Dec 02 AT 4:43 PM Dustin Earley 90 Comments

Motorola Droid 4 pictured in the wild, coming to retail soon

Screen Shot 2011-12-02 at 4.30.02 PM

High-end Android devices and full QWERTY keyboards haven’t been getting along so well lately. Plenty of keyboard-equipped Android phones hit the market all the time, but rarely are they ever flagship quality. There’s really only one series of devices that comes to mind when talking about flagship devices and physical keyboards, and they’re all Droids.

The next chapter in the saga started by the original Motorola Droid is about to be written with the release of the Motorola Droid 4. In keeping with tradition, the Droid 4 will be a flagship spec’d device with a full physical keyboard attached. Specs on the upcoming Droid 4 haven’t exactly been plentiful, but we do know the device will launch with a 4-inch display and LTE connectivity. Physically, the device resembles the Droid RAZR in both design and dimension. It won’t be able to match the RAZR on thinness with a keyboard attached, but it will be pretty slim compared to similar devices.

As far as a release date goes, December 8 is starting to look like a safe bet. There’s good reason to believe Verizon will use this date to release several new devices, including the Galaxy Nexus and two different Xyboard variations (both of which were pictured with the Droid 4, keyboard docks and all). There’s a good chance the Droid 4 will be overshadowed by the Nexus come launch time, but for anyone who needs a physical keyboard on their phone of choice, the Droid 4 will be the way to go.

Via: The Verge

Source: Cnet

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    Overshadowed? At least it wasn’t completely forgotten like a bastard step child (cough cough Droid3). Seriously, I don’t even think they made one single print or television ad for the D3 before it was released.

    Since LTE isn’t and won’t be available in my area I’m not too upset over having a Droid3. I mean it’s everything I wanted except LTE, which again is not a huge issue. But I do wish it wasn’t released so quickly after mine!

    • Ethan Nadler

      AgreedX1000, I like my Droid 3, but I feel like motorola, but I feel like Motorola has stopped any pretense of trying to make the best phone possible at the time, and decided incremental updates with lower specs and bundled crapware will sell more phones :( What happened to the promise of unlocked boot-loaders? And just to round out my list of gripes Why no CM for droid 3. The lack of love is surprising considering the droid line is still a “flagship product” (I think).

  • stenzor

    I know it’s a matter of personal preference, but do people really type faster and more accurately with a physical keyboard? I’ve typed on both and found no increase in speed or accuracy with a physical keyboard.

    • Chris Chavez

      Then you’re doing it wrong O_o

      • stenzor

        I don’t know.. I’ve been typing on a touchscreen for so long that I can do it without looking.. also, the fact that you don’t need to actually press down on a key to register the keystroke saves time I think.. maybe I just suck with keyboards

        • latouffe

          If you have bigger fingers (6’6…) its better to use a physical one than the small touchscreen keyboard – its a pain in the ass ;)

    • oddball

      My wife has real problems with virtual keyboards. So a physical one is a must for her. I think I have used mine once since I got the phone and that was because the on screen keyboard software wasn’t working correctly.

      • stenzor

        I definitely think that on-screen keyboards have a much higher learning curve; maybe she hasn’t taken the time to get proficient with it?

        • oddball

          I think a lot of it is the physical feel of pushing a button vs the screen. Haptic feedback just isn’t the same. I think she would be happier with a basic phone given that she really doesn’t use most of the smartphone features. Last month she used less that 500mb of data (no that’s not a typo). I think the only thing she uses it for is weather and email if she is out of the house with the kids

          • oddball

            yep we our month ends tomorrow and so far she has use 215 mb of data

          • golcarcol

            same here, my wife loves checking the HTC weather widget (probably loves that more than me =( jk). But other than that and some basic web usage, I can’t get my wife to become a power user.

        • ablkida

          I type faster on a QWERTY keyboard. On-screen keyboards like swype are good, but sometimes don’t cut it for me. I also like to play some games that allow you to use to keyboard like Stardash. I hope t-mobile comes out with a G3 if they do I would definitely get it.

          • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

            One thing for sure, people who love physical keyboard don’t rely on word prediction too much — actually, from what I can tell, they didn’t even look at the screen.

          • Aladdin

            A G3 would be amazing.

          • http://www.peterson-tech.com/~jlp/ jlp

            I fear T-mobile is never going to get any new Motorola devices… especially after the Cliq and Cliq XT update debacles. I, for one, am still using my Cliq and loving it with Cyanogenmod on board.

      • http://midweststitch.com ajonrichards

        My wife said the same thing when I had an HTC Eris, and she insisted on a slide-out keyboard. After I upgraded to an HTC Incredible, she tried it out again, and was pleased with it. I just got her an Incredible 2, and she says she has no issues typing on that screen. I personally have found trying to type on a blackberry slower than an virtual keyboard, but that may be just from 2 years of experience at this point.

    • jathak

      I’ve got an OG Droid (I’m waiting for the Nexus) and I definitely type faster on-screen. However, with a better keyboard, such as in the newer Droids, I could definitely see how it could be faster.

    • Cole Loomis

      On my OG Droid i never really used it much. I’ve got large hands and large fingers, so the physical keyboard just didn’t cut it. With the larger screen on my X I am able to use the virtual keyboard much better.

    • http://www.peterson-tech.com/~jlp/ jlp

      I’m definitely more comfortable with a hardware keyboard. It’s especially nice when you’ve dropped your phone one too many times and the screen digitizer is a little off kilter.

    • mlcottingham

      For me, the physcal QWERTY becomes move valuable the longer the an email. I find that I can manage 3 to 4 words without a typo on a virtual keyboard… so, for quick “honey, grab milk on your way home” type of email, It really doesn’t matter. But, if I have to write an entire paragraph (or more), the slider keyboard becomes invaluable.

    • dl22

      I think the physical keyboards had an advantage before screens pushed past 3.7″. But now with improved virtual keyboards and bigger buttons sizes…the physical keyboard is just done.

    • Melissa

      I can deal with virtual keyboards, but because I type so fast, I get frustrated with typos even with word predictions and auto complete. I’ve tried different kinds of keyboards, but I am still missing going back to the physical qwerty. And I’m not that much of a swype person.

  • oddball

    I can’t tell but it looks like it’s running ICS? I want the nexus but this looks like a very nice device too

    • Genetic_Bloom

      Why does it look like it’s running ICS? It looks like standard Moto to me and I’m sure it is. There’s no way Motorola is going to have a functional ICS ROM running on this phone that I’m positive has been in development since before ICS was even announced.

      • oddball

        If you look above the Verizon branding the “buttons” look on my screen to be virtual. Yes I know it’s a blur overlay but if the standard 4 button setup is onscreen rather than hardware I thought that could mean ICS.

    • Deeds

      Definitely no ICS, it’s Motorola’s Don’t-Call-it-Blur custom interface

  • cmorris

    I prefer physical keyboards and t-mobile, so I am just out of luck.

    • Dustin Earley

      The myTouch Slide wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was actually pretty high-end.

      • Melissa

        I LOVE the myTouch’s physical keyboard. I wish HTC came out with a high-end QWERTY for Sprint. :(

    • Andy_jr

      I’m on T-Mobile also, and I don’t want to switch, but I really like physical keyboards. Considering T-Mobile’s weak line-up, this may be my next phone. The specs are very good and the keyboard looks great.

      (The MyTouch 4G Slide has good specs, but the screen is too small. If I can get past the lack of keyboard, the Galaxy S2 would be OK.)

  • Grant

    Hmmm when I think of flagship device with a physical keyboard I think of the G2 (HTC Desire Z) but I guess that is just me. When I see the Droid, I think of a plastic, mainstream, overrated and designed to be thrown to the sheep phone. Hence, they are on the fourth one now? Sounds an awful lot like Apple’s model of releasing the same device with hardly anything new over and over so that the sheep can have something new.

