Why the Motorola Droid Bionic Needs to Make a Big Splash

When I first wrote about why you should be waiting for Verizon’s 4G LTE dual-core smartphone, the Motorola Droid Bionic, one of the reasons I gave was that Motorola was going to have to make a big splash with the device. You see, there is a lot of pressure on the Droid Bionic to be good and I’ve had a lot of people asking me why. “It’s just another smartphone,” they’ve said. Not the case.

Droid Bionic

This is why I think Motorola and Verizon don’t need to hit a home run but an absolute grand slam with this phone.

Verizon Needs A Flagship 4G Device

As I’ve said time and time again, the three 4G LTE smartphones on the market right now are not flagship devices. If they didn’t have 4G LTE, they would have a hard time selling amongst the new crop of Android phones that are out right now. Verizon badly needs a flagship 4G device right now especially because its reign as the only true 4G LTE network (sorry, MetroPCS, your LTE network is just good 3G) will be coming to an end soon.

HTC ThunderBolt

Not cutting it.

AT&T is going to start deploying its 4G LTE network at some point this summer and that means that it will likely be getting some compatible devices that aren’t modems out by the end of the year. With all of the problems that the HTC ThunderBolt has been having, Verizon needs a device that is going to convince people not to wait for AT&T to roll out its network.

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The Motorola Droid Bionic is that phone and that’s why I think that this re-design was an extremely smart move.

No Room for Mistakes

Let’s face it. Motorola and Verizon pushed the Xoom out way too early. It just got SD card support in the U.S. after five months on shelves and it still has yet to receive the thing that was going to separate it from the iPad. 4G LTE support. Motorola has admitted that it was late to 4G LTE but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It has obviously been a learning process and that only means good things for the Droid Bionic.

The first design obviously had issues with 4G LTE and Motorola and Verizon were wise enough to delay the device in order to get it right. And while the phone isn’t out yet for me to know for sure, I have a pretty good feeling that the Droid Bionic is going to work just fine with Verizon’s LTE network.

If it doesn’t, both companies are going to lose the faith of a lot of customers and that does not bode well with the increasing competition.

The Horrors of Tiered Data

If you were unaware, Verizon introduced tiered data plans for new customers on July 7th. That means that Verizon just got extremely unattractive to prospective customers and the only way Verizon is going to be able to convince people to sign their name on the dotted line for these plans is to put out a stellar product that washes those qualms away.

I’ve heard from a few people that are waiting for this device to come out and they have told me that if this device has a fantastic set of specs and above average battery life, then they would be willing to lock into tiered data.

My thoughts exactly.

The Return of the iPhone

Apple is likely going to be releasing the next incarnation of the iPhone this fall in a phone called the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5. Now, we’ve already told you some reasons why the Droid Bionic might beat the iPhone 5 but I’ll touch on it again. Both AT&T and Verizon are going to be getting a new iPhone for sure. Sprint might also get it and T-Mobile has been rumored to be a player as well. The iPhone is also an iconic brand. People are going to buy this thing even if Apple only put in some minor upgrades.

iPhone 5 Prototype

However, it’s also likely not going to be a 4G LTE device and that gives the Bionic a trump card over it and gives Verizon a reason to want this thing to succeed. That being said, it’s going to have to have a lot going for it if it wants to compete with a new iPhone that may or may not be hitting four carriers.

And I believe it will.

  

Comments

  1. arb says

    I agree completely, if the Bionic has the feature set that I think it will, I’m signing on the dotted line, biting the tiered data bullet, and using wifi at home. A non-4g iPhone 5 will of course have its fans, but I won’t regret my decision at all.

    • muzicman61 says

      I bet you have patients that are glad you didn’t. :-)

      My daughter in law is a nurse too!

  2. Adam Truelove says

    I really want the Bionic to be awesome.  But I have a sinking feeling it will have 2 things:
    1) A locked bootloader (which may or may not be unlocked in the future)
    2) A pentile display. The same awful pentile display that the X2, D3, and Atrix has. Yuk.

    I really hope the SGSII comes out before xmas.  If it does, folks (especially those in 3G only areas) are going to have a hard time NOT buying the Samsung when it’s sitting next to a Motorola on the shelf.  Motorola makes big, heavy, industrial looking phones with not much consideration into the aesthetics of the hardware itself.  Samsung makes think, light, sexy phones, paired with a GORGEOUS screen.  TFT vs Super AMOLED is no comparison I don’t care what res the LCD is.  It would be nice if the Bionic had an IPS non-pentile LCD or something like that, but I suspect it will be a run of the mill, fairly average TFT, blah.

