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Motorola's Photon Q arrives Sunday at Sprint

New smartphone features Qwerty keyboard for 4G LTE

Sprint today announced it will sell the Motorola Photon Q smartphone for $199.99 and a two-year service plan starting on Sunday.

The Photon Q has a 4.3-in. touchscreen display with a slide-out five-row Qwerty keyboard. It runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and Android 4.0.4. Sprint made it available for pre-order today online.

The Photon Q is the largest smartphone screen available on a 4G LTE network, which Sprint launched in 15 cities on July 15. The smartphone's other features include an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and an HD front-facing camera. Because it runs Ice Cream Sandwich, it comes with Android Beam and uses Near Field Communication for sharing data.

The display offers ColorBoost technology for more vivid images. It is also scratch resistant and features a splash guard coating to protect it against spills.

Sprint continues to offer its smartphones with unlimited data plans, starting at $80 a month. Both of its larger competitors, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, charge for data in set allotments, which can now be shared across 10 wireless devices.

The carrier said it recognizes there is a large group of its customers who want a physical Qwerty keyboard. It has paired the device with international roaming capabilities for use abroad.

Motorola, owned by Google since May, has plans to reduce the number of low-priced phones it offers. As part of that effort, Google announced layoffs of 4,000 workers, or 20% of its work force. The Photon Q was in development well before Google purchased Motorola for $12.5 billion.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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