08
Jul
Droid-Ultra-503x460

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the next DROID. Again. After being revealed in white over the weekend, along with the face of its MAXX sibling on Friday night, the Ultra is all but officially Verizon's next big thing to wear the caps lock-enhanced, Lucasfilm-licensed DROID moniker. And it's a thing of... well, not beauty. Beauty really isn't the right word. It's a thing of carbon fiber Kevlar (thanks for pointing that out), and I'll let you draw your own aesthetic conclusions on that basis.

Droid-Ultra-503x460

Curiously, there are no logos whatsoever on the front of the phone. Verizon's marketing department must have had the day off. The one specification @evleaks drops is an alleged 10MP "RGBC" camera. My guess is that this alludes to the now-rumored Clear Pixel camera on the Moto X, as RGB, of course, refers to Red, Green, and Blue, while the "C" typically refers to "Clear" in reference to imaging technology. Granted, there are very few references to RGBC imaging sensors out there. Without getting too far down the rabbit on this, clear pixels are actually more often called panchromatic pixels, and camera sensors utilizing them were described by Kodak back in 2005. Theoretically, they should significantly boost low light performance and reduce image capture times. Take all this with a grain of salt, however, as the conclusions are based on an admittedly vague acronym.

Other specs for the Ultra aren't known at this point, but @evleaks goes on to speculate about what they may be (see the source for more). There's no info about a launch date, but we can probably expect to see this device showing up pretty soon - maybe this week.

@evleaks via TheUnlockr

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • evolutionx1

    I like everything about this phone but the capacitive buttons.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Since this comment is probably going to end up one of the most-upvoted, I'm going to provide a counterpoint: In what significant way do capacitive buttons - ordered as proscribed by Google - hurt the user experience? There are basically only two real arguments I've heard.

      1.) They don't look as "clean." That's a pretty weak one,and really not a functional issue.
      2.) Some apps force the legacy overflow menu button and waste screen space. This is less of a problem with each passing month as apps update to the new action bar layout, and let's remember: most OEMs aren't going to make the screen larger simply to accommodate software buttons. Capacitive buttons are much cheaper than a bigger display panel.

      I consider myself at least mildly concerned with the aesthetics of consumer electronics, and the *look* of capacitive buttons has rarely ever bothered me. Functionally, I've never found either to have an advantage I care about enough to strongly prefer one over the other.

      Software buttons are just way overhyped. What few benefits they provide aren't significant enough for most people to really care about, and 98% of the people clamoring for them only do so "because Google told manufacturers to use them" (which isn't even strictly true).

      • Greyhame

        Good points. I think the capacitive button hate stems from the fact that your readership are enthusiasts who typically root/ROM their phone, and onscreen buttons provide an additional way to customize and add functionality. That said, at least these are in the Google standard layout *cough, HTC/Samsung cough*

      • Michael

        The thing that I feel is the true advantage to the on screen buttons is the ability to customize them. When switching from an old phone to a new one you can change the order of the buttons so they are in the same order. There is also the ability to add buttons such as search, menu and the last app button (AOKP, look it up, it's awesome).

        • evolutionx1

          And the fact that the buttons rotate with the rotation of the phone. Nothing big but it's a nice touch. (Sorry for bad English. I'm not a native english speaker)

          • TY

            Someone should make a phone that is fully usable UPSIDE DOWN, just to show off the power of on-screen buttons!

          • Michael

            It might take a couple Google searches, but Google already has a patent for that.
            Edit: Found it
            http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/14/google-microphone-orientation-patent/

          • deadpenguins

            Lol, your English (at least demonstrated in this post) is perfect, and thus, shits on at least 1/3 of the native English speakers on the interwebz.

        • leenephi

          This is probably the best argument there is! I definitely agree.

        • Freak4Dell

          I just put AOKP on my N7, and that last app button is the first thing ever to make me think that software buttons may not actually be that bad.

          With capacitive buttons, I'd probably just end up changing the recent apps button to the last app button, and make a long press on that button pull up the recent apps. Capacitive buttons can be customized, too...they just can't be made to look different is all, and you can't change the order. Like David said, though, the number of people who bother to customize their buttons is pretty darn small.

