Team Droid X: the anti-Apple?

June 23, 2010: 3:50 PM ET

Verizon, Google, Motorola and Adobe join forces on new mobile phone.  Is this a tech "dream team" or merely an alliance of Apple foes?

From left: Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Andy Rubin of Google, Sanjay Jha from Motorola, and Verizon's John Stratton

The press conference for the forthcoming Droid X was filled with some subtle and not-so-subtle signals that the new Motorola (MOT) device is not an iPhon

e, and that Apple (AAPL) isn't the only smartphone maker that matters.

For starters, there was the lineup of speakers, a rogues' gallery of Ap

ple and iPhone foes: Verizon (VZ) marketing chief John Stratton (Verizon does not offer the iPhone; Apple has an exclusive deal with competitor AT&T (T)); Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha, whose company makes rival devices; Andy Rubin, a vice president at Google (GOOG), which has had a divisive falling out with Apple; and Shantanu Narayen, CEO

of Adobe (ADBE), whose Flash software Apple refuses to support on its mobile device.

Then there was the surprise appearance by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who went out of his way to praise the quality of Verizon's network -- a dig at AT&T's quality struggles, perhaps? -- and heralded the Droid X as "not just a toy or app engine."

Rubin seemed to sum up the spirit of cooperation among the partners: "This is a hit business," he said, adding: "There's a band forming today, and the result is some pretty cool technology."

Whether this new band should concern Apple and CEO Steve Jobs remains to be seen. The Droid X, a touchscreen phone with all kinds of multimedia bells and whistles, won't be released until July 15, but Google's Android operating system for

mobile phones certainly seems to be gaining momentum: Rubin noted some 160,000 Android-powered phones are activated each day.

What was striking about the Droid X press conference was the utterly egalitarian nature of the presentations. There was no "star" of the show. Each speaker talked for about the same length of time, and each executive went out of his way to compliment the other companies' contribution to the phone. The overt message: A happy customer experience depends on several things, including a robust network, a flexible operating system, a lightweight, desirable device and good software that lets users see all the web has to offer.

The underlying message: The Apple way is not the only way.

In an interview with FORTUNE, Verizon's Stratton positioned the partnership among Adobe, Google, Motorola and Verizon as more than the anti-Apple. "I don't think this is a commentary about Apple so much as it is a commentary about our own views. We think we can do better with strong partners." Added Rubin: "People can accomplish a lot more if they work together." Not exactly fighting words, but this may be a case in which actions -- and partnerships -- speak louder than words.

Related: Google: 160,000 Android activations per day

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About This Author
Stephanie Mehta
Stephanie Mehta
Deputy Managing Editor , Fortune

Stephanie N. Mehta is the deputy managing editor at Fortune, overseeing technology coverage for Fortune. She also is a co-chair of the annual Brainstorm Tech conference, an annual gathering of tech and media thinkers. Previously, Mehta spent seven years as a tech writer at Fortune covering the telecom and media industries. She also has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

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