Droid Turbo supercharges Verizon's franchise with 2
The smartphone, built by Motorola Mobility, will feature a battery that can last up to 48 hours and a Turbo Charger that can provide 8 hours of use on a 15-minute charge.
NEW YORK -- For the Droid Turbo, the latest smartphone from Verizon Wireless and Motorola Mobility, it's all about endurance.
Verizon and Motorola on Tuesday unveiled the latest smartphone in Verizon Wireless' flagship Droid franchise, and it features a whopping 3,900-mAh battery that the companies claim will last up to 48 hours. The smartphone also packs a 5.2-inch Quad-HD display, a 21-megapixel camera able to capture 4K video and 3 gigabytes of RAM. Capping off the power theme, it also comes with a Turbo Charger able to provide 8 hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge.
The Droid Turbo will go on sale on October 30 starting at $200 with a two-year contract. A 64GB version will cost $250.
The new kid in the Droid franchise makes the most out of what has worked in the past: an emphasis on a long-lasting battery. The Droid family stands as an outlier in a business where it's the smartphone brand that matters, and companies such as Apple and Samsung distribute their products across all carriers, eschewing exclusivity agreements. While Motorola is the exclusive vendor for Droid smartphones, it's a franchise conceived and owned by Verizon, which licensed the Droid name from Lucasfilm.
For Verizon, the franchise still has legs because a subset of its customers both are loyal to the Droid brand and consider themselves power users who value battery life above all else. Droid remains a highly visible part of Verizon's stores, often sharing the same kind of billing as the iPhone.
It's also a valuable product for Motorola. While the company's primary focus is on its own Moto line of smartphones and, to a lesser extent, the recently unveiled Nexus 6, the Droid Turbo provides an additional boost in sales and brand recognition, and is critical to maintaining its strong relationship with Verizon. That partnership is one of the reasons why Chinese consumer electronics vendor Lenovo agreed to buy Motorola from Google.
Unlike the prior two Droid launches, which each yielded a set of three smartphones, Verizon and Motorola this time around decided to go with a single device emphasizing the battery, an indication that the Droid Maxx, which has a 3,500-mAh battery, was likely the only product among last year's set that performed well.
But the popularity of Droid has waned since the original smartphone launched in October 2009. That phone, the result of collaboration between Motorola, Google and Verizon Wireless, was backed by a $100 million marketing campaign and was considered the first worthy competitor to Apple's iPhone, back then an AT&T exclusive.
The dynamics have changed. Apple's iPhone has since gone across every major wireless carrier, while Samsung rose to prominence with its Galaxy S franchise. Smartphone manufacturers such as HTC, LG and Motorola have opted to sell their best smartphones through all of the carriers rather than strike exclusivity deals. Last month, Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to critical praise and long lines at its stores. Earlier this month, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 4 and Google and Motorola released the Nexus 6.
While no longer a blockbuster hit, the Droid franchise persists even as other smartphones have flopped, including Amazon's Fire Phone and the HTC First 'Facebook' phone, both exclusives to AT&T.
As with the Moto smartphones, the Droid Turbo comes with Motorola apps such as Moto Display and the ability to wave your hand over the phone to dismiss a call or silence an alarm. It also features Droid Zap, an app designed to help users share pictures and videos with nearby friends or your television.
The Turbo features a Kevlar fiber body in metallic black, metallic red and black ballistic nylon. The Turbo will come with 32GB, while there is a Droid Turbo in black ballistic nylon for 64GB.
Motorola said that the company was working with Verizon Wireless to guarantee an upgrade to Android Lollipop, and is compatible with its planned voice-over LTE service.
Verizon is offering a few promotions for the Droid Turbo, including a $100 trade-in value for an old smartphone and the purchase of the device. The carrier is also waiving its upgrade fees if a customer purchases the Turbo. The carrier is also offering any customer who damages their Turbo screen a one-time free replacement.