Motorola Droid 3 Bares All to Reveal Its Keyboard, Now a 5-Row QWERTY


Yesterday we got our first look at the exterior of the upcoming Motorola Droid 3, but one major element was left veiled in mystery: the trademark keyboard that sets the Droid family apart from much of its upper-echelon smartphone kin. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait to long to get a look at what we will be dealing with, and just like the rest of the handset it has been retooled in a way that is different from its predecessors but still recalls elements of those previous incarnations.

At first glance we appear to be dealing with the same keyboard found on the Motorola Droid 2, and we are — for the first four rows. But then you will notice the four-row QWERTY the Droid has known for two iterations has given way to a full five-row QWERTY with space for numbers without the need to use the ALT key. It appears they have done so without sacrificing much (if any at all) real estate for the other keys, meaning the typing experience at the very least won’t degrade from that of the Droid 2.

So far we life the fresh look the Droid 3 is taking on the popular Droid design. It feels new and different without alienating the elements that made the first two a huge success. Rumors that this device will lack 4G LTE are disconcerting, but there is always a chance that could change by launch.

[via DroidLife]

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  1. Beautiful. Proud owner of d1, d2, and someday (hopefully soon) a d3.

  2. Oh this sounds great I wonder what other specs are, if they are Tegra2 and LTE, this has WINNING all over it.

  3. I will never buy a Motorola phone again after the stunt they pulled with the Milestone/Droid 1.
    Real shame, because the hardware is ace.

  4. Ya but we all know that samsungs are these best phones they are faster more updated more reliable with sprint and they have that screen the MOLED thing

  5. Lol. Good one.

  6. Most of us won’t see LTE until next year at the soonest, so a lack of LTE wouldn’t be a big deal for me.

  7. Like the OP, I also wonder what the specs are. Even more so than wondering about the lack of LTE radio, I am wondering if they are still keeping their locked bootloaders and attitute. Is this going to be the bitch-slapped red-headed step-child like the D2 was? Never again, Moto.
    I am still hazy on what the hell happened with the D1, it was an absolute home run for moto, vzw, Android in general (before anyone goes spouting some EVO crap, the OG Droid did WAY more to solidify Android as a serious contender in the smartphone OS game than any other Android phone. Period. The memory was a little lacking, and the keyboard looked like it was laid out on graph paper. For some reason, Samsung did a “reverse-Moto” with their Galaxy line; they screwed everyone in the states on updates, while the rest of the world was taken care of.
    Then the Droid 2 came out (under the hood, basically identical to the DX). And Moto/vzw basically abandoned it, locked the bootloader and changed it to the D2G and R2D2. So what’s the next trick for the D3? More improvements in some ways, while screwing it up even more in others? Thank God for Liberty 1.5, it makes having a D2 almost worthwhile.
    Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode displays are great until you take them out in the sun. I prefer S-LCD, but that’s just my opnion.

  8. @1 Dead on
    Duh, Winning!

  9. Tegra2 and 1gig of RAM and I’m sold. 4G LTE would just be icing.

  10. I’d go pick it up if Motorola Droid keyboards didn’t suck. Come on Motorola, we know you want to stay true to the original, but it’s time to let it go.

  11. I wish they would make a GSM version of this for T-Mobile.

  12. Would you still be sold if it was released as “Gingerbread Ready”?

  13. How big is the screen? I have a DX now and the only improvement I can think of for it would be a slide-out keyboard – something that is NOT on the majority of ‘Droid’ phones, contrary to what you claim in the article.

  14. I wish they would make it a 4″ screen. 3.7″ is too small. Not just too small for a screen but too small for a full keyboard. Moving to a 4″ should get the keyboard up to a decent size. I have never used the keyboard on my Droid 1 and playing with a D2 I wouldn’t use it either (even though it was improved).

    If they don’t change the size I will probably just go with a slate phone next time. No need for the extra bulk that the keyboard brings.

  15. And as long as those keys are still slammed right up next to one another, forget about it. The keyboard on every Moto Droid made has sucked, and this one doesn’t look any different.

  16. DJ: you are 100% correct. The OG Droid made android bust out and become for real. the EVO owners love coming out and claiming that phone made android, it definitely helped(no question) but the D1 put android on the map, it had a processor that could keep up with the iPhone, screen resolution that killed it. I think everyone should have love for D1 and be thankful that someone decided to grow a sack and take a chance on android or we may not have ever had the nexus one or even the EVO for that matter. Much less have phones that can match the computing powers of today’s netbooks.

  17. Love the formfactor but if it has Blur and/or a locked bootloader I’m gonna pass. Watching this one but have zero faith in Motorola at this point.

  18. Who is designing these keyboards? How can they not see why this sucks?

    I do not need dedicated keys for tab, search, voice, @, ~, etc. What is the “ok” button for? What is this…Windows Mobile legacy?

    Take all this useless crap out and put some space between the keys!!

  19. Will not get this if it is not 4G.

  20. I love my Droid-1, and yet, with all the cool stuff out there, will most likely be trading up to a new device this summer.

