Droid Pro: Motorola's Assault on RIM Is About to Begin

Includes: BBRY, GOOG
by: Larry Dignan

Motorola (MOT) will be launching its Droid Pro Android device for businesses in early November and the smartphone has the goods to be a real threat to the BlackBerry.

At the Gartner Symposium this week in Orlando, we caught up with Sue Forbes, vice president of apps and experiences at Motorola. She had the usual array of Android devices including the Droid Pro. A 3.1 inch touch screen with keyboard that’s pretty snazzy.

The conversation was timely given that CIOs at the Gartner powwow were all looking for information on supporting a wide range of devices. Apple’s iOS and Android were front and center. Simply put, the days of handing out phones is over.

Into this breach steps the Droid Pro, which has a series of features that deserve more attention. Among the key perks that will appeal to the corporation:

  • The Droid Pro supports multiple VPNs.
  • Motorola put a lot of work into the email client so you can add rich text like bold and underline and bullets. Simply put, your email doesn’t have to look like it came from a mobile device.
  • The Droid Pro calendar app allows you to suggest a new time and check availability.

These items ride shotgun with the usual Android experience and widgets, apps and feeds that go along with it.

But what really caught me off guard was that I liked the Droid Pro. I had pretty much written off keyboards, but the Motorola keys stand out. And given I owned a Motorola Q back in the time, it’s safe to say that I was quite jaded. Overall, however, the Droid Pro is sharp and worked its way into my smartphone bake-off. I recently tried a Droid X that I also liked, but the use case between the Pro and X are vastly different. My smartphone tour is fun, but let’s face it: First device that works on Verizon’s LTE network is the one I get.

The backdrop here is that the Droid Pro is on the front lines of a Business Ready pitch by Motorola. Motorola is adding remote wipe of SD cards, complex passwords and other capabilities that will work in the enterprise environment. Motorola also has partnerships with enterprise players like Good Technology and Sybase. Meanwhile, Verizon will sell the Droid Pro into its enterprise accounts.

“Over time, ready for business will mean that a CIO will be able to meet all the requirements the business has on the checklist,” said Forbes.

In the big picture, the Droid Pro is the first device into the enterprise. An Android tablet will follow in early 2011. Motorola’s ultimate aim: Offer businesses a full line-up on Android devices that will allow tech executives to offer smartphone choices.

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