updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon September 19, 2011
Last Nexus Prime clue hints at keyboard
A last clue in a string surrounding the Google Nexus Prime has hinted that the phone will have a keyboard. Along with mentioning dual cores, an "HD" screen, and possibly new Android widgets, the conclusion of Tom Fleming's hints wrapped up with word that "the one with the keyboard is what I enjoy." It's unclear if there will be a touchscreen-only version as well or if this represents the only Nexus Prime.
The move would largely be a return to the same design strategy that kickstarted Android twice in its early years. While the very first phone had a keyboard, the T-Mobile G1, it was the Motorola Droid that took Android from a niche competitor to the iPhone to a serious rival. Some concerns exist about a keyboarded phone, including its bulk and the ability to sell it worldwide, unless it's limited to English-speaking countries.
Earlier tips had the Samsung-made device as a world phone with both GSM and CDMA versions, including LTE on Verizon and WiMAX for Sprint. While a TI OMAP processor and a possible 720p screen have been mentioned, the known quantity is the Ice Cream Sandwich update to Android, which will theoretically merge Android 3 (Honeycomb) with the smartphone OS.
A Verizon release is believed due on November 3 and might be accompanied by world releases relatively close to that date.