        • Asphyx

          Yes you can customize them but you can't use them unless the device is actually operating properly!
          Take for example that a capacitive button can be programmed to KILL and application that is stalled but if the buttons are part of the APP they may not be displayed at all!
          And even if they are may not work properly.
          I don't see what the issue with them is really if you don't like them fine it's a personal choice but I prefer my screen to do screen things and display not be cluttered up with control surfaces I may not need at the time.

          • Michael

            Why isn't the device operating properly?
            "I prefer my screen to do screen things" Which is why I use the Auto-Hide option in AOKP

          • Matthew Fry

            The soft buttons are part of the OS. While the capacitive buttons *are* hardware, they just map to virtual button in the OS. They are essentially the same.

        • Fatty Bunter

          This argument is completely irrelevant to 95% of the population

        • enoch861

          But you have to root it to do that. Non of that functionality is stock. So your argument is moot. We're talking about the general consumer here not us AP readers who root our phones 90% of the time after taking it out of the box.

      • TY

        I find myself mis-pressing the capacitive buttons very often when trying to hit somewhere near the screen's bottom (or vice versa )when using my friend's Galaxy S3 instead of my nexus, since both can be hit at the same time (not in the case of on-screen buttons). Also, when using alternatives such as LMT or PIE, your finger only needs to move to the bottom of the screen (or even just the sides) instead of further downwards, greatly easing single-handed usage. As someone who mods his phone to fit his needs, I find on-screen buttons much more appealing.

      • Nathan Borup

        I like the idea of software buttons for the sake that I could use paranoid with pie controls and have more screen and more functional menus

      • Jonathan Epp

        Partially it's future proofing: Android's "back" interface is confusing, sometimes it will minimize the keyboard, sometimes it will go back in the app history, sometimes it will pull out an additional menu, sometimes it will return to the home screen.The potential is there to change based on context.

        Also, personal preference, I just like the look of the dimmed dots when I'm in a game or watching a video, or when the icons rotate with screen orientation.

      • Colin Kealty

        The only thing that I particularly like about software keys only comes into play when rooted and that's the ability to force hide them while playing games so I don't accidentally hit them, though capacitive I suppose you could disable them

      • cy_n_ic

        Heres my beef with hardware keys.

        Yes they cam be remapped for different functio s but

      • PhilNelwyn

        "98% of the people clamoring for them only do so 'because Google told manufacturers to use them'."

        Oh wow... that's precise.
        Where did you get that number?
        In all seriousness, this is a completely baseless claim, and there's something you seemingly haven't understood about that.
        The matter isn't whether Google asked manufacturers to use them or not, but one very important thing on a platform: consistency.
        It sucks to have to "relearn" how to navigate in Android when you change device.
        You have an Android tablet and an Android smartphone, and you don't use it in the same way? That's silly.
        You can change from a Samsung to an HTC phone and have all your apps, all your movies, all your music, your photos, your documents, synced in minutes like you haven't changed, but the most basic thing, the navigation, is different?
        In my opinion, that's silly.

        I think the very reason why on-screen buttons exist is for Android to be the same across devices.

        That's why I'm clamoring for them.

      • Matthew Fry

        I've become very attached to my pie + no controls at all setup with my Nexus 10 and CM10.1. Specifically in the 10" case, I think that the pie should become a standard. It's such a waste to devote ~100x2560 pixels to blank space with 3 little buttons on it.

  • Joseph Pojunis

    I dig the DROID logo on the back.That hasn't been on all DROID phones, right?

    • Rolando

      no it hasn't been on all DROID phones. Source: my DROID doesn't have it ;_;

  • kauthor47

    Anyone else feel like the 'home' button looks a little off-centered?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It is. It's just a sloppy press render. It'll probably get fixed.

      • antifud

        so much for the wish of non-capacitative functions.

  • wired420

    Who cares. Motorola puts out nothing but crap. MotoBlur is horrible, clunky, and crashed all the time on my Droid 3. Not to mention I had to have it replaced THREE times in 2 months when I first got it before I got a HTC. Wont' ever own or let my family own a Motorola device ever again.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Motoblur? Motoblur for all intents and purposes has been dead for about a year now. Motorola is widely regarded as having one of the lightest Android software skins. While your frustration is understandable, it's also frustrating to me to see people become cemented in a view based on a single negative product experience, with a product that is now 2 years old.

      • wired420

        Really the lightest? They use 90% of resources out the box. The droid 3 has not been the only Motorola device in my house. Not to mention they have loaded more crap I can't remove and if I disable it I have to deal with a constant need to update message on the screen. Samsung and HTC both help me removed this. Motorola told me deal with it cause they get paid to put that junk on my phone.

