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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Motorola Droid 2 Packs Android 2.2 Astromech Power

Verizon Wireless has officially launched the Motorola Droid 2 handset, including a special R2D2 limited edition version, for $200.

The Droid 2 has to be one of Verizon Wireless' worst-kept secrets in recent memory. Nearly every feature of the device has been leaked -- including images -- that have revealed pretty much everything we needed to know. Big Red finally got around to admitting that the device is real today. It will be available for pre-order Wednesday, August 11, and goes on sale Thursday, August 12, with Android 2.2 and Flash Player Mobile 10.1.

Like the original Droid, the Droid 2 is a sideways slider with a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. The five-way directional pad has been removed, and Motorola says the keyboard has been redesigned. Specifically, the keys have more contour and shape to them, making it easier to type with the Droid 2. The original Droid's keyboard was one of its worst features. This is a welcome improvement (though I'll still miss the D-pad).

If typing on keyboards isn't your thing, the Droid 2 will ship with Swype word-prediction software on board. This software lets users trace words across the software keyboard rather than peck them out. It includes speech-to-text input, as well.

Another feature that sets the Droid 2 apart from the original is the addition of Verizon's 3G Mobile HotSpot feature. For $20 extra per month, the Droid 2 can be used as a wireless modem. Up to five Wi-Fi devices will be able to connect to the Internet through the Droid 2. I still think this feature is overpriced, but it could negate the need for a separate modem. (It's a shame that Verizon isn't offering this feature to the original Droid.)

Other features include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.7-inch display, 5 megapixel camera, and support for DLNA-based media sharing. Verizon says the Droid 2 can capture "DVD-quality" video, but it doesn't record in 720p.

The Droid 2 has 8GB of internal memory, and will ship with an 8GB microSD card. It will support microSD cards up to 32GB for a total of 40GB of on-board storage.

Amusingly, Motorola and Verizon also announced that they will offer a special edition Star Wars version of the Motorola Droid 2 in September. The R2D2 Droid 2 will come with Stars Wars content and it will be made to look like R2D2 Astromech droid from the Star Wars film. Motorola didn't share a picture of the R2D2 version of the Droid 2.

So there you have it, the Motorola Droid 2, one of the first handsets to ship with Android 2.2 out of the box.

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