Why the Droid Bionic Looks Great for Work | CIO. (No longer available online. Original text included below.)
The Droid Bionic is finally here after many months of speculations, rumors and promises. The Bionic, at $300 with a two year contract, brings together features that smartphone users have been clamoring for, including 4G LTE, a dual-core processor, a large screen, and Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. Here’s the low-down on all those features and why you’ll want them.
Network: This is a Verizon phone, using their new 4G LTE network. If you’re used to 3G, 4G will surprise you, being almost 10 times faster. That means far less waiting time when doing anything involving data. Note that for an extra monthly fee, you can also use the Bionic as a mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to 5 devices via WiFi (be careful, you can eat up your data plan very quickly at 4G speeds!). As far as coverage, Verizon has 4G available in 116 major cities, with 5 more being added by mid-September providing coverage to over 50% of the population. If you’re not in a 4G city, you’ll likely still get tried-and-true 3G coverage.
Processor: Speed doesn’t stop at the network, the Bionic has a dual-core 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP4430 chipset, the same used in the BlackBerry Playbook tablet, which makes running apps very snappy.
Memory: Where early Droids contained only 512MB, and only half of that was available for apps, the Bionic has 2GB of ROM, providing plenty of room for Android 2.3.4 and a bunch of apps. With and 1GB of RAM you’ll also be able to have have a bunch of those apps running at the same time should the need arise. For data storage it comes with 16GB of built in, and a 16GB MicroSD card that’s upgradable to 32GB, giving you the potential for 48GB of music, video, and any other data you desire.
Audio/Video: You’ll need that space if you’re out taking photos or 1080p HD video with the 8-megapixel camera. There’s also a front-facing camera which allows you to video conference with your colleagues. Combine that with a bluetooth headset and you’ve got a great communication device for important meetings, even when you’re on the road.
Screen: The Bionic has a 960×540, 256 ppi pixel density, 4.3 inch anti-reflective touchscreen made of scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass. It’s not a tablet, but it’s large for a phone, and will make both reading and writing more enjoyable than the typical small phone screen. It also uses a qHD 16:9 display ratio so it will fit HD video without having to add black bars.
Location: If you’re traveling without your Garmin or Tom Tom, the built in aGPS/sGPS use satellite and radio towers to find your location. Combined with an accelerometer and e-compass the Bionic will guide you to your destination.
Battery: Powering all of this is a 1735 mAH battery that is said to provide 650 minutes of talk time and 200 hours of stand-by time. Early reports suggest that you’re battery will be consumed much quicker if you’re using 4G, so whenever you’re near WiFi you’ll want to use it for large data transfers.
You can expand your phone to a cross between a tablet and a laptop by adding the $300 LapDock, an 11.6 inch display with keyboard and trackpad that you can plug your phone into. This option was also available for the Atrix 4G, but even though the two docks are very similar, they are not compatible.
If you drive often, there is also a vehicle dock available, allowing you to more easily interact with the phone with one hand, and keep it charged and visible while navigating.
When you get home, be sure to use the built in HDMI to connect to your big screen and play video. You can use the optional HD Station, a dock that connects to your TV, to make this even more convenient if you do it often.
One rumored feature that didn’t make it into the Bionic is a GSM radio that would have made it a “World Phone”. If you head overseas often, depending on which countries you visit, this may not be the best phone to roam with.
Time to Buy?
If you don’t already have a smartphone, the Droid Bionic is perhaps the most business ready phone available. It’s fast networking, dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, large screen, and available LapDock make it a perfect business companion, especially for those who find themselves on the road often. For many, these options could replace a tablet or even a laptop.
It’s only shortcomings are that it’s not a great phone for roaming (see the Atrix 4G as a similar AT&T alternative), and that you may need to charge it mid-day if you’re using the 4G network often. If you can live with that, then the Droid Bionic should be in your future!