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+.