    And it’s going to be hard to NOT choose Motorola, at least based on the Droid-1. This sucker is built like a tank…. I would have destroyed multiple iPhones in the last year-and-a-half. It’s not just that, unlikely the iPhone, the Droid wasn’t engineers for maximum slippiness, but if you actually do lose grip, it falls but doesn’t break. Or even scuff or dent, even when dropped 13 feet onto asphalt (not a planned move).

    And, despite the age, I just got a 2.2.2 update pushed out yesterday. With so many manufacturers on a 6-month update schedule, and dropping older devices just as fast, if this is the standard Motorola support, it’s going to be hard to enter the world I hear from all those HTC or Samsung owners.

    No, Mot/Verizon haven’t been perfect. And I will need 4G… that’s not out in the boonies where I live, but I work in Philly, where it’s very well supported. I won’t accept an Android device with “Bing!” hacked in, or too much unremovable crapware… then again, unremovable crapware on a device with 8GB internal is certainly a different story than unremovable crapware on a device with only 512MB internal flash, like the original Droid.

    Best thing about Android… if you don’t like the devices out now, wait a week.

  21. Change the look of that ugly ass design! Shit man Motorola make some fuck up looking phones lol

  22. 3.7 is to small , in a world of 4.3 screens , 3.7 is a passover phone (passover because the screen is to small go to the next one) .
    Love the OG D1 but it is to small .

  23. Its already been said that the D3 will have a 4″ qHD screen…

  24. love my milestone 2, so hopefully this means the droid 3 will come out overhere as a milestone 3. couldnt give a toss about a locked bootloader. but if its unlocked its a bonus, if it aint then not a problem. the phone is solid as a rock. ive no problems with motorblur, just dont sign up for it and it doesnt hassle u. simple.

    3.7″ is plenty large enough for a phone but if they can squeeze in 4″ without making it any bigger overall thatll be great. the phone is massive enough as it is without making it any bigger. just hold the phone a couple inches closer to ur face if u cant see it. not like its screwed to a wall or something lol.

    still dont get what the wierd “step” design is all about, why not make the screen slightly bigger or the body slightly smaller?? one thing i would like to see is a higher power battery squeezed under the hood.

  25. @hazydave Totally agree.
    As a current OG Droid owner, the D3 will need a few things for me to consider it: unlocked bootloader, no motoblur/bing/bloatware, and LTE. If it has all that, I’ll buy it the day it comes out.

  26. Michael I haven’t heard anything about the screen size. Where did you hear that if you don’t mind? 4″ would be perfect IMO, as 4.3″ is just too large to fit into jean pockets. The 4″ Galaxy S phones are a nice size that are easy to deal with.

  27. Is the bootloader locked?
    I would love to replace my D1 with something like it, but a locked bootloader is no sale.

  28. @mdm-adph

    Have you ever used the Droid 2? The keyboard is excellent.

  29. Very true here can’t take nothing from the original droid he has to recieve his props from everyone this and the g1 place android on the map in the beginning. I applaud the true granddaddy of android

  30. I just sincerely hope it ships with bone-stock Gingerbread and without bloatware and trialware (like the Droid 1, unlike the Droid 2). I have about ten Android devices on my desk right now for software testing, and this looks just about perfect for what I’d like as my personal phone.

  31. I spy a front facing camera…

  32. no offense to the d1 lovers, but the G1 did more for android then ANY other phone then and now. Reason being? It was essentially the first developer friendly phone, and was first to get most roms/updates. I agree with everything said about the EVO vs D1 argument, however the biggest thing the droid did was put android in hands of millions more then T-mobile could dream of.

  33. @v8dreaming I was thinking the same thing in the first picture. It may also be proximatey sensor (more likely a front facing camera).

  34. Ugh that chrome ring looks bad.

  35. Eh…I pretty much share the same sentiment as most other viewers.

    *Should have a better keyboard (though it’s an improvement over the other models)
    *Should have a dual-core chipset (especially since it’ll probably be released after the Bionic and feel like a step backwards at that point if it lacks the hardware)
    *Should NOT have motoblur, or a locked bootloader.

    …I hate motoblur, it actually detracts from the core functionality of Android…and there is more than one version of it. Android is fragmented as it is Moto, you don’t need to have a special version of a retarded skin for every phone you release!

    I’ll keep my eye on this one, but as with many other phans, I’m not keeping my hopes up. Though I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised with this one. The Droid line really does deserve another shot in the spotlight after all it’s done for the OS.

  36. RumpRoast Samsung phones are shit they’ve always been like that. Motorola phones will always be better.

  37. I don’t know why everyone says that the Droid keyboard is so bad. I can type extremely quickly on the D1 keyboard (faster than most people can type on keyboards with spaces). I hate those spaces that are present on most phone keyboards, it makes it impossible to slide your thumbs quickly from one key to the next. Especially if you have thin fingers, the Droid keyboards are great.

    But I do agree with two points: 1) Why is there a dedicated tab key and WHY IS IT HUGE? I don’t think I ever used tab for anything EVER except autocomplete in Terminal Emulator.
    2) Nobody has a 4.3″ keyboarded phone. Why? If the Droid 3 had a 4.3″ screen, it could also have a huge, amazing keyboard. Who wouldn’t want a giant keyboard and a giant screen that’s still pocketable? The first manufacturer to make it happen and the first carrier to get said phone gets my business.

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