Oct 01 AT 12:05 AM Clark Wimberly 45 Comments

Verizon to launch Motorola Tao on December 1

Motorola has dominated the Android headlines this week and they hope to dominate the smartphone wars this holiday shopping season. We already know the T-Mobile Cliq is shipping October 19, but what about their other phone?

For months we have been reporting on the Motorola Sholes and this week people started calling it the Motorola Tao. I was unable to confirm the Tao name with my inside sources, but I’ve seen enough sites reporting on the name that we are going to stick with it.

This week we received a mysterious letter from our new tip line. The document describes an upcoming phone headed for Verizon Wireless and all the specs match up with the Sholes specs we leaked back in August. The name of the phone is conveniently missing and has been replaced by the letters “XXX”. Could this represent the the three letters of Tao or just be a place holder for another name?

Call it whatever you like, but this is the “other” Motorola phone that everyone has been waiting for. The letter confirms several of the features we have been talking about, but there are several new additions not seen anywhere else.

Read it over and let us know what you think.

Update: (10/2): The information that was published had an embargo date of October 1, 2009. We respected the embargo and were later informed that the embargo date had been retracted. The image has been removed because we were asked not to share the information which is not yet ready for public distribution.

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • Osiris

    Wow that letter is tempting me to leave my jailbroken iPhone and my tmobile service for vzw

    • Galen20K

      I agree, its a Very Nice looking device.

      • http://www.TechProsSD.com SDscorch

        i disagree – i think it looks “old”

        kindof a 70s style


        i like the specs though – amazing

        • JohnQ

          omg, haven’t you watched BSG? retro is totally in again. All of this has happened before, and it’s all happening again lol

        • tke789

          Yeah…touch screen mobile phones where all the rage in the 70′s.
          No vocado green, burnt orange or artificial wood grain. Nope, the phone does not have the hallmarks of 1970 design. Heck, it doesn’t even have shag carpeting. :)
          But you are right, it does have a classic design. It kind of reminds me of 1960 modern with the chrome.

          • Dan Ader

            retro? yes . . . it resembles an HP12C, updated with a sliding touch screen and Android. I thinks it’s PFC.

  • Donovan

    i just hope its out before the end of the year, and i hope we get all details tuesday..

  • Amu

    Wow, I hope that it’s all true. My first gen iPhone needs a replacement :). So I’m wondering, will the Tao/Sholes be the first smartphone with full flash 10?
    QWERTY keyboard D-pad 3.7″ 854×480 screen 5 megapixel cam w/ dual LED flash flash TI OMAP3430 = my dream phone (for now lol)

  • Morten

    Looking sick. Is that screen AMOLED as well? This could very well be the perfect phone. I wonder when it comes to Europe!

    • Morten

      Oh, and I wonder about the battery since its so thin… That might be a dealbreaker if its shitty. And it will probably be multitouch right?

      • osiris

        Yeah i just thought about that how long will the battery last; hmm slightly less excited for now

      • Silan

        Don’t count on any multitouch officially for Android in the near future. This statement would have included it if it was part of 2.0, and the Android team has said more then 1 time that multitouch maybe isnt coming at all for Android, or at least it still has long plans.
        Reason? I’ve no idea, personally I like to blame Apple.

        • Quickster357

          dude…it WILL have multi-touch. quit lying to the masses.

  • edward

    I just might have to leave T-Mobile for this phone.They want let me upgrade .But i’ll wait to see if we can get a Rom to put this on the G1.If not good by T-Mo

  • Brak

    Anyone notice how repetitive the letter was? What is this doc for? How do we know it’s not forged and doctored to put a zing in our giblets? i’ll wait for more validity of these statements

    • A7MAN

      Actually what you refer to as “repetitive” about this leak/release is what makes it most believable for me. Have a look at any promotional material for just about any product and it follows these same guidelines: a.)Reiterate ad infinitum why your product is awesome b.)beat reader like a dead-horse with the “my product rules” stick c.)remind reader again (with supporting evidence) why upcoming product will b teh roxorz n teh soxorz.

