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Motorola Droid 2 Headed for 'Antennagate' of Its Own?

Some Motorola Droid 2 smartphones, brand new to the Verizon Wireless network, are reportedly experiencing connectivity issues. Are Verizon and Motorola headed for their own "Antennagate"?

Is the Motorola Droid 2 plagued with antenna problems, or does the big wheel of the rumor mill simply keep on turning?

Mobile Crunch, citing "those we know who have had 'em for a day or two and who pay a nearly obsessive amount of [attention] to stuff like this," reports that early Droid 2 units are experiencing problems with connectivity.

"We're hearing a good number of reports within our geeky circle that Motorola's brand new baby, the Verizon Droid 2, might not be so good with that whole maintaining-a-solid-signal thing," the tech site reported Aug. 13.

The Droid 2 debuted Aug. 12 on the Verizon network and features a 3.7-inch touch screen, a QWERTY keypad, a 1GHz processor and the Android 2.2 operating system. A same-day teardown of the device by repair company iFixit found the Droid 2 to be an improvement on its successful predecessor, although luckily only in areas where improvements were welcome.

"Motorola certainly took the ‘If it ain't broke, don't fix it' route by keeping everything people didn't complain about exactly the same and upgrading the bits that mattered," iFixit reported. The only change Motorola made to the device's connectivity components, as far as iFixit reported, were to switch the Texas Instruments WLAN Bluetooth/FM chip, enabling the Droid 2 to access 802.11n, versus the Droid's 802.11g.

Adding to the findings of Mobile Crunch's geeky friends, the site says that one of the two early units it received also has a signal that's "all over the board, dipping from full signal down to nearly none [while] sitting in the same spot (and no, we're not holding it wrong)." It offered additional evidence by pointing to Engadget's review of the Droid 2.

"Signal strength was a major issue for all four Engadget editors who've been able to spend time with four different Droid 2s in different parts of the country this week," Engadget reported Aug. 13. "We're used to seeing 3G drop to EDGE, GPRS or disappear completely on our iPhones on AT&T, but it's a rarity on Verizon—so to see our Droid 2's data indicator flip-flop from EVDO to 1xRTT and then disappear entirely was really alarming."

If the Droid 2 is in fact experiencing connectivity problems, it could have major consequences for both Motorola and Verizon—which right now heavily depends on Android-based devices to compete against its iPhone-offering rival, AT&T.

Additionally, an antenna issue could be, at the very least, a bit embarrassing for Verizon.

Following the debacle AT&T and Apple faced over antenna issues with the iPhone 4—an issue large enough to have necessitated a special Apple press conference, during which Apple CEO Steve Jobs jokingly referred to the media-overblown story as "Antennagate," as well as a letter to Jobs from New York State Senator Chuck Schumer, asking that Jobs and Apple do right by consumers—Verizon publicly chided its competitor.

In an advertisement for the Motorola Droid X, Verizon added a bit of text at the bottom—clearly as a jab at AT&T and Apple—"It comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls."

AT&T and Apple may soon be more than happy to point out to Verizon that the Droid 2 is having issues placing crystal clear calls—no matter how users hold it.


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