Droid 4 is essentially a Droid RAZR, shrunk and with a keyboard offers nice boost over Droid 3 specs

The Droid 4 -- if reports are to be believed -- is almost upon us.  Launching on America's largest network, Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- the product is poised to become the premium Android slider smartphone.

Currently, the best Android sliders on the market are Galaxy S designs from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930).  The "Stratosphere" Galaxy S variant on Verizon Wireless is the only LTE slider, while the Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G on Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) is the only WiMAX slider.  There's also the just launched Galaxy S II variant "Samsung Captivate Glide" on AT&T, Inc. (T), but it features gimped specs (compared to its sleek S II brethren) and a HSPA+ modem (no LTE), so it's arguably worse than the Stratosphere.  

Past that, things get downright old fashioned with models like the Droid 3/Milestone 3 from Motorola (on Verizon Wireless) and the G2 Touch from HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) (on Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA).

The Droid 4 is a major leap from the Droid 3, essentially offering almost all the goodies of the LTE-capable Droid RAZR in a smaller 4.0-inch slider package (the RAZR measures 4.3-inches for its diagonal).

Here are some pics of the new LTE slider:

Droid 4
Supposedly these are official shots, according to Droid Life.

Upgrades over the Droid 3 include (according to Droid Life and other sources):
  • CPU: Faster 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor, an OMAP 4 CPU with full h.264 Decoding (which the similar Tegra 2, reportedly has trouble with) (the Droid 3 packed a slower OMAP 4430)
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX 540 @ 304 MHz
  • Cameras: 1.3 MP "HD" front-facing camera (Droid 3's was 0.3 MP); auto-stabilization on the back camera
  • Battery: 1785 mAh (up from 1540 mAh)
  • Modem: LTE capable (Droid was 3G)
  • Keyboard: Backlit
  • Casing: Gorilla Glass
  • Software: FIPS 140-2 "government-grade" encryption for email, calendar, and contacts.
Here's a full leaked chart comparing the Droid 4 to the very similar RAZR and to its predecessors -- the Droid 2 and 3:

Droid 4

Google Inc. (GOOG) unit Motorola Mobility appears to be on 6 to 9 month schedule between releases.  At this rate you can likely expect a 720x1280, OMAP4460 1.4-1.5 GHz Droid V sometime in June and a 2 GHz dual CPU, dual GPU core OMAP 5/SGX 544 based design named something along the lines of "Droid VI" sometime between Dec. 2012 and Feb. 2013 (in case you're pondering the wait).

Honestly, it's a bit surprising that Motorola has lagged behind Samsung and HTC in making the switch to 720x1280 displays in its high-end lineup.

With that said, Motorola has been putting out the thinnest and lightest Androids at their specs point.  Expect the Droid 4 to be likely somewhat slimmer than the Epic 4G/Stratosphere.

Look for Samsung to counter early next year with an LTE-equipped full-fledged Galaxy S II variant early next year.

As mentioned in one of our past pieces, the name Droid is used by multiple manufacturers, but is exclusive to Verizon handsets.  Lucasfilm apparently owns the term (based on the "Droids" of Star Wars fame) and licenses it to Verizon Wireless for use.

[All images are unconfirmed, courtesy of Droid Life]

Source: Droid Life

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