HTC Droid Eris: Last Month's Killer Android, Now 99 Bucks on Verizon

HTC's Droid Eris, one of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory, is coming to Verizon November 6th for $99. Essentially a rebranded Hero, it shows just how fast time flies: Last month's Android champion is this month's killer budget option.

The Droid Eris is very closely related to the Hero, which currently costs $180 at Sprint, sharing mostly the same internals and a slightly redesigned shell. So it's got the same decent 5MP camera, the same 528MHz Qualcomm processor, and the same 3.2-inch capacitive multitouch screen. However, the Hero's 1500 mAh battery has been replaced with a 1300 mAh battery, presumably for thinness's sake—we don't know if it'll reduce battery life noticeably, since HTC says they've made helpful optimizations, but it might.

It'll be Verizon's first phone with HTC's Sense UI, but underneath that pretty interface it's still running Android 1.5, which means you won't be getting any of Android 2.0's sweet new features like turn-by-turn Google Maps. Yet. HTC told me they'll upgrade to 2.0 once they've worked out all the bugs between 2.0 and Sense.

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On the plus side, it's thinner and lighter than the Hero, and the four key buttons have been rearranged into a straight line of touch buttons rather than the Hero's square layout. The Hero's blobby design has been changed to a, well, different-looking blobby design. It's even more understated than the Hero, with textured plastic replacing the Hero's brushed aluminum front, and while it isn't an ugly phone, it's also not very eye-catching. However: It feels good in the hand, it's still quite snappy and Sense UI is as slick as ever. At $99 (with 2-year contract, after $100 rebate that comes back as a debit card, like the Droid), with an 8GB microSDHC card included, it's an enticing deal. Press release below. [Verizon]

DROID ERIS by HTC Debuts with Verizon Wireless with HTC Sense Experience and an Ultra-Attractive $99.99 Price

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and BELLEVUE, Wash. – Beginning Nov. 6, DROID ERIS™ by HTC will invade Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the United States, bringing the power of the Android™ platform and the Verizon Wireless network together. DROID ERIS by HTC combines the popular Android platform with HTC Sense™, a user experience from HTC that makes it easy for customers to stay close to one another and create an individualized mobile experience tailored specifically to their needs.

DROID ERIS by HTC offers customers the opportunity to customize a seven-panel wide home screen with a wide variety of widgets designed to bring the most important information to the surface. DROID ERIS by HTC also includes the innovative "Scenes" feature, which allows customers to create multiple home screens, each with different widgets and shortcuts, to transform DROID ERIS by HTC from a "work" phone to a "play" phone with just a touch of a finger.

DROID ERIS by HTC also organizes interactions by person, which makes it possible to access text messages, e-mails, phone calls and even Flickr streams and Facebook updates from a single contact card.

The unique HTC Sense experience found on DROID ERIS by HTC is supported by an array of the latest mobile features, including:

o 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen and trackball interface

o 5.0 megapixel auto focus camera

o Expandable memory with pre-installed 8 GB microSD™ card (up to 16 GB supported)

o Supports USB mass storage

o Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi and 3.5 mm headset connectivity

o Integrated GPS and a digital compass with a sensor that enables the phone to know what direction it is facing

o Smart dialer for simplified dialing by name, number or initials

o Full HTML browser with Flash Lite capabilities

o Seamless compatibility with Google services like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search and more

DROID ERIS by HTC will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com on Friday, Nov. 6, for $99.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an e-mail feature or e-mail plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.

For more information about Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.