While BlackBerry aficionados will be scooping up the AT&T BlackBerry Torch 9800 today, Android fans are flocking to snag the Verizon Motorola DROID 2. The DROID 2 was announced on Tuesday and went on pre-sale Wednesday, but today is the first day you can stroll into a Verizon store and put the handset in your pocket. We will spare you all the details on this Android handset as they have been covered ad nauseum in a record number of pre-release leaks. Instead, we will focus on the serious stuff: the pricing and availability.
The D2 is available from Verizon for $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate or online discount and a two year agreement. If you buy in-store, you get the instant gratification of being able to walk out with a D2 in your hand but it will cost you more up front. Verizon only offers $100 mail-in rebates for in-store purchases, while online purchases get the $100 mail-in rebate applied instantly as an online discount. Your price out-the-door is $299 when buy from a brick-and-mortar store and $199 when you buy online.
For those expecting to snag the DROID 3 in the near future, a one-year contract is a recommended alternative to the rather lengthy 20 months you need to wait to upgrade with Verizon’s New Every Two program. Just ask an original Verizon DROID owner on a two-year agreement and they will tell you of their pain. Even with Verizon’s generous end-of-year early upgrade plan, D1 owners on a two-year agreement can not upgrade to the D2.
On a one-year agreement, the Verizon DROID 2 will set you back $269 after a $100 mail-in rebate, a $70 premium over the one-year plan and a worthy extra investment for those phone-aholics amongst us. If you dare to live on the edge with a month-to-month plan, you can still snag a DROID 2 for a rather pricey $559. When picking your poison plan, remember a $350 early termination fee applies and the D2 requires a minimum data plan of $29.99 monthly. The 3G Mobile hotspot feature will also set you back $19.99 per month.
If you are interested in the Verizon DROID 2, we recommend that you grab it sooner rather than later. The Motorola DROID X sold out in the first day and still remains difficult to find online and in stores. Thus far, the Motorola D2 is still in stock online and a quick call to our local Verizon stores confirms that they still have inventory on-hand. If you can’t snag one from a Verizon retail store for whatever reason, you can always check out Best Buy. Best Buy is a launch partner and is selling the D2 for $199 with a two-year contract. Best Buy does not support one-year contracts but the retailer does offer the $100 rebate as an instant discount so your out-the-door price is $199 plus tax.
If you are committed to the DROID 2 and want to save some cash, you can check out Walmart. The retail giant offers the D2 for $99.99 after a $100 LetsTalk instant discount and a two-year contract. Though the price is lower with Walmart’s Let’s Talk service, the agreement has a $100 penalty charge that is levied on top of the $350 early termination fee from Verizon. The fee is incurred if you cancel your plan or change your plan options through Verizon Wireless and not Let’s Talk for the 181 days following activation. Basically, you have to keep your calling plan and data options for 181 days if you want to avoid this $100 fee.
Last but not least are the third-party retailers like Amcomm Wireless, Wireless Zone, and others. In general, the third-party retailers have similar pricing as Verizon for newly launched handsets and less inventory on hand for a major product launch like the Motorola DROID 2. Though they may have less inventory allocated at launch, third-party retailers may be the last to sell out of handset as they are often overlooked by the average consumer.
Anyone venturing out today to grab a Motorola DROID 2? Upgrading from a D1? If you are, leave your first impressions in the comments.