The Android Wrap: The Skinny On Droid Lines; Reviews Galore; The Small Print On Pricing

Many are referring as this to Droid Day, the moment when Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) starts selling the Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Droid, perhaps the most highly anticipated Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android phone to date. So, did people turn out in droves to buy the shinny new phone? Is it better than the iPhone? What’s the difference between the Droid and the Droid Eris? And, what’s it all going to cost me? We have all those answers and more:
The lines: Verizon Wireless opened many of its stores early for the throngs of people expected to show up. Early on, that sounded like a smart move. Cnet reported that more than a hundred people were lined up at midnight (early Friday morning) in front of a store in midtown Manhattan. However, the momentum didn’t last. Engadget snapped a picture of one person in line in San Francisco. In Seattle, where Verizon Wireless experienced a line for the BlackBerry Storm when it launched, not a single person stood today. Still, sales seemed to be steady today, according to anecdotal evidence.
Droid Vs. Droid Eris: This may cause confusion, but late in the game Verizon decided to start selling both the Motorola Droid today, along with the HTC Droid Eris. So, what’s the difference? The Droid Eris, which sells as the HTC Hero elsewhere, lacks a physical keyboard, is cheaper and boosts a slightly older operating system, meaning it won’t come with free Google navigation. However, you must be warned that the Eris has a more polished, prettier user interface that HTC spent a long time developing — and we like it a lot. In contrast, the Droid looks like some of the earlier Android builds. If the Eris appeals to you, you may want to consider buying the HTC Hero with Sprint (NYSE: S), not the Eris from Verizon. Laptop Magazine breaks it down here: The HTC Eris may only cost $99 at Verizon, but it’s $651 more expensive than Sprint Hero because of the data plans and because Sprint includes a lot of software on the device for free (like navigation).
Is the Droid better than the iPhone?: As you may suspect this is a highly personal opinion that can easily be swayed by which device the person is currently using. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of reviews to point you to. The WSJ’s Walt Mossberg diplomatically concludes: “It’s the best super-smart phone Verizon offers, the best Motorola phone I’ve tested and the best hardware so far to run Android…Like the iPhone, the Droid is really a powerful hand-held computer that happens to make phone calls, and is a platform for numerous third-party programs, or apps.” TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is less coy and pretty much tells everyone to run out and get it immediately: “It is as close as we