    • arb says

      Yeah, those Samsung displays sure are purty. I’ll definitely look at the Bionic in the store before pulling the trigger.

    • Dredezzil says

      I like the display that Samsung amoled’s put out but when ur lookn let’s say on Google where the background is mostly white it looks washed out and gray like a plasma display but colors and black levels are brilliant not to mention the energy consumption is relief to the battery life.

    • Rex_D says

      Don: Hi, my name is Don. How may I help you? 
      Rex Decker: Hey!  I have 1 quick question 
      Rex Decker: is the display on the Photon the same pentile display on the Droid X2? 
      Don: I will be glad to assist you on that. 
      Rex Decker: I can’t find any info on it on the Photon’s fact sheet… only that it is qHD 
      Don: Let me check this . One moment, please. 
      Rex Decker: ok 
      Rex Decker: Do you know if the Bionic will have the pentile type display as well? 
      Rex Decker: hello 
      Rex Decker: anyone there? 
      Rex Decker: :-( 
      Don: Please follow the link for details about the Photon:  http://gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/07/14/7083405-motorola-photon-4g-out-July-31-for-19999
      Rex Decker: link doesn’t work
      Rex Decker: states the link has too many re-directs

      a copy of my “CHAT” with a Motorola “rep”… seemed like a automated robotic service more than a real person

  3. muzicman61 says

    Nice to see an article that isn’t copying what the writer read on another blog.  And to see some real thought provoking analysis based on fact.

    If I knew for a fact the SGS2 was going to be LTE, I’d wait.  But I’ve been waiting for 7 months to get into my first smart phone so I will get the Bionic when it comes out.  Hopefully August 4th.

  4. Eddiemejia562 says

    I can’t wait for the Droid Bionic to come out and show every other smartphone the real deal!!!

        • A Nobler Way says

          Yeah, well you also have a picture of two guys grabbing each other’s butt…so you would think a phone like this is hot and slick…

        • Rex_D says

          A Nobler Way : What does that mean?  Gay guys like “ugly” phones?  Or 2 guys grabbing each others asses think “ugly” phones are hot and slick?  I’m afraid I’m missing your point.

      • cpug5150 says

        Latest photos I’ve seen looks like the Sharpest phone on the market. Check out the images on Amazon for the phone docks. There was also the same images in another Droid Bionic link, can’t remember which link, just Google Droid Bionic and look at the most recent links and you’ll find it.

  5. PortugueseBoy says

    I don’t know about anyone else but the Motorola Bionic will be Verizon Wireless’s last chance with me. I have been waiting since Jan. 2011 to upgrade and have been waiting on the Bionic. If  this device does not have a fantastic set of specs and above average battery life then they don’t deserve my business. I move on. Pretty simple.

    • Awilks23 says

      My thoughts exactly. I have been a loyal VZ/Motorola customer for years and this entire projected roll out of the Bionic has been utterly disgusting. It will be almost 8 months that we were told this thing would be coming out. The fact that VZ/Motorola has not kept their loyal customers up to date with ANY information is appauling. I will definately move on to another carrier if this Bionic is a flop and will never wait this long again for a phone to be released (when not being kept up to date).

    • Rex_D says

      What would you move on to?  Just curious.  I thought I might move to Sprint for the Evo or Evo 3-D, and MUCH better pricing….but then my mom, 2 sisters, Sister in Law, and Brother in Law came over all with their 5 Sprint phones.  They were losing data signal all night at my house, which is right in the middle of the city I live in and only 1 mile from where they all live.  Then I thought maybe AT&T.  They don’t have a whole bunch to chose from either.  The Atrix is not up to par IMO, neither was their HTC option.  The Samsung Infuse was VERY VERY nice…. but 1 phone isn’t enough to make me switch to AT&T, especially since their pricing isn’t any better than Verizon’s and I can get the Droid Charge on Verizon.  At Verizon I’ve checked out the Droid X2, the Thunderbolt, the Droid Charge, the Samsung Fascinate, the Droid 2 and 3, the Droid X 1, and the HTC Incredible 2…. all are very nice and comparable to other carriers phones.  I think Verizon would be smart to carry at LEAST 1 Nexus phone, or 1 HIGH END Galaxy S phone…. but what they offer is equal to the other carriers.  Have FAITH in the Bionic my friend…. so you don’t have to eat crow and admit you were almost a traitor when it comes out and is awesome!!!!

