Verizon, Motorola Create a Faster Droid…at least when it comes to charging

by Matt Klassen on September 22, 2014

Although not the most popular Android smartphone, there’s no question that Motorola Mobility’s Droid franchise has been one of the most enduring, even if its popularity is hampered by its antiquated exclusive connection to one wireless carrier. According to inside sources, Verizon and Motorola will launch the latest Droid smartphone some time next month (no specific release details have been made available yet). While details are scant about device features and functionality, there is one new feature this Droid will bring to market: rapid recharging.

Verizon’s Droid Landing Twitter account has already teased the fast-charging capability, hinting at this being the flagship feature of the forthcoming phone. “Faster charging is a big deal. That’s why we made it a bigger deal,” the account said last week.

Unlike previous upgrade cycles for the Droid franchise, however, this latest round will see Verizon and Motorola release only one phone, as opposed to the two or three phones we’ve seen previously. But I have to wonder, with Apple releasing its latest round of products and Samsung still dominating the mobile market; will faster recharging be enough to set the new Droid apart? Can niche upgrades actually create a smartphone hit?

In this post-exclusivity era, where high-profile mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone 6 or Samsung’s Galaxy S5 are available on multiple carriers, the Droid franchise harkens back to a different time, one where premium phones were connected to certain carriers. But therein lies the problem for the Droid franchise, its Verizon exclusivity severely restricts its distribution base, putting it at a disadvantage before the newest models even hit store shelves.

Not only that, but even with this franchise reboot showing that both Verizon and Motorola are still behind the Droid brand, the fact that it is centered primarily around one feature (fast recharging) puts it at a distinct disadvantage against competitors (particularly Samsung) who will likely incorporate this feature into their products before the Droid even hits the market.

Now granted the Droid line gives Motorola a steady second stream of revenue, and secures Verizon’s love for just a little while longer, both positives for the former Google subsidiary now turned Lenovo mobile division, but that doesn’t mean it’ll make any sort of market impact, a disappointment for what was once a smartphone to be reckoned with.

In the end, while I’m not sure if Droid still does, at least I can say it’s still trying, bringing a useful recharging upgrade to market that will be imitated and implemented by its largest rivals likely before we can blink.

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