Before there was "Nexus," there was Droid. Verizon, Motorola, HTC, and others teamed up to turn the Lucasfilm-licensed term into a synonym for everything great about Android. It deserved the moniker, too: from the original, keyboarded Droid to the Droid X and Droid Incredible, the name meant something.

Now four years after its first "Droid DOES" ad, the Droid lineup — now exclusive to Motorola and Verizon — isn't competing with the iPhone anymore. That's what the Moto X is for: it's a comfortable, powerful, genuinely useful phone with mass appeal and the full backing of both Google and Motorola. Droids are now niche products, souped-up robot phones for the aspiring Elon Musk.

They’ve changed, too. The $199 Droid Ultra and $299 Droid Maxx don’t have physical keyboards or removable batteries, but one is the thinnest Android phone you can buy in the US, and one has the biggest battery. That's where Droids have come: trading overall appeal for superlative specs.

The Droid brand exists to offer bleeding-edge power, and give Verizon an option for its most hardcore subscribers. But in 2013 there are plenty of phones with plenty of power, and Motorola itself has taught us that power isn’t everything anyway. Can the new Droids kick things up yet another notch, or has the Droid brand turned from futuristic robot powerhouse to impotent Roomba?