The Motorola Droid arrives today with its share of surprises, one of which is that over a hundred people lined up at midnight outside a midtown Manhattan Verizon Wireless store to pick up the handset, as seen on CNET. If this writer is not the only one to be surprised that people are still waiting in line for anything when she can simply order it on Amazon, this is especially so for a cell phone. But it is possible that the Droid is special, and not just because some New Yorkers really had nothing better to do on a Friday morning. The same level of fuss was not directed to the HTC Droid Eris, which also launched today. Customers interviewed on FierceWireless say that they think the Droid is the first phone Verizon has carried that could actually compete with the iPhone, currently only on the AT&T network.

Customers are saying that they want an iPhone equivalent without having to switch wireless networks. Jeff Robins quoted in FierceWireless expressed that this phone may have potential - "it has the opportunity to grow through the open development and the Android 2.0 platform, and that's the exciting thing," he said.

This open source angle is really setting the new phone apart from other smartphones, and is the first to come equipped with Android 2.0. Nine-year Verizon customer Geoffrey Aravallis is glad to have the Google services that are native to the Droid, and "the Droid is much more open than the iPhone."

As for more recognizable characters, Michael Arrington delivered fevered praise. He says, "the Droid is the coolest mobile phone to exist to date. It is as close as we’ve come to the Platonic ideal of a smartphone."

As a self-professed member of the "Cult of iPhone," he seems more excited about what the Droid means in terms of affecting the next iteration of the iPhone than its own merit. Main points of improvement for competition sake? Choice of hardware or virtual keyboard, integration of Google Voice, and a preference for the Verizon network.