      • Rex_D says

        I have to admit.  A couple days ago I gave up and bought a Droid Charge.  After 3 days I love it!  Got Netflix today.  4g get’s turned on in my area tomorrow.  Motorola lost a customer.

  6. Joseph700 says

    People, like me, who are willing to wait for a device they anticipate will be worth the wait, should not engage in empty threats and posturing. Such remarks really do not affect a thing since the powers that be are already aware of the stakes. We will all find out what the Bionic really has in it when it comes out. 

    I for one, am happy they put it off to get things right. Most of my heavy surfing and streaming is still going to be on Wifi, but I am really looking forward to what 4GLTE speeds do to mobile data access performance. 

    The pentile issue is something to consider, but looking at the different reviews, there are some ways to overcome the worst pixelation found in the DroidX2 for example. It makes sense they are aware of that too, so power savings with a superAMOLED would be worth something to me. Contrary to most, I would even vote for a grayscale setting if it would save power and if they would give it to us.I also agree it is refreshing to read an article that came from a brain and not the copy and paste function of the mouse. 

    • Adam Truelove says

      “I for one, am happy they put it off to get things right.”

      You THINK they did this, no one knows what they did for sure until it comes out.  The hope is that they made it better but for all we know they could have just made Blur even worse and put even more bloatware on it which they might consider “extra features”.  They said they were incorporating changes suggested to them at CES, but I can guarantee no one at CES suggested anything truly useful like stock Android, an AMOLED screen, or an unlocked bootloader.  I can guarantee if I would have seen the pentile display at CES that would have been the first thing I would have harped about to the Motorola person showing me the phone.  My God is that X2 display terrible.

      • Mcshady says

        you have to keep a couple things in mind when you say these things: first, most people dont care about the locked bootloader…you can still easily root and get wireless tether and leaked updates even with the locked bootloader. second, dont assume that most people prefer stock android skins as opposed to blur. i along with tons of people prefer the blur skin over stock android, and even over sense..and especially over touchwiz. Finally, it would not be wise at all for motorola to use a super amolded screen, as that is pantented by their competition samsung, and the last company to do that, htc on the droid incredible, ended up shutting down their plant because samsung could not provide screens.

        so overall, motorola is making good decisions. the delay is 100% due to lte not working with tegra 2 processors…and while they are fixing that, motorola is looking at other upgrades like the 4.5 inch screen and nfc and inductive charging.

        im still waiting for the bionic because its still the best device by far to be released.

        • Dirkpitt says

          I haven’t heard they were looking at putting NFC and inductive charging, that would be awesome

  7. Ray D Wright says

    Great article. I can’t really fault Motorola for delaying the release to upgrade the phone. Looks like this phone can be poised to capture a lot of people’s hearts if they play their cards right. Instead of a phone that would have already been dated by now, Motorola will have a fresh phone out with specs comparable to the new Galaxy phone, and at least hold it’s own with any other dual core phone coming out the remainder of this year.looks like great timing. If this phone lives up to the hype, things will rosey for a while at Motorola.

      • Swizard98 says

        This is the third post you’ve made about it being ugly. I know you’re a little insecure about your looks…But their is no need to bring down a phone more beautiful than anything you’ll ever come up with.

  8. BrianB13 says

    I liked your article here Adam.  You make some good thought provoking points and you haven’t copied what other people are saying.  I wonder how many people out there that want a smart phone are already biased towards an Android phone or towards the iPhone.  Almost everyone I know is.  Some people absolutely swear by Apple products and wouldn’t think of getting anything else.  If the iPhone won’t have 4G LTE then forget it.  3G sucks!!  

    The Bionic doesn’t need to make a big splash as the Samsung Galaxy S II should come out sometime soon after the Bionic does.  There will be the Motorola Jet and Bullet coming early next year with a Tegra 3 processor.  The Bionic just has to work well.     

    • AGuest says

      I am an iPhone owner on AT&T. I left Verizon for the iPhone about 30 months ago. At first I was apprehensive about AT&T. But I have had no issues with them. I am currently considering the Bionic or other Android phone instead of the new iPhone (whatever it will be). I want a phone with larger screen, blazing speed, easy to use and good battery life. I don’t see that being offered in the next iPhone. Who wants to sign up for a two year contract for a 3G phone.

      If I choose the Bionic on Verizon, I give up my unlimited data plan on AT&T for a tiered plan on Verizon. But if the Bionic is a quality phone, it would be worth it. But it not only needs to be fast (on LTE) it needs to be easy to use and have significantly improved battery life over the current line of LTE phones.

