Apple Inc. is expected to release its much-awaited iPhone 5 in September, after the latest member of Verizon’s Droid family, Motorola Droid 3, which is expected to begin in-store sales on July 14. The California-based Apple will still face the heat from Droid 3 among smartphones.

Droid 3 is the first of the Droids to be sold on Verizon after the iPhone was released on Verizon network. Moreover, compared with Droid 2, it has numerous upgrades. Naturally, smartphone fans are wondering whether Droid 3 will emerge as the latest iPhone killer.

Below are the reasons why Motorola Droid 3 may have the capability to blow away Apple's iPhone 5:

Operating systems: Droid 3 runs the latest version of Google Inc.’s smartphone operating system Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. On the other hand, Apple’s iPhone 5 will be running on iOS 5 which is the newest version of the iOS OS versions. The new iOS 5 is expected come with 200 new features which will include Improved Notifications System, News Stand and iMessage.

Though Gingerbread isn't quite as refined as iOS, yet, it has true multitasking support and is Google's best bet yet against iOS, at least until it releases Ice Cream Sandwich. It is left to see which platform will outsmart the other in the long run.

QWERTY keyboard: Droid 3 is only a half-inch thick. This is the world’s thinnest slider smartphone on the market so far and will definitely make heads turn. And the full 5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard, much like the previous Droid models by Motorola, will get attention from those who still prefer physical keyboard’s accuracy over the touchscreen keyboard. Apple iPhone 4 doesn't have a physical QWERTY keyboard, and is not expected in the iPhone 5.

Camera: Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to have an 8MP dual-LED flash camera with 1080p video playback and panoramic photo capture, while iPhone 4 has 5MP camera. The Droid 3, when compared, sports a rear-facing 8MP LED flash camera with 1080p HD video recording, and a front-facing camera has 1.3MP for wide-screen video chat. Droid 3 can capture 1080p video @30fps, while iPhone 4 can record videos only at 720p.

Screen: iPhone 4 had a screen size of 3.5-inch with multi-touch display which will now see a major change with the upcoming iPhone 5. The new Apple-made smartphone is expected to have a bigger edge-to-edge 3.7 to 4-inch curved glass screen. Droid 3 has a 4-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen (960 x 540), up from the Droid 2's 3.7-inch display.

Processor: Droid 3 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Texas Instruments' OMAP4 processor with 1GB RAM, a sharp increase over the Droid 2's single core offering. Apple's iPhone 4 runs on 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, while iPhone 5 is rumored to sport a 1.2-1.5 GHz A5 processor with probably a 1GB RAM.

Storage: Droid 3 boasts of 16 GB internal storage and via a microSD card slot it can expand up to 32 GB, while iPhone 4 has fixed 16/32/64 GB internal storage and not expandable.

Pricing: Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected to hit the markets in September and has been rumored to be priced at $600. That may sound expensive for any buyer looking for a new smartphone. The Droid 3 is priced as $199.99 with a Verizon 2-year contract at Verizon stores or for the same price as the 16GB iPhone 4 (with 2-year contract). And on unsubsidized, Droid 3 is listed at $459.99, while iPhone 4 is listed at $649.99.

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