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updated: 7/8/2011 10:54 AM

Will third time be the charm?

Motorola Mobility launches Droid 3 smartphone

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  • Motorola Mobility's Droid 3 is now available online at VerizonWireless.com and in stores by July 14.

      Motorola Mobility's Droid 3 is now available online at VerizonWireless.com and in stores by July 14.

  • Motorola Mobility's Droid 3 is now available online at VerizonWireless.com and in stores by July 14.

      Motorola Mobility's Droid 3 is now available online at VerizonWireless.com and in stores by July 14.

 
 

Libertyville-based Motorola Mobility Thursday launched its Droid 3 smartphone, part of a Droid portfolio with partner Verizon Wireless that offers a thin profile with a full keyboard that slides out sideways.

It follows the Droid X2 that was recently launched, along with other Droid devices.

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But is the third time the charm? Or perhaps the fourth, fifth or sixth? Will this line of phones get as long as the Razr, a big hit that later fizzled when succeeding phones had little innovation but another pretty color?

"They just didn't keep the ball rolling with the Razr," said Joseph Beaulieu, an analyst with Chicago-based Morningstar Inc. "It was just on this treadmill and didn't have a lot of new features."

But the Droid is different, at least so far. It's unlikely at this point that the Droids will fall into the same trap as the Razrs, Beaulieu said.

The Droid 3 includes the latest Android Gingerbread operating system and mirror mode, which allows you to view and share photos, videos and movies, as well as Citrix GoToMeeting for Android that allows users to attend online meetings.

There's a big difference between the Droids and the Razrs, said Ken Hallman, Motorola Mobility vice president of portfolio and device product management.

"This portfolio offers different form factors and capabilities," Hallman said.

It's not just another pretty color.

Expect more Droids down the road as Motorola Mobility continues its partnership with Verizon Wireless, which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg.

The Droid 3 is now available online and is expected in stores by July 14.

It costs $199.99 with a new two-year contract. It also requires a nationwide talk plan and data package. New customers could see smartphone plans starting at $30 for 2 gigabytes of data. Current customers upgrading their smartphone can keep their current data plan.

"It's always about choice and this latest Droid is another option for our customers," said Verizon spokeswoman Carolyn Shamburger.

Surfing: Speaking of Verizon ... The wireless provider announced this week that it would eliminate its unlimited data plan for new smartphone customers. Then the company said smartphone and tablet customers could get a free text message alert when their data usage crosses thresholds of 50 percent, 75 percent or more. Verizon touted it as just another service for their customers ... something they'll need now.

•Expect an announcement next week regarding Itasca-based Aircell, providers of the Gogo (www.gogoair.com) WiFi service available while passengers are in the air on a number of airlines, including Delta, Virgin America and American. Gogo has about 350 employees in Itasca and in Broomfield, Colo.

•Protect-A-Bed in Chicago now offers Bed Bugs 101, a free iPhone and Android app with information about the critters, as well as an interactive game called Bed Bug Plague (www.bedbugplague.com/game/). A scratch and play?

•Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write to her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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