It was exactly one year ago today that Verizon launched the Motorola DROID and things were never the same again. Prior to November 6th 2009, things were looking bleak for Motorola and Verizon’s hottest model was a feature phone. The LG enV Touch, a refresh of the Voyager, not only garnered some good reviews, it was Big Red’s closest competition to the Apple iPhone. Android was seen as an up and coming OS and the HTC Hero, offered by Sprint, was seen as the top of the line Android model.
Once Verizon started offering the Motorola DROID, it was like the Beatles landing at JFK for the first time. The first handset to be equipped with Android 2.0, the new build of Google’s open source OS was a quantum leap above the prior version. Here was a phone that could compete with the Apple iPhone 3GS with a fantastic browser, a 5MP camera and a slide out landscape QWERTY keyboard. Verizon customers, who had suffered with poor iPhone wannabe’s going back to the LG Voyager, finally had a handset that could not only stand next to Apple’s touchscreen device, but also beat out the latter to be selected as Time Magazine’s 2009 Gadget of The Year.
There is no question that Big Red threw a ton of money at advertising the Motorola DROID. The ads were flashy and different, qualities that could be used to describe the phone itself. Motorola, on the brink, had pulled off an amazing two-minute drive. All of a sudden, the Schaumburg based company was back in the game. Verizon, for a while, became the place to go for Android models as the HTC made Droid Incredible soon became the carrier’s flagship model. But the excitement was noticed by the other carriers and manufacturers. While the Motorola/Verizon combo started launching some mid-range models like the Motorola DEVOUR, it wasn’t until the Motorola DROID X with it’s 4.3 inch screen and the Motorola DROID 2 were released that Motorola had a model that surpassed the DROID on Big Red’s roster. Remember, without the success of the first model, there would never had been all of the other DROID models currently out or soon to launch.
Today, a year later, the Android platform is moving quickly toward becoming the second largest OS on the globe. Each of the top four U.S. carriers features a top-end Android handset running the Froyo build which gives users the capability to view Flash in the browser. Pinch-to-zoom is an afterthought and even Verizon customers don’t seem to care as much if the Apple iPhone heads their way. The T-Mobile myTouch 4G practically matches Apple’s device feature for feature. It feels like HTC rolls out an Android model almost every day
It all started 1 year ago today. No one could have guessed the impact that would be made by the Motorola DROID. And while the first-gen model has been eclipsed in many ways by the new crop of Android devices, those still using the handset still find it relevant with a ton of features that makes it still worth owning today. So, Motorola DROID, blow out the candles on your cake and let’s all sing Happy Birthday to the phone that changed everything.