Aug 07 AT 4:03 AM Taylor Wimberly 60 Comments

Motorola Sholes for Verizon: New predictions and CPU specs

I had fun this week speculating what CPU would be featured in the upcoming Motorola Sholes (Android phone) for Verizon.  We were hoping it might be the first Snapdragon based Android phone, but it looks like I was wrong.  Several readers kept suggesting it was a Texas Instruments processor instead, but I could find no connection with Motorola.

Using the power of Google search, I think I found the missing link.  Look at this info taken from the LinkedIn profile of a Motorola employee with the title “3GSM Reference Design Principal Staff Firmware Engineer at Motorola”.

omap3430_540He list all kinds of interesting information, but all we care about is Android.  Clearly, Motorola is working on an Android device with the TI OMAP 3430 processor and it’s not the Morrison.  With this new info in hand, the pieces of this Sholes puzzle are starting to come together.

New Predictions

1. Sholes will have a TI OMAP 3430 processor

As cool as it would have been to get a Snapdragon phone, it looks like we will have to wait till 2010.  The Texas Instruments OMAP3430 is a more mature processor and ready for mass production at an affordable price now.  Noteable phones to feature the OMAP3430 include the Palm Pre, Sony Ericsson IDOU, and the Samsung OMNIA HD.

We could spend an entire post on the OMAP3430, but I’ll just give you the highlights.  The OMAP3430 has a 600 MHz CPU and contains a PowerVR SGX 530 GPU.  For detailed information on the OMAP3430, please see Texas Instruments or Imagination Technologies.

2. Sholes will ship with Eclair(Android 2.0?) and feature serious gaming

Google worked very closely with T-Mobile and HTC to bring us the G1.  The launch was a success and Google is going to double their efforts with Verizon and Motorola.  Verizon is the largest carrier in North America and Google will use this opportunity to showcase Android.  Sholes is going to be the new flagship device for Android in 2009.

We know the upcoming Donut branch is not Android 2.0.  According to the Reuters interview with Andy Rubin last week, Eclair is likely to get the 2.0 love and be ready to ship this year.  Donut is set to include many UI enhancements and Eclair looks to focus on multimedia and gaming.

Rubin said, “You can start really thinking about serious gaming like you would on a Nintendo DS or a PSP handheld.”  This makes perfect sense because the OMAP3430 supports the latest OpenGL ES 2.0 standard.  Google also recently released the Android Native Development Kit and is hard at work on an upgrade.  Browsing Google groups I found this info on the NDK, “In a future release we hope to support linking with OpenGL ES and audio libraries, which should enable high-performance games.”

Native support for OpenGL ES 2.0 + hardware acceleration from the PowerVR SGX 530 = mobile gaming device more powerful than a Sony PSP or Nintendo DSi

3. Sholes will sell for $199

Verizon just slashed the prices on most of their smartphones to $99.  Boy Genius Report speculated “new crap is coming” and he was right.  Given the current wireless market, $199 is the obvious price for the Motorola Sholes.  It has comparable specs to the Palm Pre and iPhone 3Gs which also debuted at $199.

If Verizon wanted to get super aggressive I suppose they could subsidize the phone at a lower price.  This would be quite amazing, but I don’t see it happening.  The $199 price tag is justified for Sholes and I don’t think people are going to complain over that.

Given that Sholes could possibly ship with Android 2.0, I’m going to change my targeted launch date from October to late November.  I would expect to see Sholes right before Thanksgiving.

Summary of the leaked specs for Sholes:

  • OMAP3430 – 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX 530 GPU + 430MHz C64x+ DSP + ISP (Image Signal Processor)
  • Dimensions 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
  • Weight 169 g
  • Battery Li-ion 1400 mAh.
  • Standby 450 hours, talk time 420 minutes
  • 3.7-inch touch-sensitive display with a resolution of 854×480 pixels, 16 million color depth. Physical screen size is 45.72 mm by 81.34 mm.
  • 512MB/256MB ROM/RAM
  • microSD / microSDHC expansion slot
  • Camera: 5.0 megapixel with autofocus and video recorder
  • Connectivity: USB2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, Wi-Fi
  • Supported audio formats: AMR-NB/WB, MP3, PCM / WAV, AAC, AAC +, eAAC +, WMA
  • Supported video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, WMV
  • GPS navigation
  • Package Contents: Phone Motorola Sholes, battery, charger, USB cable, 8GB MicroSD memory card and other literature.

p.s. given the huge role that sholes will play, i have a hard time seeing verizon cripple android.  i expect the full google experience.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • khaosbot

    is it just me or is the Sholes in the picture next to the motorola logo backwards

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Ok, I flipped it back for you. :)

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  • William Furr

    The goggles, they do nothing! (Typo in your p.s.)

