Should Motorola have skipped the BIONIC altogether?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| October 18, 2011

The DROID BIONIC was originally announced at CES in January this year and released just last month. Between then and now, the BIONIC has been delayed, canceled, redesigned, reworked, re-announced and finally released. Months after the CES announcement, Motorola decided that the BIONIC wasn't quite up to par and they needed to add some oomph to the device if they wanted it to stick out among the crowd at all. After nine months of latency, the DROID BIONIC is finally nested at the top of Verizon's smartphone lineup. Who would have thought a little extra elbow grease would actually pay off?

If only more OEMs would do this from time to time ...

Today, however, Motorola and Verizon are teaming up to supposedly announce a new phone and relaunch a huge campaign that has yielded high success in previous years. They are resurrecting the RAZR brand, in which the DROID RAZR is purported to be the star of today's event. Rumors are pointing to the RAZR being one heck of a phone ... again.

But I'm sorely confused. The DROID BIONIC, which was not originally up to snuff, was updated and reworked and finally shipped with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch qHD display, 1GB RAM and an 8-megapixel camera capable of 1080p video recording. And the rumored specs of the DROID RAZR? A 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch qHD or 720p display (possibly a Super AMOLED), 1GB RAM and an 8-megapixel shooter capable of none other than 1080p video.

The only notable difference between these two devices is design – more specifically, thickness – and the potential for a Super AMOLED or HD display. The rest is negligible. Almost identical, spec for spec, they will be sold for nearly the same price, side-by-side at Verizon.

At this point, I'm baffled as to why Motorola even released the Bionic. Don't get me wrong, it's a great phone. But prior to its launch, I voiced my opinion on how they should have cut their losses and focused the extra attention on a newer, better phone – merged the two efforts into one, if you will. Instead, Motorola persisted, through several months of delays and redesigns, to release a phone that was practically old news by the time it landed (what phone isn't anymore?). Rumors of next gen Motorola DROID devices were popping up left and right, and the BIONIC was still nowhere to be found.

I'm sure Verizon played a big part in the persistence behind the BIONIC, but it simply does not make sense to me why they even cared. Since May, Motorola has kept a pretty tight release schedule of "every two months" for Verizon DROID devices. There's a point where phone releases become too much. I'm not complaining about having a wide variety of phones to choose from, but when they all pretty much cover the exact same ground, it makes you wonder why Verizon and Motorola are wasting so much time and effort on such small incremental devices. It's too much of a good thing, if you ask me.

There is a small possibility that the DROID RAZR brings something completely new to the table. But we know it likely won't ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, as the ICS announcement isn't until 9:30 PM Eastern from Hong Kong. Chances of Google allowing Motorola to spoil the official Ice Cream Sandwich announcement are slim to none. There are also conflicting rumors about the display; some claim it will be a qHD, others say 720p. And being so thin with LTE support will be a feat in itself, to say the least.

That said, no matter what the RAZR brings to the table, if it launches within the next two months, the BIONIC was a lost cause. Once the RAZR launches, all of my friends who I tried to talk out of buying a BIONIC are going to come back to me and ask me why I didn't try to talk them out of the BIONIC. Never fails.

We only have about an hour left until the event begins, so some things are sure to get cleared up. Keep it locked on PhoneDog for the event coverage. And in the meantime, tell me whether you think Moto was doing the right thing by launching the BIONIC, or if you think they should have skipped it altogether. Also, are you looking forward to the rebirth of the RAZR? Or has the Galaxy Nexus caught your eye instead?