Ina Fried

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New Droids Offer a Glimpse of What’s to Come From Motorola

Although all three new Droid models are exclusive to Verizon Wireless, they include features that can be expected to show up on other devices from Google’s Motorola unit.

Droid Ultra

The custom X8 processor, touchless voice controls and an always-available active display are among the features that, while first appearing on the new Droids, are likely to be mainstays on upcoming devices.

“You can expect to see the X8 in everything we do going forward,” Motorola North American marketing head Brian Mehta said Tuesday at a Droid launch event in San Francisco.

The X8 contains a dual-core Qualcomm processor as well as that company’s graphics chip, but also contains custom Motorola-designed work.

Motorola’s Active Display, meanwhile, allows the clock and other notifications to be frequently visible without the power drain that would result from keeping the full screen constantly on.

Another feature, dubbed Motorola Connect, allows phone owners to receive incoming text messages and call notifications on their computer, thanks to a Chrome browser plug-in.

The first place where some of these features could next show up would be the long-awaited Moto X phone, which is set to debut next week in New York. That phone, which is made in the U.S., is expected to be broadly available from all the major carriers.

Motorola first confirmed its Moto X plans during CEO Dennis Woodside’s appearance at the D11 conference in May. Further details, including most of the phone’s specifications, have leaked out in recent days.

While the new Droids offer a good hint of what is to come from Motorola, a few features are Verizon-specific. The Droid-specific touches include the built-in Droid Zap beaming, the Droid Command Center hub and technology for migrating contacts, pictures and other information from an old phone.

With the launch of the new Droids, Verizon is tying that brand more closely to Motorola, saying that the brand will now be exclusively used with that company’s phones. While many past Droids were made by Motorola, some models were made by others, such as HTC.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald