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Remember when the Motorola DROID Bionic wowed everyone at CES?

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Remember when the Motorola DROID Bionic wowed everyone at CES?
As CES 2017 is about to kick off, you might recall CES 2011. That was the year when one phone above others caught the attention of attendees, the media (including us) and consumers. That phone was the Motorola DROID Bionic. And while a DROID Bionic model eventually was launched, the version of the phone that captured everyone's fancy at CES was deemed impossible for Motorola to manufacture and was never made.

Let's go back to the start. It was January 5th and CES 2011 was underway in Las Vegas. Motorola had unveiled the DROID Bionic, featuring a 4.3-inch display with a 540 x 960 qHD resolution. A dual-core 1GHz CPU was powering the device. At the time, this was considered to be a rather zippy CPU. 512MB of DDR2 RAM was supposed to keep the handset running smoothly, and a front-facing camera was available for video chats (the word selfie had not yet been invented). An 8MP camera adorned the back of the phone. A 1930mAh replaceable battery was inside, and Android 2.2 was pre-installed. This would be one of the first of Verizon's phones to work on the carrier's 4G LTE network.

With the DROID Bionic becoming the belle of the ball, the day after its introduction we were able to spend some time with the device which you can read about on when you take a look at our Hands-on experience with the phone. The phone was expected to launch at the beginning of the second quarter. But shocking news was announced in April when Motorola killed the version of the DROID Bionic seen at CES (which was called Etna). To replace it, Motorola would launch a different version of the DROID Bionic called Targa. Apparently, the Etna version of the Bionic continued to fail internal tests at Motorola, mostly dealing with power management. In other words, the unit would overheat constantly.

The DROID Bionic was supposed to launch in August, but that was put off a month.  Finally, there were signs that the phone would be launching soon. The DROID DOES website revealed an AR contest where entrants would try to snag AR Bionics using the rear camera on their current phone. The DROID Bionic was soon spotted at a NY Mets game and in a Best Buy ad. Finally, an advertisement for the phone hit the television networks.

On September 8th, 2011, approximately 8 months after CES 2011 ended, the DROID Bionic finally launched. It wasn't the model that Motorola originally displayed at the trade show. Was it worth the wait? A few days after the phone launched, we gave you our take on the answer to that question.


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posted on 03 Jan 2017, 12:56

1. shnibz (Posts: 379; Member since: 18 Sep 2011)


Hey I won a Droid Bionic courtesy of @Phonearena.com! It was pretty cool. Unfortunately I had no kids and money back then and had JUST bought a Galaxy Nexus lol. But tried out the Bionic for a month then Gave it to my sister when she left her phone in a cab in Las Vegas lol. Thanks PA

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:48

6. antmiu2 (Posts: 362; Member since: 19 Jun 2011)


PA nver does a giveaway.. disregard this comment.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 14:22 1

9. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1578; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Um, I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not but PA actually DID use to do giveaways back in 2011. Surprising since it says you have been a member since then.

Actually, I'm not quite sure why they stopped. Maybe they were no longer given review phones that they could give away or the person who does the review decides to keep it. I wish they would bring it back. I think it would bring in viewers.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 16:58

11. shnibz (Posts: 379; Member since: 18 Sep 2011)


They used to

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 17:01

12. shnibz (Posts: 379; Member since: 18 Sep 2011)


Well here is where I won and another dude won a droid RAZR sooooo

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Giveaway-Motorola-DROID-RAZR-and-DROID-BIONIC_id28939

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:06 1

2. SyCo87 (Posts: 59; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)


I remember there was a design change and everyone felt a little disappointed with the new design. And it took FOREVER to come out, I was actually more impressed by the Atrix design even though HTC was my preferred brand back then.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 14:20

8. JC557 (Posts: 1782; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Yup, I remember drooling over the concept design and supposed specs but went with the HTC Thunderbilt due to the constant pushing back of the release date (the battery life became much better after a couple of updates) but then the actual Bionic was released and it was pretty lame aesthetically but the hardware was good save for the camera (just decent). I would purchase the a used Bionic a year later and it was pretty decent but definitely was not what was promised.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:08

3. SuperAndroid507 (Posts: 355; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


By that time I was using a Nokia C6-00, I remember reading an article (not in this site) about the Bionic, I was not too much into Android yet, but in 2012.........

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:20 1

4. matistight (Posts: 535; Member since: 13 May 2009)


What people don't realize is they released the Photon (July 2011) before the Bionic (Sept. 2011) and the Photon looks almost identical to the OG Bionic. The Photon had 1GB of RAM, a slightly smaller 1700 mAh battery, but it was missing LTE. It also ran on Sprint, so it was not even noteworthy lol

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:40

5. biophone (Posts: 1994; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


I remember named my profile after it

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 13:53

7. Nexus4lifes (Posts: 184; Member since: 13 Feb 2014)


those motorola qhd pentile displays were probably the worst displays on any smartphone>$200.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 14:32

10. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1578; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Actually, I think it was the Motorola Atrix 4G that really stole the show back in CES 2011. With the built in fingerprint reader and laptop dock station, it was something that was above the competition at the time.

The sad thing is that either the Tegra 2 processor or Motorola's version of Android was not optimized that you really saw any gains over a single core processor.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 18:02

13. roldefol (Posts: 4362; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


It's OK. We got the stellar Droid Charge instead of that Bionic. /s

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 20:26

14. JC557 (Posts: 1782; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


The Charge had a nice display, good camera and battery life but it lacked the RAM and didn't go beyond Gingerbread. It may hhave had a lower resolution than the Bionic but the AMOLED display was still gorgeous compared to the fuzzy nature of the pentire Bionic despite the higher qHD.

posted on 03 Jan 2017, 23:19

15. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Ahh yes I remember the Droid Bionic. The huge delay and then when it finally came out, a couple months later they released the Droid Razr which was superior in every way possible.

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