NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Call it the attack of the Droids. Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report has an incredible plan to load up on Android phones for a summer smartphone battle with Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report.
Verizon unveiled the astonishingly-named
Thursday, a super-thin, souped-up touch-screen phone with an 8-megapixel camera, and -- for the moment -- the fastest processor on the market:
Snapdragon. The phone will take over as the flagship Droid device for Verizon, succeeding the popular
The HTC-made Incredible also precedes
, which is due to enter the Verizon lineup this spring. The Nexus One, also made by HTC, has nearly the same features as the Incredible with a few exceptions like a 5-megapixel camera.
"They want to span the breadth of the market," said Nielsen wireless analyst Roger Entner. "Everyone wants to offer a smartphone at every price."
The bulk up of head-turning Androids puts Verizon is a stronger position as
and Apple get set to unveil the fourth version of the iPhone this summer.
With the Incredible splash, it's now easier to see how Verizon's marketing tab for the Droids has reached a reported $100 million.
The performance-enhancing Droid move is not necessarily good news for other Verizon phone partners including
Research In Motion
In a cautious note to clients Friday, MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen warned that "Motorola's position at Verizon is wobbly." With HTC's Incredible taking center stage as Verizon's lead Droid phone, the Motorola Droid could be headed to the discount bin as a cheap promotional offering.
All the flexing of the Droid muscle could also push RIM's BlackBerries aside at a time when piles of unsold BlackBerry Storm 2 phones are being shipped back to the warehouses.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.