      As for the Samsung Galaxy S2, it looks like it will be nothing more than an Android version of the iPhone with 3G on Verizon. Also not worth signing a two year contract. It should have been an LTE phone and Samsung would have hit it out of the park.

  9. CJ says

    4G speeds in my area are near 20Mbps…if phone is pretty or not may be only factor to consider for me!

  10. Kenneth Jennings says

    I enjoyed this article. It didn’t have any fanboyisms that I so often see. The facts were put out clearly, and even the speculations about the iPhone 5 sales were historically accurate.

    I use an original Droid that is starting to show its age. I have been waiting for the Bionic since the CES demo, even though it is not the same phone. I was extremely disappointed that the Droid 3 was 3G. I am used to using a keyboard… oh well. I’m not paying for 2 more years of 3G.

  11. muzicman61 says

    I see a lot of people blaming Motorola for the delay of the Bionic, but I wonder if Verizon might be playing their silly marketing games, and should really be the one to blame.  Hey, we can’t release another 4G LTE phone so soon after releasing the Thunderbolt and Charge… can we??? 

    Sure there may have been some issues initially with the Tegra 2 but I’m sure they fixed that quickly.  The rest of the delay vary may well be Verizon.

  12. Thatdroidguy says

    Assume article……but i dont know if im willing to give MOTO another 2 years to get it right. I started with the OG Droid then the X. Why didnt they put a front face camera on the X2? I think I may go with Sammy when I sign the dotted line….. BTW ….Big Red your on notice too…..improve your android love!!!!

  13. Rex_D says

    I don’t see why Motorola must make a SPLASH more than any other phone manufacturer must.  Not 1 phone out by ANY carrier or manufacturer is perfect or game changing.  I think Motorola has done a great job.  On Verizon the Droid 1-3, the Droid X-X2, the Droid Pro, and hopefully soon the Bionic have been good phones.  Why would the Bionic be any less?  The week a phone comes out it seems just AMAZING…. but then in a month it starts to look and feel less amazing.  I remember when the Thunderbolt came out and I thought “wow, this is going to be IT”, then I was disappointed a month later after reading reviews and blogs and comparisons.  Same thing with the Droid Charge.  Why is Motorola held to a higher expectation or standard?  Is it because we have grown accustomed to good things from Motorola?

    • PortugueseBoy says

      Rex,

      It must make
      a SPLASH because they have messed up soooooooooooo badly handling the Bionic
      and the poor communication to the public. Yes they pulled it back after finding
      out it had issues, but they should have done a better job of building/designing
      it in the first place! Now they have taken ALL this time to “rebuild”
      it along with not communicating the release date of it. Yes it better make a
      SPLASH or it will hurt their reputation and credibility. You do know that the
      cell phone division of Motorola spun off from Motorola and now is a separate
      company (Motorola Mobility) and have kind of been struggling. So this phone is
      a BIG DEAL in more ways than one.

      • Rex_D says

        I think only the underground Tech community and Android Fans even know that the Bionic was to be released anyway.  People are going to buy the Bionic because there isn’t much else to chose from, especially on Verizon.  There are only 3 LTE phones currently available and those who have been waiting will most likely buy it within a week or 2 of release.  Why?  Because those who have been waiting don’t want a Thunderbolt, or a Revolution, or a Charge.  I agree that the delay was irritating and kind of pissed me off… but I wasn’t so irritated the day the original Droid came out.  People can be pissed and pleased 5 times a day.  We’re easy to win over and to change loyalties.  All Motorola has to do is release a phone slightly better than the Charge and the T-bolt and people will flock. But I understand your point of view.  I just don’t see it as such a dire and dramatic situation.

      • Rex_D says

        I think only the underground Tech community and Android Fans even know that the Bionic was to be released anyway.  People are going to buy the Bionic because there isn’t much else to chose from, especially on Verizon.  There are only 3 LTE phones currently available and those who have been waiting will most likely buy it within a week or 2 of release.  Why?  Because those who have been waiting don’t want a Thunderbolt, or a Revolution, or a Charge.  I agree that the delay was irritating and kind of pissed me off… but I wasn’t so irritated the day the original Droid came out.  People can be pissed and pleased 5 times a day.  We’re easy to win over and to change loyalties.  All Motorola has to do is release a phone slightly better than the Charge and the T-bolt and people will flock. But I understand your point of view.  I just don’t see it as such a dire and dramatic situation.

