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Verizon announces Droid 2, available August 12

After numerous leaks, Verizon makes it official and introduces the Motorola Droid 2. Presales start August 11.

Motorola Droid 2
Motorola Droid 2
Verizon Wireless

It wasn't the most well-kept secret in the world, but the news is nonetheless exciting, as Verizon Wireless finally announced the Motorola Droid 2 on Tuesday.

The Droid 2 will be available for presale on Verizon's Web site starting August 11 and will be in stores August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. As expected, the smartphone will ship running Android 2.2, which among other things includes support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The Droid 2 can also be used as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices, but you will need to sign up for Verizon's 3G Mobile Hotspot Service, which costs $20 per month.

Design-wise, the Droid 2 measures 4.58 inches tall by 2.38 inches wide by 0.54 inch thick and features a 3.7-inch WVGA (480x854) capacitive touch screen. One of the complaints of the original Droid was the flat keyboard, so Motorola improved it this time around and raised the keys. In addition to the physical and virtual keyboards, the smartphone will also come preloaded with Swype. Other improvements include a faster 1GHz TI OMAP processor and double the RAM (512MB).

The Droid 2 also features a 5-megapixel camera, DLNA support, and 8GB of onboard memory. A new capability of Froyo allows you to save apps both to the main memory and to an SD card, and Verizon is shipping the phone with a 8GB microSD card. The Android Market has more than 70,000 apps in the catalog now, but the smartphone will also come preloaded with some extras, such as NFL Mobile and Blockbuster On Demand.

One final highlight we weren't expecting but are certainly excited about (or maybe it's just me): Verizon will offer a limited-edition R2-D2 version of the Droid 2 in September. This version will have exclusive Star Wars content and hardware designed to look like R2-D2 and will only be available online.

We're working on getting you a full review of the Droid 2 as soon as we can, but in the meantime, who's already planning on getting one?