Why the Droid X Won't Trump the iPhone

Apple's (AAPL) new-product launches tend to overshadow any company that dares to unveil a gadget around the same time. That's what happened to Motorola (MOT) and Verizon Wireless, whose Droid X was introduced the same week the iPhone 4 went on sale.

The Droid X is the successor to last year's original Droid. That phone began Motorola's comeback effort after the former wireless king, whose fortunes tumbled when it couldn't create a successor to its hit Razr, scrapped development of its own operating system in favor of Google's Android. The Droid X, which goes on sale July 15, has a few advantages over the iPhone. The 4.3-inch screen, the largest I've ever used, is nearly 25 percent bigger than the iPhone's. Yet the Droid X is lighter and thinner than its predecessor because Motorola jettisoned a physical keyboard in favor of an onscreen one. It can also do something cool that the iPhone can't: provide a Wi-Fi signal for nearby devices. The Mobile Hotspot feature costs $20 for up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, on top of the cost of the phone—$199 after a $100 rebate—and voice and data plans that start at $75.

The Droid X's biggest advantage is that it runs on Verizon Wireless, which is superior to the AT&T (T) network that the iPhone is—at least for now—tethered to. This summer, an over-the-air upgrade will allow the Droid X to run videos using Adobe's (ADBE) Flash software, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs has famously banished from the iPhone. Still, while the Droid X does a lot of things well, it does no one thing well enough to conquer the mighty iPhone.

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Motorola's biggest moments

DynaTAC 8000X (1983) - The first commercial portable phone—a Gordon Gekko favorite— weighed 2 pounds.

MicroTAC (1989) - The lightest, smallest phone of the 1980s weighed 12.3 ounces and measured more than 9 inches in length.

StarTAC (1996) - This "clamshell" model introduced the pocket-size cell phone—at an introductory cost of $1,000.

MOTORAZR V3 (2004) - Phone or fashion accessory? The Razr became a status symbol in the hands of Madonna, Paris Hilton, and Kate Moss.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.