NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Don't count struggling Motorola ( MOT) out of the cell-phone wars just yet: Its new Droid X smartphone from Verizon ( VZ) packs a small-business punch.
Apple ( AAPL), Google ( GOOG), HTC and the rest of the cell-phone mafia might as well rechristen the end of the spring as smartphone season. In the past few weeks, the new KIN ONE from Sharp, AT&T's ( T) new iPhone 4 (made by Apple, of course) and Sprint's ( S) EVO all splashed into the cell-phone market with gusto. And last week, Motorola took its turn on the smartphone high dive and dropped its new Droid X ($199/plan). I've been testing the unit over the past week or so and had several briefings from company execs. And though the Droid X is nowhere near the ultimate small-business tool -- more on that in a second -- the unit offers real business value in the suddenly crowded uber-phone market. And just like that, Motorola's fortunes on the cell-phone high seas have suddenly improved. What you get: The Droid X, within limits, is one serious mobile productivity tool for the small business. For sure, Motorola, Verizon and Google deserve credit for not only addressing the shortcomings of early Android phones like the myTouch and the HTC Hero, but stuffing this unit with oodles of business-friendly features. The rippin'-fast 1 GHz processor does away with much of Android's legendary multitasking sluggishness. At least in early testing, I could email, navigate, check my calendar and still make a phone call. I know, shocker. Business types should also approve of the swanky new easier-to-use touch keyboard, the high-quality 8 MP camera, the 720P camcorder and 16 GB of storage. The Skype app (from eBay ( EBAY)) is an effective international calling solution. And the Blockbuster ( BBI) app promised many hours of in-flight distraction. But most importantly, the battery life, at least in my initial tests, seemed a step beefier than earlier Droids. Say, six hours for average use. Overall, the Droid X is a full step more refined, powerful and useful than previous Android phones. Clearly Motorola has a new cell phone player on its hands.
While Icahn will end a campaign run directly to eBay shareholders to have the company split PayPal and remove some board members, the settlement opens up a dialogue between both parties that Icahn believes may eventually lead to a PayPal spinoff.