Remember the original Droid, that venerable 2009 smartphone on Verizon that almost single-handedly catapulted Android to ubiquity? At the time, the manufacturer, Motorola, touted the device’s QWERTY slider as an improvement over the iPhone’s on-screen keys. Unfortunately for the company, a number of phone reviewers found the Droid keyboard’s weak tactility and odd button placement frustrating. To Motorola’s credit, most (if not all) concerns were addressed in the Droid’s follow-ups, the Droid 2, 3, and 4, but the QWERTY slide-out by then had become an anomoly in a world of touch-focused slabs. In truth, haptic feedback and the limitless potential software affords make on-screen keyboards a pretty logical choice nowadays, but a few die-hard physical keyboard users apparently exist, because leaked photos show what appears to a new Motorola slider – presumably the Droid 5 – in the works.

The pictures, posted on Chinese social networking site Weibo, show a slider subtly different from its predecessors. The alleged Droid 5 ditches the series’ hallmark capacitive keys in favor of a potentially larger screen. (Somewhere in the 4.5-inch range, if Motorola’s other sliders are any indication.) Unremarkably, NFC and wireless charging hardware appear present, as does (big shock!) the signature laser cut 5-row keyboard. Somewhat interestingly, the poster says the new Droid will be the latest smartphone with a water and dust resistant design, an increasing trend. Exactly how resistant is, as are the phone’s dimensions, internals, and launch info, at this point unknown.

Never let it be said that Android wasn’t conducive to a wildly diverse lineup of hardware. Not everyone’s a fan of physical keyboards, though. Are you? A Droid slider got you feeling nostalgic? Let us know in the comments and on Google+.

Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers is an avid writer, web designer, podcaster, and video producer with an acute interest in all things technology. When not reviewing or commentating on gadgets, apps, and videos, he enjoys reading New Yorker feature articles, tinkering with computers, and playing the occasional game of Rock Me Archimedes.
  • MasterMuffin

    Has Nokia patented the brilliant design of E7 (the screen rises in different angle) or why does everyone else make these (in my opinion) horrible flat qwerty phones that make the keyboard less useful?

    • jumbo3220

      agree with your point. i waited for a Android with E7’s sliding mechanism

    • Uriel Segura

      bacause Eric Schmidt wants a physical qwerty keyboard rather than on screen , remember when he told the press that he is still using his blackberry?

      • MasterMuffin

        You don’t know what E7 is, am I correct?

        • Uriel Segura

          I do know that , I just didn’t read your comment “properly” and I misunderstood it, your pointing out how the screen will rise/mechanism to be used on phones with slide out qwerty to ease its usage sorry my bad,

    • chanman

      The Sidekick 4G did it quite nicely, even if the mechanism wasn’t exactly the same.

      • MasterMuffin

        First time I’ve heard of that! Googled and it does look good, but I think E7 may still be the better one (in terms of the mechanish, otherwise it’s “poop”)

  • foggyflute

    There’s no rubber seal or sign of place to insert it, I take it as no water resistant.
    It’s about time for a slider, taking too long.

  • Luke Kallam

    My money’s on this thing having a X8, 720p 4.3 or 4.5 inch screen, and hopefully that 10 MP camera on the Droid, Droid Ultra and Moto X

  • somercamb

    If water resistant, it’s probably ONLY when it’s closed. Being open would leave to many holes for the water to get into

  • Cal Rankin

    Too bad I don’t want to stay with Verizon anymore. This looks like something to replace my RAZR

  • lol

    such a horrible design..

  • Jeff Weatherup

    Ugh…I sorely miss the days of the physical keyboard!! I couldn’t take the lack of updates and the smaller screen, but my old HTC G2 had a great keyboard! I wish they would come out with something like this for T-Mobile, but with Nexus-like lack of bloat and timely updates! I would buy that in a heartbeat!

  • Virginia Patterson

    I would love to see a DROID Five with slide keyboard.

  • Paula Duffy

    Am so in need of a Qwerty keyboard. Type a lot and cannot make touchscreen work for me. Love my Droid 4 and have 10 months left on my contract with Verizon. At the store they didn’t give me much hope of finding a replacement, except for some Samsung they showed me. Any hope we’ll see this by year’s end?

  • AliNoorani

    I am dying for an android qwerty phone

  • Anne

    On screen keyboards seem like the logical choice, but in reality those who use them don’t type more than two sentences…
    Sorry, missed the age of the article…
    So no droid 5 then :(