  14. Junito says

      Nice article, but what you are asking for is a miracle. I’ve been with Verizon from the beginning, but to be honest tired of HTC & Motorola crap; tired of the lock screen, unresponsive screen, phone turning self on/off and bricks. And now Verizon wants us to pay for tier plans, yeah right. I’ll go back to my iPod touch and my dumb phone before my family and I make greedy Verizon richer. Last year made an estimated 6 Mdollars and can’t even throw us a bone, at least free text, even AT&Thief is allowing free mobile to (any carrier) mobile.

  15. Eddie says

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments. i have a Droid X, good phone, it doesn’t have a front facing camera, nor does the Droid X2, please explain that one to me. The Droid Bionic hopes has the features that is worthy of my upgrade we will see…….

  16. M3incorp999 says

    I’m like everyone else and waiting to see how the Bionic and the iPhone fares. I was leaning towards the iPhone to compliment the iPad but lack of 4G is a concern, especially since I live in an area with good 4G coverage. If the Bionic looks good and works well, that’s going to be the decision breaker. If it doesn’t fare very well, then I’ll see if the new iPhone has enough wow factor to make me forget the lack of 4G. If it doesn’t, then I’ll give one of the “Apple” fans $75 for one of their iPhone 4 phones they will be unloading cheap. If that happens, I’ll wait until the next round of “great” releases. I’m not due for a full upgrade discount until October so I have some time to see how the Bionic works out for everyone. Either way in October, I plan to smash my battery eating, forever booting Blackberry.

  17. cpug5150 says

    NOTE: If there we’re issues with the Bionic, by all means iron them out before releasing it. If you’re gonna make revisions based on consumer’s imput, perfect! Listen to the voices that use these things round the clock and keep you in business, that’s the way it should be.

    But here’s the thing. DON’T EVEN MENTION THE PHONE BEFORE YOU AT LEAST HAVE IT READY TO GO IN SHORT ORDER! What we don’t know about, we can’t get excited about. Don’t plant the seed, spread rumors, feed us cheese like we’re rats in a cage. Above all, don’t debut a phone at the CES when it’s freaking several months away from release as a whole new freakin phone. Eight months and now rumors of it not being released til September is absolutely rediculous and uncalled for. I hope Moto loses many customers because of it. And if the item is delayed, keep the public informed with concrete details as previous posts stated.

  18. Texasassassin1 says

    Can someone tell me why 4G is such a big deal with limited and tiered data? So now i can reach my data cap faster? Im grandfathered into AT&T unlimited, so that’s why im staying. Unlimited 3G is better then limited 4G IMO.

    • M3incorp999 says

      Texas, remember there are those that are grandfathered to Verizon unlimited data also. So why not get a phone that is 4G and download much quicker than 3G. Do a quick google and check out the latest test done with 4G phones on the 4 major networks. Verizon 4G delivered superb speeds followed by Tmobile who still fell behind quiet a bit and AT&T behind TMobile and Sprint brought up the rear. For those that do a lot of streaming and data downloads, then speed matters. True if you are tiered you could possibly hit your limits faster…….that is if you suddenly change your habits and need to download a lot more than used to, simply because the downloads are faster. I’m all for 4G just as I was for cable, DSL and anything else that was faster than dial-up.

    • M3incorp999 says

      Texas, remember there are those that are grandfathered to Verizon unlimited data also. So why not get a phone that is 4G and download much quicker than 3G. Do a quick google and check out the latest test done with 4G phones on the 4 major networks. Verizon 4G delivered superb speeds followed by Tmobile who still fell behind quiet a bit and AT&T behind TMobile and Sprint brought up the rear. For those that do a lot of streaming and data downloads, then speed matters. True if you are tiered you could possibly hit your limits faster…….that is if you suddenly change your habits and need to download a lot more than used to, simply because the downloads are faster. I’m all for 4G just as I was for cable, DSL and anything else that was faster than dial-up.

    • M3incorp999 says

      Texas, remember there are those that are grandfathered to Verizon unlimited data also. So why not get a phone that is 4G and download much quicker than 3G. Do a quick google and check out the latest test done with 4G phones on the 4 major networks. Verizon 4G delivered superb speeds followed by Tmobile who still fell behind quiet a bit and AT&T behind TMobile and Sprint brought up the rear. For those that do a lot of streaming and data downloads, then speed matters. True if you are tiered you could possibly hit your limits faster…….that is if you suddenly change your habits and need to download a lot more than used to, simply because the downloads are faster. I’m all for 4G just as I was for cable, DSL and anything else that was faster than dial-up.

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