Friday, September 9, 2011

6 Ways the Motorola Droid Bionic Is Better Than the iPhone

Here are six ways the Droid Bionic scorches Verizon's iPhone, and some guesses about where the mysterious iPhone 5 will fit into all this.

1. LTE. Verizon's high-speed 4G network is ten times as fast as 3G, and it makes everything you do on the Internet better. Web pages load more than twice as fast as 3G. HQ YouTube videos load as quickly as standard-quality videos do on 3G phones. Verizon's iPhone is hobbled with the much slower 3G network, and I don't see that changing with the iPhone 5.

2. Webtop. I think Motorola's software to transform your phone into a desktop or laptop PC is visionary, useful and fun. Many other people (for instance, editor Sal Cangeloso) think I'm insane. But the fact remains: I don't think you're going to get a phone that snaps into a dock and turns into a laptop from anyone but Moto.

3. Better camcorder. Notice I don't say "camera." The Droid Bionic's still camera isn't that great—but its camcorder records 1080p high-def video at 30 frames per second, something the iPhone 4 can't match. I expect the iPhone 5 will have an even better camera than the Droid Bionic does, though.

4. Flash in the browser—and yes, it actually works. Even better, in Webtop mode the phone identifies itself as a desktop browser, so you can watch Hulu and play various Flash games on the Internet. Apple has sworn to destroy Flash, not absorb it.

5. Removable battery and memory. Old Android shibboleths, that's to be sure, but the Droid Bionic offers battery and memory options that no iPhone will ever touch. You can get a second battery, an extended battery, a wireless charging back, or expand the phone's memory with a MicroSD card.

6. Competitive app stores. There's one way to get apps for iPhones: the Apple app store. That's simple, easy, and clear. But the burgeoning competitive world of Android app stores is creating lots of great deals. Amazon and GetJar are offering different paid apps for free every day; if you shop around, you can get terrific apps for less dough.
Not all of these things will appeal to everyone, of course, and the iPhone has its own advantages: a better screen, a more pocketable size, a better still camera and even more apps than the Droid Bionic does.
The biggest deal here, though, is LTE. The difference between LTE and 3G is vast, whether you're streaming video, downloading files, using your phone as a hotspot or just surfing complex Web pages, and Verizon's LTE network is expanding fast. The Droid Bionic is just the latest phase in the Android LTE assault. Will Apple be left in the slow lane? We'll have to see when the iPhone 5 is announced.

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