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The Droid Is a Genuine iPhone Challenger

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You've probably seen the commercials: Over cheery, mildly insipid indie rock, a series of messages in a clean san-serif font announce all the things an iPhone does't do. Then, suddenly, the transmission is interrupted by a message that sounds like it's coming from some sort of grim postapocalyptic future. "Droid does," it says. Being suckers for good clean design and generally anti-apocalypse, we've never found the ads for Motorola's Droid phone especially inviting. But today we got a look at the Droid itself, and it's a contender.

The phone is powered by Google's Android 2.0 platform, which gives it access to all sorts of Google tricks (maps, searches, Gmail) and means it's theoretically supremely fast. It's got a big, high-res screen and a slide-out keyboard that, while no bigger than the iPhone's, at least lets you press real buttons. Like the iPhone, it comes with thousands of apps, but unlike the iPhone, it can run several apps at once. It's not pretty—in fact, given the way it's being marketed, we assume it's deliberately ugly. But if you want to feel like you've got a big, powerful machine in your pocket, you'll probably be impressed.

The Droid debuts for $199.99 at Verizon stores next Friday, November 6th. Full disclosure: They sent us home with a Droid of our own. We're not keeping it, though; we're too attached to our twee little iPhone.
· Droid from Verizon Wireless [Official Site]