  • GeauxLSU

    The main reason I didn’t get the Droid 3 was that I wanted LTE. Depending on the other specs, I’ll probably go with the Droid 4. I have an OG Droid, and think I want to keep the physical keyboard. I guess next week I’ll be going into the Verizon store to see how I like the other phones with larger screens.

  • Finn Kempers

    Welll I still believe that the history of physical keyboard phones is coming to an end, however for those moving away from Blackberry to Android it is a good bridge between the two into a better operating system.

  • charliethesuperturtle

    At last LTE!!!!

    • Aspeds2989

      Yea, but it’s what the Droid 3 should’ve been :-!

  • auronblue

    I bought my Droid 2 because i badly wanted a physical keyboard after coming from an LG Dare. However, I have been using the FlexT9 virtual keyboard for months and actually rarely use the physical keyboard anymore. The word prediction and swiping features are just more convenient. This looks like a great phone, but I’ll be moving to a Galaxy Nexus once it’s available.

  • http://whysoangrybirds.com mikeyDroid

    I was all about physical keyboards with my OG Droid for over 2 years, but the 2 weeks with this Razr and I’m over it. Bring on the Nexus!

  • Mighty_O

    Oh…great a new soon to be forgotten droid phone!

  • MaxSteel

    All I want is a G3. A successor to the G2 made by HTC.

    • djembeman

      If they call it a G3, couldn’t Apple sue them? The series of Power PC computers released by Apple went by G3, G4 and I think G5 before they went to Intel based processors.

      • Grant

        ^^ LOL so true…

  • Qrkchrm

    That looks like a pretty good physical keyboard. I’m happy.

  • cfvonner

    My wife would probably prefer having the keyboard. I couldn’t talk her into a virtual keyboard when we got our phones, so she got the Droid2 global, while I got the DroidX. With SwiftKey, I like the virtual keyboard just fine.

  • 2C

    I wish they would have kept the Droid series to stock Android. I can’t stand skins.

    • kentrburton

      I am with you on this one. +1

    • golcarcol

      Same here. First thing I did when getting my Droid X was to install CM7.

  • intel8140

    With swype, why would anyone want a keyboard on thier phone?

    • mimogear

      Swype is excellent! But I’d have to say for others they just want to stick with what they are used to.

  • levelm

    It makes no sense to me that they would not only release a DROID 4 this soon after the DROID 3, but that they would do it at the same time as the Galaxy Nexus.

    • Chrislewissd

      It actually does make sense… I think… Maybe moto is trying to get rid of all their products to make room for new phones that are coming out that will be tailored to ICS

  • msgnyc

    Mmmm now that’s a sexy looking keyboard right there.

  • papakyriazis

    I really do not get it. why do you need a physical keyboard when you have a big screen ?

    • minimage

      Because when I try to hit the d, I get s. When I try to hit the p, I get o, and when I try to hit a period, I get the freaking voice command. Phone manufacturers have decided that I shouldn’t be allowed to calibrate the devices and tailor them to my hands and usage patterns. It doesn’t make sense to think that my child-sized hands will hit reliably in the same places as Shaq’s hands! The tactile keyboards just work better for me; touchscreen keyboards are exercises in frustration for some of us and always will be, even on my tablet.

      • Melissa

        …plus sometimes the keyboard taking up half the screen can get annoying sometimes.

  • mimefly

    I want one! I love to have both a big screen and a keyboard. Ever since my first PDA (Psion Revo, with keyboard) I have missed this feature.

  • frusak

    The physical keyboard its nice to have but for me the design is ugly

  • mugurelu

    That looks so much like my next phone…
    Where did u get that photo? :)) :P

  • frpst9

    After using the OG Droid since its inception, I’ve found that the only times I’ve needed the physical keyboard is after flashing a new ROM when signing into my Google account (“Slide open the keyboard”).

    I’ve realized that I absolutely don’t need the keyboard.

  • Rich

    “I swear Mr.Motorola I wouldn’t have taken a picture and shared it online if I could read the confidential warning, but I couldn’t because you put it on upside down”

  • wontsttle4less

    cool! i think ill love it

  • ndub21

    I thought they were on Droid 10 or something. They release these things so absurdly fast.

