Motorola's Droid 4, with its physical QWERTY keyboard, arrives Friday for $200 to round out Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE smartphone roster.
Like its predecessor, which launched only seven months ago, the Droid 4 has a 4-inch qHD display, 16 GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera for video chat.
Compared to the Droid 3, it has double the RAM, at 1 GB, to keep the phone running smoothly, and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor instead of 1 GHz. The Droid 4 is a bit thinner than the old model, coming in just under a half-inch thick, and it borrows some design elements from the Droid RAZR.
But the Droid 4's biggest new feature -- and, presumably, the reason Verizon is pushing the phone out so soon -- is 4G LTE support. Verizon needed a 4G phone with a physical keyboard, and now it has one. At this point, Verizon seems to have stopped launching high-end Android phones without 4G LTE support.
As with the Droid Razr, the Droid 4 uses Android 2.3.5, but Verizon is promising an upgrade to Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, eventually. Motorola's bringing along its usual software tweaks, including "Smart Actions" that can preserve battery life by automatically adjusting settings. The Droid 4 will also support Motorola's Lapdock 500, a laptop-like accessory that runs a full Web browser, powered entirely by the phone.
To coincide with the launch, Verizon is bringing back the double data promotion that it made available for 4G phone buyers last year. So users who get a $30, 2 GB plan will get 4 GB instead, and so on. The carrier will also run a buy one, get one free promotion on the Droid Razr and Droid Razr Maxx starting Friday, so Motorola-loving couples will want to hold off on buying new hardware until then.