours of battery life while the thicker RAZR MAXX HD (black only) has a larger battery which promises 32 hours of phone use per charge.

Droid RAZR M

The Droid RAZR M, which is available in black or white, has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen and a narrow bezel, which allows it to offer the same size screen as phones with larger bodies, including the original Droid RAZR. Its 2,000 mAH battery provides 20 hours of battery life, according to Motorola. The new RAZR phones also offer power-management controls that can further enhance battery life.

Like its larger siblings, the Droid RAZR M has an 8-megapixel camera on the back but has a lower-resolution, 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera while the other two new RAZR models have 1.3-megapixel front cameras.

During a demonstration at Wednesday’s press event a Droid RAZR HD unit provided remarkably sharp and smooth HD video playback even with bright ambient light. As expected, the new RAZR models are thin. The RAZR M comes in just under a third of an inch, the RAZR HD is just over a third of an inch thick and the RAZR MAXX HD is slightly fatter at 0.37 inches thick.

Woodside noted that not only will all of  the new RAZR phones be upgraded from Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) later this year, but added that all Motorola smartphones capable of handling the new software will get it as well. Owners of Motorola smartphones that can’t be upgraded to Jelly Bean can get a $100 credit toward a new phone, he said.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the Motorola RAZR product launch in New York.

“They really shouldn’t be called smartphones, they should be called mobile computers,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who led off the press event.

How will the new RAZR entries compete with the Samung Galaxy S3, the current and future Apple iPhone and recent entries from Nokia, LG, HTC and others? The holiday shopping season will provide the answer soon enough.

Text, video and images © Copyright 2012

Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features

HP Photosmart eStation: Take One ‘Tablet’ and Call Me When My Boarding Pass is Ready

All-in-one inkjet printer has a detachable Android-based color control panel which looks and acts like a tablet, but isn’t.

So what can you get in a $399 all-in-one printer in 2010? Answer: The HP Photosmart eStation, a unit with a detachable, wireless Android-based control panel. The seven-inch color touch screen offers a full Web browser and a selection of HP Web apps, including an airline app that will print your boarding pass in four clicks.
At the HP Imaging and Printing Group Innovation Summit in New York Monday, HP showed how the eStation’s panel can surf the Web without a PC and can download and print out online documents. Like other printers announced this year, the Photosmart eStation supports HP’s ePrint feature, which allows you to e-mail print jobs to the printer from any Web-connected device.
The control panel is similar in size and shape to many of the new Android-based tablets like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, but even though it’s based on the Android 2.1 operating system, it’s not configured to act an independent tablet. 
While it does have a solid Web browser, supports multi-touch image resizing and rotates the image from portrait to landscape orientation as needed, it doesn’t have a memory card slot and it doesn’t have access to the apps in Android Market. It does, however, function as an ebook reader and to that end has access to the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. The control panel has a little more heft than some of the newer tablets but has a solid feel and proved very responsive.

Already installed in the control panel are apps for Facebook, Yahoo, the Snapfish online photo service and other websites. Also installed is a Delta Airlines app, the first of what HP representatives said would be a handful of links to airline ticketing systems. The app will allow users to print out their board passes in four clicks, HP said. The control panel will evolve over time and more apps may be added in the future, HP representatives said.
The eStation can send faxes over the Internet, thus negating the need for a telephone line, and supports two-sided printing. According to HP, the unit can generate up to 33 black and white pages or 32 color pages per minute, its scanner tops out at 1,200 by 2,400 dots per inch and the unit supports the 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi standards.

Video, photo and text Copyright 2010 Stadium Circle Features