Motorola Clears The Pipes With New Verizon Droids – Time For The Google Era To Begin In Earnest

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Motorola released a trio of devices today at a special press event for its line of Verizon phones in New York City. The company showed off phones that in many ways resembled their Droid devices of the past, and these keep the Droid branding, too. They’re looking mostly like successors to Razr devices, but with tweaks that could signal what we’ll see now that Google is more directly taking the reins at the company.

The new Droids likely represent the last vestiges of Motorola’s pre- Google acquisition product pipeline, which Google has said repeatedly needed to be worked through before it could get to the devices Google was planning to build with its new hardware division. But it’s not all “out with the old” – there are a few new noteworthy tricks up Motorola’s sleeve with these Droids, and these could be signs of what’s next for the company as Google’s in-house Android device maker.

Chief among those is the Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System, a new 8-core system-on-a-chip that Motorola is customizing based on a Qualcomm processor, instead of just using a standard design. Consider these Motorola Droids both a closing and an opening act, then, ejecting all the dross that’s left over from the company’s previous life, and bringing in the kernel of the new.

The Droid is being promoted with the pomp and circumstance of a flagship line of devices, but it’s key that this is a Verizon event – this is likely a commitment made to Verizon by Motorola long before Google got involved. Don’t expect the Droids to come anywhere close to playing in the same ballpark with Samsung’s Galaxy devices, or maybe even the HTC One. But these Droid devices are definitely worth watching if only for the X8 eight-core mobile SoC, and the features that come with them.

The X8 chip allows touchless control for hands-free operation, an active display that selectively lights up to display just notifications and other features previously leaked in a Moto X demo. The Kevlar involved is also something that the Droids share in common with the Moto X, but I don’t think we’ll see the X as just a rebranded Droid when it’s unveiled next week. For one, they share the Moto X’s patriotic place of manufacturing origin, but without any further details there’s little else to draw on for comparison.

Motorola once had brand leverage through trade names like “Droid” and “Razr” (the latter of which has been notably dropped here) but in recent years those brands haven’t meant much next to more successful rivals like Samsung. X is the future of the brand, and we’ll likely see differences between those devices and the past highlighted over potential similarities