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Droid X Smartphone Launch Expected Wednesday

By Matt Hamblen

Motorola's Droid X will sport a 4.3-in. 720p HD screen. (Photo via Verizon Wireless Web site) The mobile OS battle is joined: The next generation of the Motorola Droid smartphone is being announced next week, the day before the iPhone 4 ships.

Verizon Wireless is inviting reviewers and the press to a New York City event labeled "Unleashing the Next Generation of Droid" at noon Wednesday, according to a Verizon spokeswoman.

Verizon officials wouldn't comment on the timing of the event, which falls the day before the iPhone 4 ships. Nor would they give the name of the new Droid device or devices. According to blog reports, however, two devices are expected to be announced. One might be called the Droid 2 or the Droid Shadow. It is expected to have a physical keyboard and less storage, in line with the needs of heavy texting users, whom all the carriers lately are trying to attract.

The other is likely to be called the Droid X or Droid Xtreme, with a touch screen, fast processing and more storage capacity. Verizon is promoting a device called Droid X on a special Web site , and it seems likely to be one of the devices being announced next week. It has a large 4.3-in. touch screen, 720p resolution and an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) output port for sending video and media to a monitor.

The Droid-Life Web site reported this week that Verizon stores were told to open early July 19 to put the next Droids on sale. It's a date that makes sense, coming well after the iPhone 4 goes on sale. Again, Verizon would not comment on that date.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry maker RIM is also expected to launch a new smartphone called the Torch 9800 in mid-July or early August that includes a new Blackberry OS.

Because Wednesday's event includes top executives from Verizon as well as Google , Motorola and Adobe, it's a safe bet that at least one of the next Droids has Flash 10.1 support, which is part of the Android OS 2.2, according to bloggers.

The speakers include John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering for Google; Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer for Motorola, and Shantanu Narayen, Adobe's CEO.

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