Motorola Debuts Droid Pro With BlackBerry in Its Sights

Motorola is stepping up its bid to compete in the enterprise mobile market with its latest smartphone, the Droid Pro, an Android-powered device that comes as a direct competitor to the popular BlackBerry line of handsets.

Billing the Android 2.2 smartphone as its first model expressly designed for business users, Motorola (NYSE: MOT) introduced the Droid Pro this week at the CTIA Enterprise conference in San Francisco.

In a statement, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha boasted that the new handset "is setting a new standard for enterprise" by pairing consumer-friendly features such as its 3.1-inch touchscreen with corporate productivity and security requirements.

"The Droid Pro consolidates users' work and personal needs," Jha said.

Verizon Wireless has signed on as the exclusive carrier of the new device, expanding the leading carrier's menu of smartphones powered by the open source Android operating system.

"Droid Pro builds on our commitment to deliver the best Android experience to the marketplace as well as to our enterprise customers," Mike Lanman, Verizon Wireless' president of enterprise and government markets, said in a statement.

The new device very much taps into the growing trend that analysts refer to as the consumerization of IT, marked by popular devices and mobile applications such social networking creeping behind the firewall.

One of the chief knocks against bringing Android devices into the enterprise has been concerns over security, which the new Droid Pro aims to address with the ability to remotely wipe the device if it is lost or stolen, along with ready integration with a company's virtual private network (VPN).

Early next year, Motorola plans to begin offering encryption for the Droid Pro device and its SD card.

BlackBerry has its own litany of security features, including a sophisticated transport encryption offering that renders traffic unreadable without a security key as it is being sent. Thanks largely to those features, Research in Motion's BlackBerry remains the favorite mobile device among corporate users, though other competitors, such as Apple's iPhone and, now, the Droid Pro, have been looking to boost their security credentials as they court the enterprise market.

Specifications of the new Droid Pro include a 1GHz processor and 4GB of memory, split evenly between internal and removable storage.

In addition to the multitouch screen, the Droid Pro offers a QWERTY keyboard and a five-megapixel camera.

The Droid Pro joins several new smartphones running Android 2.2. The new myTouch, which has HD video and offers next-generation HSPA+ network speeds, was unveiled by T-Mobile and HTC earlier in the week. The T-Mobile G2, also shipping with Android 2.2, goes on sale tomorrow.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Android, smartphones, Motorola, Verizon Wireless, Droid Pro