    Interesting to see the convergence between gaming handheld and phone, beyond the level of the stupid ngage. I’m disappointed to see a fairly small battery. 3D accelerated games are going to be battery hogs. Tycho from Penny Arcade had some words about this some time ago, about gaming on the iPhone:

    “If you were under the impression that the PSP was short on Battery Life, you should try gaming on the iPhone. The very moment you execute an application, a starving beast is set loose in the machine. You can feel the heat of its blood on your palm. This is one thing if you’re talking about a gadget decoupled from the normal operation of your life – the PSP and the DS are adjuncts. When you are instead talking about a piece of equipment that – in terms of life operation – ranks near to the lungs, it’s another matter entirely.”

    Also, I can’t wait until other manufacturers like Samsung start to get in this game, since I refuse to buy any Motorola products.

  • Droidhead

    This device will need all it can to make it in the world of Android to stand out. Also will need to “pack a punch” in order to save the sinking ship that is Motorola.


  • ybandg

    As bummed I am bout no Snapdragon, I hope you are right about the OMAP3430.. at least this thing won’t be saddled w/ the current 528mhz CPU that’s in the G1, Magic, and Hero. HW accel graphics on a 3.7″ touch screen w/ full qwerty? You may have just confirmed what I kinda already knew in my head.. as much as I love the Hero, the Sholes will be my next phone.

    Maybe this is a sign of a new day for us Verizon customers. I’m just a lil worried about their who new “App Store” stance…

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  • scoobie

    What about UK?
    Will it be coming to Europe?

    • daft idiot


  • SuperD

    Does anyone know if Motorola / Verizon have plans for some type of cool UI to run on top of Android (a la HTC’s Sense)?

  • codethief

    I just hope it will have a decent keyboard. I fear I’m gonna miss my G1′s 5-row keyboard…

    By the way, how come the Sholes is not going to support OGG? That makes absolutely no sense because as far as I know OGG is the default audio format on Android.

  • webby

    Sholes is the Android flagship for 2009?? So what is the HTC Hero, chopped liver??

    If anyone can & will cripple Android, it will be Verizon. Plus look for their logo to be plastered everywhere possible on both the hardware & software — that is what they do.

    • Crypto

      Possibly we could say “Sholes is the Android with Keyboard flagship for 2009″, …. “HTC Hero is the non-keyboard Android flagship for 2009″.

    • gatekeeper2000

      Look closely at the image in the article – there’s already a light Verizon logo on the lower right corner of the phone (lower right when phone is rotated 90 deg. )

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  • TareX

    Why didn’t they go for Tegra????

    Just look at the horrendous battery life of the Palm Pre… Android is already power hungry, and should benefit a LOT from Tegra…

  • TC

    without a compass it wont be able to use some of the most interesting Android apps

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  • D

    It has a compass, It supports OGG.
    Sholes is a Google Experience device. It will be the first one to get Eclair. Google blesses certain devices as “Google Experience” for major releases (1.0 was the G1 2.0 will be Sholes)

    HTC Hero is not a Google Experience device.

    • SDscorch

      maybe not the euro version – but sprint’s is “with google”

  • SliestDragon

    If there isn’t any news of a new/better android phone coming when this comes to stores, I might just get this. I have been wanting a phone with a better processor.

  • TKane

    Assuming Verizon doesn’t totally screw this chance up and cripple the sholes, I will probably be in line to get this puppy on day 1.

    • Jeff Rash

      Knowing Verizon they will, I’ll wait and see what they screw up first. I expect tethering to be disabled. I hope all the root access features will be there, like on the G1. We will see.

  • wallyson

    169 Grams? The G1 weighs in at 158 and is one heavy piece of equipment to place in my khakis. That is the one spec that made me frown.

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  • bstring

    Heavy, yes but look how this it is. Even with a slider keyboard, it’s 1.3mm thinner than the MyTouch.

  • Jeff

    Verizon hurry up!!

  • lauren

    i am only buying this phone if it comes out soon lik latest early october because i want a new phone already this phone looks cool but i cnt wait this long!

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  • http://none barclay

    alright. so i’m relatively technically inclined for a layman, and I am voraciously opposed to supporting a provider that takes something pure (android) and destroying it with their own UI and walled garden (verizon flushed apps).

    When reading comments on the internet, I believe there is a lot of negative energy around verizon pushing their controls. However, they have been doing it successfully for years. Are those vilolently opposed in the vast minority? Do we rant and rave and not do anything? Do we have any power?

    My question and challenge to those in this blog and myself, is how do we convince verizon it’s in their best interest not to mangle the os? Is it possible? Do we boycott? Is there really going to be support? Does verizon care? Are there hackers out there that will retaliate?