        You complain that it is two years old? I would figure being staff on this site you should probably be aware that most mobile contracts are for two years and a device should last that long. Not only had I replaced my Droid 3 multiple times. I've had two screens die on the Droid Razr Maxx I got my mother. My best friend has replaced his Razr Maxx on multiple occasions as well.

        Just have to wonder if you get paid to push motorola products of if you are just a fan boy.

        • Josh

          I find it odd that you are on this website and don't know how to get rid of the VZW bloatware... just sayin..

          • wired420

            I am well aware of how to root and install a recovery. Should I HAVE to do that on a several hundred dollar device? No. I shouldn't. I paid for it, I should have the rights to do what ever I want to it. This however voids your warranty and they are starting to put protections in against this to notify them when you do root it. Root your phone and have a hardware problem and you have a several hundred dollar paperweight that won't be replaced.

        • wired420

          And regardless, having been a Nokia, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung owner at this point. My Galaxy S4 blows anything Motorola has ever made out of the water.

          • KDC

            what are you talking about? Have you seen most of the bloatware on the Droid Razr-Razr Maxx HD has been removing.Motorola is the only company that has done that on any of their phones.I have a s3 and s4 and that thing is littered with bloatware so before you state something about the d3 remember that device is 2 years old from when their was blur.Motorola is heading toward stock android.

          • Steve Freeman

            Please, Samsung devices are barely even running Android anymore. And my Samsung GNex, which was stock out of the box, sucked before I flashed a custom ROM on it. So before you continue, get your facts straight. All stock devices have a bit of suck in them, including Samsung devices.

          • calmdownbro

            What the hell, man? My Milestone/Droids were as fast as the custom firmwares. No change, whatsoever. On the other hand, my Note 2 lags the fuck out of itself. (Best phone so far is the HTC One/X which was snappy as hell all the time.)

          • Iggies

            Wait, wait wait...you're telling me that a 2013 flagship phone beats all the year-old (or older) models from Motorola?

            (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ FUCK THIS I'M OUT

          • Cherokee4Life

            you do understand that when you purchase the phone from ANY carrier, there is no guarantee that they will update it ever. There is no guarantee that you will be able to remove any of the software on the phone without rooting. If you think that it's your right to have your phone upgraded for 2 years your kidding yourself.

            You did not pay for it "to do whatever I want to it". You must not understand what a cellphone contract is for. You pay a reduced price to follow the guidelines set by your OEM and Carrier. If you don't like that then you can root and flash and void that said warranty.

            BUT what bugs me the most about you is that you said "Not to mention they have loaded more crap I can't remove and if I disable it I have to deal with a constant need to update message on the screen"
            I don't think you know how to disable an app then, Once you disable an app it will never both you again.... EVER. You should Google how to properly disable an app.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Yeah, Motorola sends me a fat check every month. My closet is actually stuffed to the brim with DROID Ultras. I use them interchangeably as coasters and caviar scoops. I tried using one as a napkin once but it wasn't all that great, as you'll read in my review of the Ultra, tentatively titled "DROID Ultra Review: Fantastic At Shoveling Motorola Bribe Money Fish Eggs Into My Face, Supporting My Glasses Of Dom Perignon."

          • Zhuowei

            Plot twist: "David Ruddock" is actually Larry Page's pen name, and he's defending his company's recent acquisition. Now it all makes sense!

        • Dan DeMarco

          This Wired guy is a complete retard who shouldn't be allowed to own a phone, a computer, and please god don't let him reproduce.

    • ddpacino

      You're a little outdated, bro.

    • Josh

      Sucks you had a bad experience.. Motoblur did suck I will give you that.. and a buddy of mine had an issue with his launch day D3, but it was replaced and he never had another problem.

      I have been using moto phones for a while. I work on cars.. I drop them on a semi regular basis.. they get all kinds of dirt and crap on them and I still have them all in my desk drawer and they will all still power up and are all on the OG batteries that came with them. The only other brand phone I ever had was a samsung flip phone and that this was a POS..

  • Heon Jun Park

    Let's just be glad the home button isn't Verizon logo.....