  • smwinn7

    I hate verizon right now my company is switching us over to verizon for wireless service and i have to make a decision by 9 Dec and i have no idea what to do weather to go with the bionic or this no way am i going to a non-removable battery with the razr

  • humidity

    That keyboard looks amazing!

  • GUI_Center

    Have the OG droid and never use the keyboard. I did use it when I first started using the phone but very quickly stopped.

  • MrMrMan

    Why is Verizon getting all these phones?

  • Gir

    Wow, so sad, that I went from the Droid, to the Droid3 which is awesome. But like someone said completely overshadowed, I didn’t even know it came out, ended up getting it at the buy one get 1. Now I have a Razr, and that Nexus is still out there in the wild. So many choices its a good time to be a Verizon customer, and being grandfathered into the unlimited data is good as well.

  • speedsurfer6

    I’m not totally crazy about this phone because I’ve gotten used to the on screen keyboard and it would be strange adapting to the slide out again. The good thing is that it has LTE

  • minimage

    I haven’t been able to adjust to any touchscreen keyboard, be it on an iPhone, Windows Phone 7 or Android. Swype is the best thing out there for me, if I can’t use a slider, but I haven’t been able to get a slider with the kind of screen real estate I desire. I’m no Verizon customer, and I never wish to be, but I hope we start to see more devices like this. I’m tied to my Photon 4G for the next 16 months, I’m sure, but there’s hope for the future.

  • goodevilgenius

    Makes my sad little Droid 2 look like crap.

  • carlosestremera

    i think droids are overrated…NOT android – I LOVE ANDROID! (before I get bashed here) i just think droids are overrated…

    • Numbertwo

      I totally agree with you. Droids are way overrated!!

  • kimminer1

    there will also be a Razr w/keyboard

  • alec

    And I thought it was bad when the Atrix 2 came out so soon! Haha talk about a fast follow up for the Droid 3.

  • http://twitter.com/sbateskc BillyMaysHere

    hahah droid 3 meet razar

  • http://www.mikeytusa.com mikeytusa

    Hooray for bloatware!

  • adaam93

    Damn, Motoblur keeps getting uglier and uglier.

    • Vipitus

      Yea, it’s looking really ugly and sugary.

      Better go minimal :D

  • MoSDeeb

    Shame that it will probably have an encrypted/bootloader

    Death to moto blur

  • Vipitus

    Ugly phone, ugly Motoblur, locked bootloader.

    Better choose Galaxy Nexus, it’s waaaay better than this crap :D

  • latouffe

    Thats a huge Phone!

  • sylar

    Well I wonder how long it will be before they start having unlocked bootloaders if ever.

  • Billy

    When I left my Blackberry for an Evo (and then DX), I cringed at losing my keyboard. I then had to revert to my BB temporarily and realized I wanted on screen keyboard back.

    I am now on the Droid 2 and was excited to have both but I never use the keyboard and the slider kind of annoys me. Haha.

    However, I love the fact that physical keyboards and sliders are still an option. This is one of the defining qualities of android …. choice!

  • http://ilysespieces.tumblr.com ilysespieces

    Digging the look of the keyboard, even though I don’t prefer them it looks great for those who do

  • Joseph Banks

    will possibly be my wife’s new phone, since she digs the QWERTY keys better than onscreen variety. wonder if non-removable battery like Razr?

  • Danthes24

    i love the full keyboard feature ..:D

  • Codz

    The gorilla glass and Kevlar are the best attribute to this sick phone

  • Danny123

    Verizon is stacked this holiday season.

  • la_resistance28

    Want another reason why Verizon is only going to be half-heartedly supporting Google and its baby, the Galaxy Nexus? There you go! VZW has much more incentive to market and support its Droid lineup of the Razr and Droid 4, as well as the Rezound over the Nexus. I can’t see the Nexus being a huge mainstream hit outside of us Android geeks unless VZW is willing to push the GNex and slow down the Razr/Rezound marketing.

  • Samar

    Will B intersting to see this piece.

  • flamesbladeflcl

    looks nice.