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Verizon’s (Stock Quote: VZ) latest Android-powered smartphone, the Droid 2 by Motorola, will be available for sale in stores today.

"With the new Droid 2, we've taken a big leap forward from the original Droid," Bill Ogle, Chief Marketing Officer for Motorola, said in a prepared statement yesterday. "We listened to consumers and are providing an even more robust experience."

The phone will retail for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Current Verizon Wireless customers who have contracts ending before Dec. 31 can upgrade to the Droid 2 without penalty.

Incidentally, this is the same pricing plan Verizon used when it released its last Android-powered smartphone, the Droid X, in July. But don’t worry Android lovers, the phones are totally different—well, sort of.

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The Droid 2 features the Android 2.2 operating system, which supports Adobe’s latest Flash Player 10.1. The Droid X, on the hand, utilizes Android 2.1, though an upgrade to the newest version is expected to be released this September. Droid 2 sports a 5 megapixel camera, while the Droid X has an 8 megapixel camera.

Also, the phones look completely different. Droid X is a smartphone monster, featuring a 4.3-inch screen, blocky lines and no keyboard. Built to resemble its parent, Droid 2 features a 3.7-inch screen, curvy edges and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard redesigned with larger, raised keys and no directional pad. It is also boasts a silver lining.
Internally, the phones’ differences are less pronounced. Both use Texas Instruments' OMAP 3630 1 GHz processor and come equipped with 512MB of RAM. Both utilize Digital Living Network Alliance to stream video to a home consumer electronics device, like a TV. They also use the same Texas Instruments chip to offer mobile hotspot functionality. This optional 3G Mobile HotSpot feature lets customers use their phones as a wireless modem for up to five compatible Wi-Fi devices for an additional $20 a month.

The Droid 2, Droid X and the recently released Droid Incredible have all but rendered the original Droid obsolete. In fact, Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney tells CNN that the old Droid will go into retirement once inventory has run out. 

Of course, Droid 2’s place in the sun may be limited as well. Rumor has it Verizon plans on releasing another Android-powered phone, the Motorola Droid Pro, before the end of 2010.

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