      Honestly, to me, this sounds like the classic corporate PR formula. The ACTUAL legitimacy of this particular “leak” remains to be seen. But with regard to your comment specific, I think it makes it MORE believable – not less.

  • Jeff

    Does anyone else think Verizon would ruin this phone?

    Do they even have a good Data Plan? Sprints simply everything for $70? I currently use my mom’s Razr and its due for an upgrade.

  • Diar

    Wow. I predict that this is also the date by which number portability will be available for Google Voice. Either way, I’m in. But battery life is the most crucial element so they better come correct.

  • G1MR2

    I really can’t wait for this to OFFICIALLY be announced, i agree if all these features and specs are true, this phone will be the top most perfect phone of today. I can finally leave my G1, which i learned so much from, and get this sholes/Tao. Will be very disappointed if this turns out to be false because the letter was a little repetitive, but maybe the person writing it was as excited as i am. lol.

  • Jonathan

    It mentions “double tap” for zooming capabilities – should we infer from this statement that there will be no multi touch?

  • Charles

    Very nice specs. What worries me is the carrier. Verizon is notorious for forcing their proprietary modifications on phone OSs, and they are always horrifically slow.

    Also, why do manufacturers continue to refer to “Android 2.0″? It’s Android 1.6, Android 2.0 does not yet exist. One would think these manufacturers who are so “excited” about Android would learn something about it.

    • Brak

      just because the dev kit is currently at 1.6 doesnt mean the 2.0 software isnt in development. considering we’re so close to the release of this phone (claiming to be launching with 2.0), and the dev kit isnt out is what concerns me. But i have been expecting a delayed launch the whole time, so im not as disappointed as i could be.

    • Androidlovre611

      Following the forums that have been discussing this phone, it will actually be Android 2.0 or the Eclair build. Apparently that’s what really holding up the release as the hardware is pretty much ready.

  • jasonlee


  • http://www.mobilebrazzers.com mobile brazzers

    I was getting pretty excited until I saw the Verizon part. ugh.. verizon.

    Why cant these things be released for mutliple carriers

    no trakball either- that might get kinda weird

  • http://www.mobilebrazzers.com mobile brazzers

    wow its got FLASH too and google bookmarks

  • matty

    im fully hard… why can’t this get here sooner!!! my contract is up in two weeks, then ill have to wait another month and a half… booo!!!!

  • http://thisandroidlife.blogspot.com Merago


  • Quickster357

    * OMAP3430 — 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX 530 GPU + 430MHz C64x+ DSP + ISP (Image Signal Processor)
    * Dimensions 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
    * Weight 169 g
    * Battery Li-ion 1400 mAh.
    * Standby 450 hours, talk time 420 minutes
    * 3.7-inch touch-sensitive display with a resolution of 854×480 pixels, 16 million color depth. Physical screen size is 45.72 mm by 81.34 mm.
    * 16GB/256MB ROM/RAM
    * microSD / microSDHC expansion slot
    * Dual Flash LED w/Camera: 5.0 megapixel with autofocus and video recorder
    * Connectivity: USB2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, Wi-Fi
    * Supported audio formats: AMR-NB/WB, MP3, PCM / WAV, AAC, AAC +, eAAC +, WMA
    * Supported video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, WMV
    * GPS navigation w/aGPS
    * Package Contents: Phone Motorola Sholes, battery, charger, USB cable, “supposedly” 8GB MicroSD memory card and other literature.

    It WILL have Android 2.0 Eclair and it still is currently in development by a separate department than 1.6 Donut, what the VZW testers currently have is an “early release 2.0″ for this phone that is unfinished.

    The SDK will be available shortly (probably 2weeks-2months) after this handset is released.

    FINALLY, Android 2.0 Eclair will natively have multi-touch and VZW WILL NOT gimp, cripple or destroy this handset. If anything would be it would have been GPS, but as you can see HOFO member wnrussel is using it right out of the box so, again, it WILL NOT be crippled.

