It's been a long time since business phones meant anything other than BlackBerrys. But now Android has turned up for work in its Monday morning best, with squeaky new shoes, a garish tie from Top Shop and a can-do attitude. Or at the very least, a keyboard that could have come straight from RIM.
The screen also recalls BlackBerry's stolidness, with the 3.1-inch LCD lacking the size or resolution (320x480) of the flashiest Android handsets. Its multi-touch is excellent, though, especially when using the (landscape format only) soft keyboard.
Build quality generally is very good. The plastic case feeds solid and well built, the design is sober and only that annoying camera hump, leftover from previous Droids, detracts from the Pro's professionalism.
The Pro is also wicked fast, booting up browsers, emails and QuickOffice in seconds, delivering animated graphics and videos without a stutter and generally multi-tasking like an anxious pimply-faced MBA fresh out of business school.
Android 2.2 is a sensible choice for Google's first work phone. The OS comes with Exchange support, Google Calendar synching and hotspot tethering. Motorola has added a built-in VPN client, remote lock/wipe features and is promising device and memory card encryption early in 2011.
The Pro is properly quad-band for global roaming. However, it still hasn't got the BlackBerry email encryption that comforts paranoid executives and annoys tin-pot dictatorships. In fact, Android overall is probably just a bit too open and vulnerable to entice corporate IT departments yet.
Despite this, the Pro is a genuine joy to use. It's quick, friendly and even its 5MP photos are better than you'll get from most BlackBerrys. It's unlikely to storm the boardroom but anyone who likes apps as much as messaging could do a lot worse.
The Motorola Droid Pro is available now on Verizon in the US. No UK launch date yet.