Motorola Droid Pro attempts to lure BlackBerry fans

The Froyo-based Android handset comes with encryption, remote wipe and other enterprise-friendly security features, and is aimed firmly at the business market where BlackBerry leads
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Motorola has introduced the Droid Pro, an enterprise-focused edition of its popular Android-based Droid handset that is set to launch later in the year in the US.

The device, announced on Tuesday, is optimised for business users, according to Motorola. In addition to the usual enterprise-friendly features — such as Gmail and Exchange support, Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing capabilities — the phone promises to incorporate security safeguards not typically found in Android handsets.

Ed Miliband speech image

The Droid Pro uses a portrait layout that includes a Qwerty keyboard. Photo credit: Motorola

"The Droid Pro consolidates users' work and personal needs. This is just another reason the Droid Pro is setting a new standard for enterprise, allowing users to enjoy all the benefits of a smartphone," said Sanjay Jha, chief executive officer of Motorola Mobility.

Among the security features in the Droid Pro is built-in support for Authentec IPsec VPN integration, meaning that each IP packet is encrypted and authenticated as it passes across the network. Motorola has also added the ability to remotely wipe the device, and it is providing SD card and support for complex passwords, often required as a part of a company's corporate policy.

To bolster security further and appease IT departments, Motorola said that it will bring in full SD card and device encryption for the Droid Pro in 2011.

The Droid Pro will go up against the BlackBerry smartphone, which has been a popular choice for many enterprise deployments as it offers device and data encryption. However, the Research In Motion (RIM) handset has recently come under fire from a number of countries, such as Lebanon, India, UAE and Saudi Arabia, as its security measures do not allow the authorities to monitor or intercept transmitted data.

Droid Pro also offers a unified calendar for enterprise, with Google Calendar sync support and corporate directory look-up options.

Design-wise, the handset takes the portrait form factor, leaving behind the sliding Qwerty of the original Droid and coupling a multitouch-enabled touchscreen display with a Qwerty keyboard mounted below.

Its notable specs include a 1GHz processor, Android 2.2 OS (with Flash 10.1 support), 3.1-inch display, 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and dual-LED flash, 4GB of storage space (2GB internal and a 2GB microSD included), Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Owners also have the option to use the handset as a 3G mobile hotspot that can support up to five other Wi-Fi enabled devices.

The phone is set to launch in the US on the Verizon Wireless network "in the coming weeks", with Motorola promising to reveal the final price tag closer to the time.

A Motorola spokesperson for Europe could not confirm that the Droid Pro will launch in the UK. However, the original Droid —also launched exclusively on Verizon in the US initially— eventually made it to UK stores, branded as the Motorola Milestone.

On 1 September, Motorola announced two other new handsets, the Milestone 2 and the Defy. The former has several internal enhancements over its predecessor and the addition of Motoblur. The latter is a dustproof and shockproof semi-ruggedised Android smartphone.

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