Many people were impressed with Motorola’s announcement of MotoBlur, their custom social networking service for Android. However, their first Android phone (T-Mobile Cliq) was nothing to get excited about. The T-Mobile Motorola Cliq is based on Qualcomm’s MSM7201A chipset, the same one that powered the G1.
I had predicted we would see the Motorola Sholes at today’s event, but then received a last minute notice that the phone had been pushed back to an early December release. It now appears that the Sholes will be unveiled at Motorola’s Motodev Summit which takes place October 6, 2009. Unlike the Mobilize 09 event, we will be attending the Motodev Summit and plan to bring you the latest news.
Since we might have to wait another month for more official Sholes information, I thought I would share several features I have been able to uncover. The following list was compiled with information I have received from multiple sources.
Critics complain I spread a lot of rumors because I fail to reveal my sources, but I have communicated with current and ex-employees working on Sholes, people with access to Sholes demo units, and a few anonymous tipsters that have been very reliable.
Here are 10 reasons to consider saving your money and switching to Verizon:
1. First phone with Android 2.0
Regular readers of our site will not be surprised by this information, but I have been claiming for awhile that Sholes would be the first phone with Android 2.0. I’m still confident in this claim after multiple sources have confirmed it over and over.
I only doubted this information because of the late October launch date that had been floating around. Our recent report that Verizon will launch Sholes in early December, should allow Google enough time to put the finishing touches on Android 2.0.
2. Fastest Android phone
We were the first to report that Sholes would feature the Texas Instruments OMAP3430 chipset, which includes a 600 MHz core. That might not sound much faster than the Qualcomm 528 MHz processor we have seen in current Android phones, but the OMAP is a completely different architecture. I have been told Sholes will offer twice the performance of any competing Android phone when it is released.
Motorola announced that MotoBlur would be appearing on multiple Android phones and this includes the Sholes. MotoBlur offers many social networking enhancements over the standard Android operating system.
Check out the MotoBlur online simulator for a closer look at the new service.
4. Flash support
Sholes will include a version of Flash, but I do not know which one. HTC shipped Flash on their Hero phone, but it was a lite version based mostly off the older Flash 8. Adobe is set to release a beta of Flash 10 for Android at their upcoming Adobe MAX event on October 4, 2009. Since Sholes is coming in early December, I think there is a good chance it will be the first smartphone to ship with Flash 10.
5. Enhanced multitouch
Some phones like the HTC Hero have offered some multitouch features like pinch zoom, but this was an HTC addition and not part of the official Google version of Android. The Sholes multitouch should offer enhanced features because it is rumored to be a part of the Android 2.0 operating system.
6. Thinnest QWERTY Android phone
We can argue forever on whether people prefer a physical or virtual keyboard. Having used both the G1 and myTouch 3G, I can say without a doubt that the G1 offers much faster text entry. There is a learning curve for both input methods, but I will always prefer a physical keyboard.
The main complaint against slide out keyboards is the bulk they add to the phone. We compared the thickness of several Android phones and found the Sholes will be slimmer than the T-Mobile myTouch 3G or the Sprint Hero, both of which lack a physical keyboard.
7. Spoken turn-by-turn directions
The Sholes will feature spoken turn-by-turn driving directions, but I’m not sure which software will provide them. I speculated we might see Google Maps 4.0 offer spoken directions, but we have been unable to confirm this.
I have received mix reports from my sources. Some say this feature will be powered by Google Maps and others say it will be a separate application.
Motorola is offering Telenav on the Cliq phone, but that is with a different carrier. Each version of Google Maps is customized for the carrier, so it is possible this could be a Verizon exclusive.
Can Google monetize driving directions enough to offer the service for free? I think they can and that is why I still believe there is a chance we could see spoken directions in Google Maps 4.0.
8. Biggest screen on an Android phone
The Sholes will feature a 3.7 inch widescreen which will make it the biggest display found on an Android phone when it launches. The Sholes display also tops the one found in the iPhone 3G S.
The large widescreen will be great for watching high definition video. Motorola has signed a deal with Blockbuster and will be offering streaming content. I am also expecting Amazon will bring their video store to Android.
9. More storage than any Android phone
The first specs we posted claimed that Sholes would feature 512 MB of on board storage. Limited internal storage has been a major criticism of Android phones and 512 MB is the same amount featured in the myTouch 3G and Hero phones.
Only Samsung has offered a larger storage with their Galaxy (8GB) and Galaxy Lite (1GB) phones.
I have received new information that claims Motorola has bumped the internal storage to levels that will be competitive with the iPhone 3G S. Since Motorola is trying to keep the overall price down, I think we are more likely to see 16 GB, which is offered in the cheaper ($199) iPhone 3G S.
10. Chrome Sync
Google announced in August that their Chrome browser would sync bookmarks across multiple devices. It makes perfect sense that Google would bring this feature to Android in order to further promote both platforms. We were told that the lines between Chrome OS and Android would be blurred and I think this is an example of that. Note that this feature is slated for Android 2.0, but it should eventually appear on all Android phones.
After reviewing all the information that has been leaked about the Sholes, it appears this phone will match up nicely with the competition. Verizon has been longing for a phone they can put up against AT&T and their exclusive iPhone.
If all these features make their way onto the Motorola Sholes, how to you think it stacks up with the iPhone 3G S, Palm Pre, and competing Android phones?