Sprint Poaching Motorola Droid X2 from Verizon, Launching as Photon 4G?
Sprint may be adopting another handset from Verizon Wireless–the Now Network had previously announced that it will be launching the Verizon Motorola Droid Pro as the Motorola XPRT on its network–and this time it’s the Droid X2, which would launch as the Photon 4G. Rumors are circulating that the Photon model name, which was leaked back in April, will be a Motorola handset with a qHD display, dual-core Tegra 2 processor, and probably come with the same 4.3-inch display as the Motorola Droid X2 on Verizon Wireless.
If true, it looks like Verizon Wireless will be losing exclusivity of Motorola handsets in the United States. After the two mentioned companies, together with Google, launched the original Droid 1 in the U.S., heavy marketing blitz turned Android into a household name and began to change the luck of Motorola, which was entering into a downhill spiral since the days of the RAZR. At the time, the original Droid was said to have been created for Windows Phone 7, but Microsoft had delayed what was then rumored to be Windows Mobile 7 to release a stepping stone OS release in the form of Windows Mobile 6.5. Motorola, upset, turned to Android, and its fate and history with Verizon was sealed.
Though Motorola has continued to release GSM variants of the CDMA/EV-DO smartphones on Verizon, the company didn’t introduce the same models to other carriers in the U.S., suggesting that Verizon Wireless had a U.S. exclusivity with Motorola on design. Motorola did release other smartphones for other U.S. carriers, including the Motorola Bravo and Flipside for AT&T, the Cliq, Cliq2, and Charm for T-Mobile, and the Motorola i1 for Sprint-Nextel’s iDEN network, to name a few.
That exclusivity seems to be ending. Sprint had recently announced that it would be releasing the Motorola XPRT–pronounced ‘expert’–for its network, which is based on the same Motorola Droid Pro design for Verizon Wireless as well as the GSM-based Motorola Pro, which is sold internationally.
While handsets released by Motorola for other carriers come pre-bundled with Motorola’s proprietary and custom user interface, called MOTO BLUR, that experience is still absent on Verizon’s handsets, which may suggest that at least part of Motorola’s deep relationship with Verizon remains intact. Verizon’s handsets come with a slightly modified version of MOTO BLUR, but offers many of the same functionality, including unified inbox with social network, deep social networking integration, customized widgets, and more. Additionally, what I come to appreciate most from Motorola’s interface is that if I don’t care for the widgets or add-ons, I can always remove them and go to a near stock Android look if I choose. Moreover, the widgets are re-sizable, giving users the ability to either emphasis a widget’s importance by giving it more space on a screen, or add more widgets to the screen by making individual widgets smaller to fit more in.
We’ll definitely have to wait and see if Sprint’s Photon 4G by Motorola will actually resemble the Motorola Droid X2. If it launches soon, the Photon 4G may best Verizon’s Droid X2 even if the two sport the same form factor and design as the Photon would support 4G WiMax networking while the Droid X2 supports 3G on Verizon’s CDMA/EV-DO network.