    My intuition is that despite our best efforts, it doesn’t really matter, maybe a little in the long run but certainly not in the short run. When it boils down to it, we’re just screamers with little backbone.

    Someone, please give me an idea I can proudly realign my backbone with.

    • SDscorch

      no, vzw doesn’t care

      yes, boycott

      yes, the xda guys will pwn this phone too

      if you like the phone and if you can put w/ vzw’s extortionist rates, get it


  • Anom

    wifi access? I will be amazed if verizon doesn’t cripple this feature.

    • Sanj

      Verizon already has phones with wifi enabled (ie: XV6800). It’s crippled in other ways, but wifi is there.

  • drum365

    “p.s. given the huge role that sholes will play, i have a hard time seeing verizon cripple android. i expect the full google experience.”

    Really? I hope you’re right, but I really, really doubt it.

  • Whitson

    I am super afraid that Verizon is going to cripple this like they do all their other phones. Although how badly have they really crippled smartphones like those from HTC (I know they’ve hardly done anything to Blackberries)? Regardless, VERIZON IS WHAT HACKING WAS INVENTED FOR. No doubt someone will find a way to hack this thing into oblivion and we will all get the “Google Experience” that we want.

    • SDscorch

      see, “hacking” the google experience onto a non-google experience phone is just stealing from google – google’s on the good-guy side, gentlemen

      for a carrier to have a google exp phone, there’s backroom deals going on – meaning, google gets $$$ for their apps

      by going around them, google gets screwed

      congratulations :/

      best answer… boycott vzw – wait till sholes is no longer exclusive to vzw and buy it on t-mo or sprint

      • VZWorBust

        Tmob and Sprint have the WORST coverage for phone calls, hands down. If it’s not on AT&T or VZW pass it up folks.

  • paul

    well if Google is giving it the “Google Experience” tag I think it would be hard for Verizon to cripple the phone. If they did Google wouldn’t give the phone that title. We won’t have to do the fighting to keep it open, Google will.

    • prayingintx

      Dear Lord, please let this poster be right. :)

      I am dying to start playing with Android, but Verizon has been very good to me.

      From what I can tell, my Palm Centro has all the same functionality as the non-Verizon versions.

  • Coolbreeze

    Ready for Android!! If the Motorola Sholes does not release this year I’ll kiss Verizon good bye!! I’m not a fan of the Crackberry…! I’m not on Obama’s nuts not a follower. All I see is Blackberries everywhere like its a drug to have that phone. Android is the future so Verizon listen up and jump on the band wagon before its too late.

  • The Doctor

    No thanks. I’ve suffered through 5 phones from Motorola. I’ve FINALLY learned my lesson. The company should do everyone a favor and get out of the business.

  • Lily Maua

    if this is coming to verizon, i’ll jump the dumbphone ship and cross over. this is the first android smartphone that actually appeals to me.

  • Quickster357

    they won’t mangle the wifi. VZW stated that every new smart phone will now have it. It will also benefit you by not having to use your semi-unlimited download, which is actually a 5GB download cap. So using your wifi you can download as much as you want without VZW even knowing about it.

    • Quickster357

      you will be forced to subscribe to the 29.99/mo web + email plan. all smart phones (Android=smart phone) made after november 8-2008, must be accompanied with a data plan per VZW’s company policy. However, the data plan is “unlimited data” which actually is not the case and has a 5GB cap, unfortunately.

  • Jeff

    Looking at this…

    Don’t we want to cross our fingers for the OMAP3630 since it’s made on the 45nm process? Smaller chip, less real estate, less power or more performance…anyone know enough to comment on this?

    I’m still going to be on my T-Mobile contract for a while with my G1, and while I’m not against paying to get out of the contract I semi-promised myself I would wait for Snapdragon at 800MHz to 1GHz before I upgraded. This sounds like a significant boost though.

  • Jon

    Who the hell designed this site to post comments one word per line. This is the most frustrating thing to read throgh. Even if there were comments worth reading my eyes and head can’t handle scrolling the screen every 5 seconds. FIX THIS!!!

  • Nosh

    I am actually excited for the release of motorola sholes, and if the features and everything seem good then I might even buy it or im going for some nokia phone…

    Seeing the features that have been leaked, it doesnt seem like such an impressive phone, but I guess the thin qwerty keyboard is what attracted me.

    Hopefully they will release the phone soon and yeah $199 does sound fine =)

  • John

    verizon = evil
    google = verizon
    google = evil?

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  • franki

    Loved the design till I saw the space was in the middle of a row of letter keys. Keyboards like that always throw me way off and is a horrible learning curve for some reason.

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  • SDscorch

    Tmob and ATT have the WORST coverage for phone calls. If it’s not on Sprint or VZW, pass it up!!

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