Motorola’s Droid Bionic is finally ready for the masses, albeit months later than expected in a delay that hurt the phone maker’s financial picture this summer. The phone appears to be a top-notch Android device, but at a price that might cause some prospective buyers to flinch.
Before Motorola’s decision to sell the company to Google became the top story around the original mobile phone maker, the delay of the Bionic was perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of the year for the company. CEO Sanjay Jha didn’t mince words earlier this year in addressing how the Bionic launch fell from the second quarter until now, telling financial analysts “our execution needs to get better.”
But the Bionic is here, well ahead of the holiday shopping season and with a lead of a few weeks on the iPhone 5. Early reviews are excellent: BGR said it “could be the best smartphone to ever grace Verizon Wireless’ airwaves, and that includes 3G and 4G devices.” USA Today opined “I’ve been using the Bionic for about a week and it’s easily the best phone I’ve used all year.” And CNET said “The Motorola (NYSE: MMI) Droid Bionic is everything you want from a high-end smartphone–it’s sleek, fast, and powerful, with features that will please both consumers and business users–if you’re willing to pay the high price.”
That might be the one drawback to the Bionic, and a sign that Motorola is trying to find a way to make more money from its smartphones. The Bionic will cost $299 with a two-year contract for Verizon’s services, and that’s among the more expensive options one will encounter when shopping for a new phone.
Unlike Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Bold, which also costs $299, Motorola does seem to have come up with a crowd-pleaser and so therefore might be able to justify the price. The device comes with 32GBs of storage split between internal hardware and an SD card, comparable to the iPhone 4 at the same price, and will ship with Android 2.3, the most-recent version of Android developed for smartphones.
The Android world is a fast-paced one, with Samsung’s Galaxy II S challenging the Bionic for the title of best Android phone on the market, and several other devices expected later this year when the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android is released. They’ll of course have to compete with the release of the iPhone 5 around the same time, but it seems that Android partners are continuing to find ways to improve their products. If only the same could be said for their tablet efforts.