For example, Blackberry maker Research In Motion seems to have recognized that while its products resonated with an entrenched group of business users for years before texting became popular, it's now time to offer a BlackBerry for a new generation. So with a new touchscreen and an updated operating system, RIM's new BlackBerry Torch 9800 offers more than the traditional physical keyboard of its predecessors.
So far, Droid 2 has been the most heavily marketed of the new wave of iPhone challengers. In an example of how Google, Motorola and Verizon want to make sure they reach as broad a market as possible, they are releasing an R2-D2 limited edition version of Droid 2 that's designed to appeal to fans of the Star Wars film saga. A Verizon spokeswoman on Friday wouldn't confirm a shipment date, except to say it will be available online in September.
Photos from the Star Wars Celebration V conference in Orlando showed a preview of the R2-D2 smartphone, along with a sign saying it would be available Sept. 30. Engadget and other sites ran a photo of the sign with the date and a photo of the preview device.
Some observers have said they wished the special edition model looked more like the droid from the movies, but they also conceded that they would probably buy one if the price was right. Verizon hasn't divulged the price, however.
There appear to be plenty of Torch and Droid 2 devices available so far, based on spot checks of AT&T and Verizon stores and Web sites. Sprint said it has delayed a planned mid-August release of the Epic to build up a stockpile in light of a global display screen shortage.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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