    • Jeff

      Specs look fantastic

      @ your end post, I hope that’s the case.

      And the price should be decent, right? I mean the Touch Pro 2 is $200 on contract, T-Mobile and Sprint charged $349.99.

    • A7MAN

      You’re specs are a little off bud. 16GB storage with 512mb ROM 256 RAM. I’m no expert but I believe there is a difference. I’m assuming the 512 is for OS etc whereas the 16G will be user usable, so to speak.

      That said, I’ve been following/waiting for this phone for a couple months now and every leaky-morsel has just made it sweeter and sweeter. Apparently Oct 6 will be the day that all our questions are answered.

      I’d love to believe that VZ won’t cripple this phone in an attempt to monetize it in various ways but that remains to be seen. Anyone who says otherwise proclaiming the validity of their own speculation.

      If VZ let’s it be, there’s no question I’m going to bail on TMo and jump on the VZ bandwagon. I’m sick of TMo’s $30 data-edge plan anyway. How can you charge the MOST for your data-plan when it’s the WORST of all the carriers? Sending sms to EU isn’t that important to me these days anyway…

      My only worry at this point, other than the possibility of VZ crippling Android on this handset, is that my clumsy-arse will drop it and the wafer-thin device will shatter into oblivion. Dec 1 here I come!

  • Phillip Duggan

    I don’t have anything to add except that I’m super excited and can’t wait for December now!

  • Crypto

    This “Motorola Droid” is coming, to be announced on October 6th, released on December 1.

    Whoever heard of a Tao or a Sholes ???? ;-)

  • chuksy

    “Will be available in 12/01/09 in North America”

    At least you Americans would not moan that its coming to Europe first.
    I wonder when this will show up in Europe,or is it just exclusive to Verizon? Hope not?

    • Quickster357

      There should be a seperate GSM version that Moto is working on releasing a few months after this CDMA version. As for it working in Europe you might want to see what radio band it will work for.

  • Raghu

    Lover everything about the phone.. Just hate Verizon… Sooooooooo Big Bummer

  • JJ

    A mysterious letter from your tip line?

    Everything on this page should be taken with a healthy grain of salt.

  • carig

    they should actually call it the “Motorola XXX” just because it’s so awesome haha

    this has got me really excited, especially if it actually has the 16gb on-board memory and provided that it isn’t over $200

    i guess i’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t have blur, just because of the linked contacts and messaging, but given the rate android is advancing i’d say it won’t be too long before it gets that stuff anyways, i mean the palm pre was the first to have universal search and now android 1.6 has it and does it way better

    • Jeff

      I gotta say, I am not a fan of motoblur. Probably because I dont do social networking.

  • http://www.andrudes.com Todd A

    I think it’s smart to reserve MotoBlur for the more consumer entertainment oriented phones. It looks like the Sholes/Tao/Droid phone may be a more serious entry into the business or “pda replacement” style smartphone. And, it’s been a long time coming. Way to go, Moto !

  • http:androidandme.com dannydarko

    to JJ and to all, the slips n tips nearing a launch are made secrectly on behest of the carriers and manufacturer’s trying to build the hype Now i’m only talking of the slips in the aforementioned above this is fact not fiction for someone with marketing background

  • Xcellmass

    Raghu are you seriousverizon is the best company to be with, they have 24/7 support, they have the best phones best coverage, and not to mention 48% of cellphone holders in the us is with verizon leaving the other 52% split among the other companies. SO yea verizon is the best

  • pheobemoon

    dont forget that verizon has just now come out with android. T-mobile has had it for over a year and is constantly improving the system. T-Mobile also has the lowest plans and best customer service. Going to verizon, you may as well just hand me the extra money your throwing away by paying thier outrageous bill each month. Go to each website and compare plans. Coverage? T-Mobile has great coverage, they just dont have to shove it down your throats in every commercial they have.

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  • http://www.AllSanDiegoComputerRepair.com SDscorch

    happy w/ my new android phone!