Will Optus launch the Motorola Droid?


Australian technology blog Techanist yesterday reported that Optus would launch yet another handset based on Google’s Android operating system into the Australian market – Motorola’s Droid device, which has been re-badged as the Milestone with WCDMA/GSM support for markets outside the US.

“It’s been confirmed that Optus will have the Motorola Milestone available to customers mid this month, starting $0 on a $79 Cap,” the blog reported. A local Motorola executive would not confirm details of any imminent launches this week during a general interview about the Android platform, but they did add the manufacturer was happy with its exclusive relationship with Optus.

Optus has been invited by email to make a comment on the situation — any response will be added to this article as an update.

When the Droid was launched in the US back in October 2009, it garnered a significant level of hype as one of the first of an incoming wave of next-generation handsets including the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, the HTC Desire and HTC-manufactured Google Nexus one.

The phones — particularly through the installation of version 2.1 of Android — have started to be seen as approachoing the level of functionality and user experience that Apple customers have enjoyed for some time through the iPhone.

Telstra has achieved a significant level of interest in the Android platform in Australia through its exclusive launch of the HTC Desire, while Optus has an extensive partnership with Motorola that has seen it launch several Android handsets such as the DEXT and BACKFLIP.

The Droid was also launched in the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong late last year, and in India in March. So far, it has only been available in Australia through online vendors such as Mobicity.com.au and not directly from any mobile carrier.

The phone includes a slide-out keyboard as well as a 3.7” touchscreen display at a resolution of 854×480, a 5 megapixel camera, MicroSDHC card support and a 550Mhz CPU, according to Wikipedia. Australian technology publication CNET.com.au has comprehensively reviewed the phone, giving it an editor’s rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Image credit: Motorola


  1. Optus are soooo behind the times with Android devices! It seems they can only access devices which have been out for 6 months or more in the US!

    The Droid was cool in 2009 before the Nexus One and HTC Desire hit (both of which have a 1Ghz snapdragon processor). It’s severely limited by it’s aging 550Mhz processor and I doubt very much that Optus will ship it with Froyo, so customer will be stuck on Android 2.1 while the rest of the world moves to 2.2 devices.

    In addition to that it’s widely accepted that it’s hardware keyboard sucks, as does the 5mp camera and video capabilities.

    All these issues are being addressed on Verizon’s upcoming Droid 2 (much nicer keyboard, 800Mhz processor, new camera, new design and ships with Froyo). Why Optus don’t set their sites on this one, so that they can actually be competitive with Android devices, is anyone’s guess.

    Meanwhile they’ll presumably be releasing the iPhone 4 (along with all other carriers) which is current technology. Pretty easy decision to make when you look at their dated Android offerings up against Apple’s new technology.

    I really like Android but our carriers are going to have to do better than this to win me over.

    • No kidding. In general, neither Optus nor VHA have realised how much enthusiasm there is out there for Android based devices. In comparison, Telstra is moving piles and piles of its HTC Desire handset, cashing in to the max on Android by bringing all the early adopters back to its network.

      I would like to see Optus and VHA regain their edge and really start to push Android a bit harder. In the long run everybody is going to be using a smartphone, so they might as well start focusing on it now and forgetting about the low-end, tiny margin Nokia devices that can’t even open a web browser properly, let alone access any form of app store.

      It’s shocking, but Telstra really has these guys on the back foot right now. Optus won’t even say if it will sell the iPhone 4 when it comes to Australia!

  2. Please offer the Australian public the Droid X! If it was an option before the iPhone 4 came out I might go with andriod but no, they are talking about how they “might” released the original 1 year old droid.. keep up please!

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