Motorola Photon Q confirmed for 2012 LTE launch

Motorola's Photon Q Android smartphone will go on sale later in 2012, it's been prematurely confirmed, an LTE smartphone for the US market. The QWERTY slider format is an underplayed one in the smartphone segment, with touchscreen-centric candybars most common, and so fans of the form-factor generally get more excited than most to see a new option on the horizon.

News of the Photon Q's incoming arrival was broken not by Motorola itself but by Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Specifications for the phone have not been confirmed, though based on previous leaks and rumors it's believed to have a roughly 4.3-inch button and, in an unusual move for Motorola, feature on-screen navigation buttons rather than physical buttons.

OS is expected to be Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, though we can all hold out hope that Motorola manages to squeeze Jelly Bean in there instead between now and launch. After all, it has all that help from its new Google overlords now.

Processor, camera resolution, and whether Motorola will muddy the waters with its own customized MOTOBLUR interface are still up in the air, but the Photon Q looks like it will be a sizable device given the five-row keyboard it manages to accommodate. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled.