updated 04:05 pm EST, Wed December 23, 2009
Google phone considered real challenger
HTC's phone for Google is equally helped by its AMOLED screen, which is not only slightly larger (at 3.7 inches versus 3.5) but produces a much higher contrast ratio with more vivid colors and a brighter picture. Its resolution is roughly the same as that of the Droid's same-size 854x480 LCD.
The on-screen keyboard is characterized as "fine" but better than the relatively cramped software layout on the Droid.
Uniquely, Android 2.1's backgrounds are not only optionally animated but can even respond directly to user behavior: tapping outside of icons creates a "ripple" effect, and visualizers can respond to music or other audio events. It's not yet clear if any other phones with the same OS will share the feature set.
To date, the only clear limitations are a strictly average 5-megapixel camera, albeit with flash, and a lack of full multi-touch support in at least the US-bound version due to Apple's iPhone patents. The Droid has faced a similar limitation in the US as its international counterpart, the Milestone, also has full support for at least two-finger input.
As a result of the tests, the phone when released stands to garner significant attention when it's released as early as January 5th as it stands to not only address limitations of earlier Android phones but also provide the most important "halo" phone for Google's platform so far. Until the Droid's arrival in November, Android phone sales were dominated almost exclusively by mid-range phones like the Hero and Magic that have only had a minimal impact on luring customers from competitors.