Verizon Adds To Droid Line With Eris

The new Motorola Droid isn't Verizon's only upcoming Android smartphone. In addition to the much-hyped handset which is set to arrive on Friday, the wireless carrier is also planning to unleash the Droid Eris this week.

It appears the Droid Eris is a modified HTC Hero, a handset that is currently available as an Android 1.5 device from Sprint. HTC has said an Android 2.0 update is in the works. For this reason, we wouldn't be surprised if the Droid Eris ships with Android 1.5 with an update to Android 2.0 released at some point in the future.

From leaked specs, it appears this phone will have a 528MHz Qualcomm CPU and a 320x480 resolution multi-touch display. It is also said to have a standard 3.5mm audio jack and possibly come with an 8GB memory card. The handset is smaller than the Motorola Droid. Because the Droid Eris is not as feature-filled as the Motorola Droid, you'll also be able to pick it up for a more affordable price—likely $99 with a 2-year contract.

Verizon is trying to maximize its investment in the Droid branding and market recognition by dubbing the new device the Droid Eris. The possible downside to this is potential confusion among customers. As Android is continues to establish itself as a serious contender in the mobile operating system market, we expect more and more users to be familiar with, and ask about, the operating system.

Verizon has paid LucasArts for rights to use the Droid name for its line of Android handsets. As a result, you'll have the Droid line as well as a device called the Droid and another device called the Droid Eris. Given this, we can see how walking into a store and asking for a Droid could cause some confusion as to which device you want.

Droid confusion aside, it's good to see that Verizon isn't putting all of its eggs in one basket, so to say. The Motorola Droid is definitely positioned to compete against the iPhone, but let's face it: getting a dedicated iPhone user to convert is no easy task. Still, the smartphone market is growing and we definitely appreciate having multiple options from which to choose.

The HTC Droid Eris set to launch on November 6 alongside the Motorola Droid.