Crossbred Droid 4 to bulk up Verizon’s LTE lineup Friday

Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) will begin selling the latest version of its long-running Droid line on Friday, offering the Motorola(s mmi) Android(s goog) handset for $200 with a two-year contract. Unveiled at CES, the Droid 4 is an amalgamation of many of the Motorola devices that have come before it, incorporating the physical keyboard of previous incarnations, but also the peripheral docking features of the Atrix and Bionic, as well as the power-management software and slim profile of Moto’s popular re-incarnation of the Razr.

The Droid’s biggest selling point, however, is its LTE connectivity – the first of the traditional keyboard-driven Droid line to support 4G. At $200, the device isn’t the cheapest of Verizon’s LTE phones (the Pantech Breakout runs $50), but it undercuts two of Verizon’s newest devices the Razr Maxx and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus by $100 and matches LG’s new movie-phone, the Spectrum. Here are the specs:

  • The latest version of Android Gingerbread (2.3.5), but with promises that it can be upgraded to Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • Motorola has boosted the processer from the Droid 3’s 1 GHz dual-core chip to 1.2 GHz dual-core silicon in the Droid 4.
  • The screen specs remain the same, quarter-HD resolution, as does its camera: 8 megapixels on the main lens and supporting 1080p video capture.
  • The Droid 4 hooks into the same Lapdock 500, as do the Atrix and Bionic, allowing customers to turn their smartphones into 14-inch laptops (the peripheral costs an extra $300). Motocast software can link the lapdock to files and media on a home or business computer, and new government-grade encryption and Citrix software can virtualize an enterprise user’s office PC on the device.
  • According to Android Central, the Droid 4 also sports 1785 mAh battery, a big improvement over the 3’s 1540 mAh pack. The new device will need it since its LTE radio will suck power far faster than its CDMA-only predecessors. Like the original Razr, though, you can’t remove the battery pack.