Verizon's Mystery Droid Takes Aim at Apple's iPhone

"Google had a direct hand in making the phone with Motorola," he said, adding that the operating system effectively links different applications on the phone, such as Facebook, e-mail accounts, calendars and more.

But, he said that instead of luring people away from the iPhone and AT&T's network, he said the new Droid could eat into Verizon's Blackberry sales.

"I think a lot of people are going to be jumping ship to grab this instead," he said.

Other analysts also expect that the new mystery phone will not live up to its "iPhone killer" hype.

"It's a me-too competitor to the iPhone. It's not a game changer," said Gene Munster, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray.

The new Droid might live up to its promises of a better camera, the ability to run several applications at once and more. But, he emphasized, those reasons don't get at why people buy an iPhone in the first place.

Why Is the iPhone so Strong? Apps

"They want the apps," he said. "The iPhone movement has really gotten behind the idea that you can change your phone into anything you want."

With more than 85,000 applications available to download in its App Store, iPhone apps far exceed those available for Android phones (about 10,000), the Blackberry (about 3,000) and the Palm Pre (about 100).

And, for those who are holding out for an iPhone that can run on Verizon instead of AT&T's notoriously inconsistent network, Munster had some potentially distressing news.

Given its aggressive Droid campaign, Munster wondered about conversations between Apple and Verizon and if the cell phone carrier would be able to score the iPhone after its exclusivity deal with AT&T expires in June 2010.

"The ad campaign is just a low blow to Apple," he said. "It begs the question: How's the relationship between Verizon and Apple? And I can't imagine it's doing well."

Still, Munster said, the campaign likely just shows that Verizon needs to compete for the next nine months but could still patch things up in time to ink a deal with Apple.

But though its marketing push touts a phone intended to topple the iPhone, he said the iPhone is likely to maintain its dominance for the next five years.

"I think every few months there's going to be a phone proclaimed to be the iPhone killer," Munster said. "[But] until there's a platform out there that has comparable apps to the iPhone, there is no iPhone killer."

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