  • MrHaroHaro

    Looks okay. Wish they'd change the name, makes the "Droid" branding seem to convoluted (Maxx HD, Razr, Razr M etc).
    I think they should have taken the opportunity to reboot the Droid brand. It would make sense since the original Droid was by Motorola (and is the manufacturer most associated with the brand) and this would be the fifth iteration, they could just make this the "Droid" or "Droid 5 (or V)" and just reboot the name and product form factor. The next Razr could just be a thinner version of this.

    • Freak4Dell

      DROID is Verizon's thing. RAZR was Motorola's name scheme, but I'm guessing they're done with the RAZR brand now. Ultra doesn't really seem like something that can be used for years like RAZR was, but whatever. Usually they drop the DROID part and release the phone internationally under the rest of the name, but I get the feeling that this may just be for Verizon this time. Motorola is probably going to put out the X for all the other carriers and international markets instead of this.

  • yippiedad

    It's Kevlar - not carbon fiber. For good reason - carbon fiber reduces antenna reception and Kevlar doesn't.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Fair point. Little late to change the title, though.

  • theillien

    After using the RAZR MAXX for most of the last year and a half, I'm going to have to say that Verizon's overly aggressive pushing of it's own apps (No matter how many times I say to always use Google Maps I'm always presented with the VZ Navigation app as an option for opening map links) and making it impossible to remove those that are unwanted (such as the NFL app) has pushed me to decide that my next phone will be free from such marketing bullshit. I'll likely go with a Nexus and forego some of the more up-to-date functionality or power.

    I may not even stick with Verizon.

    • Freak4Dell

      Well, if you want a Nexus, you probably won't be able to stick with Verizon.

    • Dan DeMarco

      This often happens when you update your apps. Has nothing to do with VZW.

  • Josh

    If the moto X turns out to be a disappointment... looks like this might be my new phone come end of Sep. If moto doesn't tell vzw to screw themselves and allows the boot loader to be unlocked, hopefully it will be out this month and someone will find a way by the time I'm up for an upgrade. I am a moto fanboy.. but after my Bionic I think I'm done buying phones with non-unlockable boot loaders. Hashcode saved the day with safestrap and kexec. But its still not the same. I don't like the whole loki this with the S4.. its still just a workaround like safestrap in my eyes.. and I personally think the HTC one is fugly.

    On a side note, I really don't understand all the hate on the capacitive buttons. I personally prefer them (on a phone). Though for me when I do get a new phone as soon as I can put AOKP on it, it will be setup exactly like my current phone. And the bottom swipe up ribbon that I use on my Bionic w/ cap. buttons does not work with my gf's razr m with onscreen buttons.. call me picky if you must =P

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      You can hide the normal buttons and just use the swipe up ribbon.

      • Josh

        I suppose I could just add the nav buttons to the ribbon.. adding in just the 3 main nav buttons and my 4 "phone" buttons I don't think it would fit. I know it wouldn't on my Bionic without having to scroll the ribbon, which I personally would not like. I have not tried it on a Full HD device though.. so maybe? either way I have no problems with capacitive buttons. All my android phones have had them and never bothered me. Obviously would not want on a tablet though.

        • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

          Could make the icons smaller I think. I put the nav buttons on a bottom swipe and all my dock/former folder apps on the left/right ribbons. Love the extra screen real estate with no buttons at all

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    I'm guessing they won't get the Moto X on Verizon then? Ugh, Verizon is obnoxious.

    • KDC

      yea they will the Moto X was the first phone spotted in the FCC going to Verizon

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

        Oh good, I'd really like them to compete more with Samsung and it helps to have one device across all carriers.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It sounds like VZW will still have the Moto X, alongside the DROID phones.

  • InvaderDJ

    Interesting. I was holding off for the HTC One but if this phone isn't the typical DROID (ie not locked down as hard, has a good third party ROM community) I may have to take a look at the MAXX version. If not I'll just continue waiting.

  • Ark

    Sigh. Every new android phone should have software keys. They're clearly superior, why are we still getting capacitive buttons.

  • Dan

    If this phone really does have an RGBC (usually called RGBW) camera, it's going to blow your mind. Having a 4th sub-pixel that's unfiltered and getting 100% of the incoming light yields much better low light response. The processor can use the white sub-pixel to determine the brightness of each pixel rather than trying to derive the brightness from the RGB pixels. Vaguely similar to video formats that keep luminance and chrominance separate. Depending on how it's implemented, you either end up with a much brighter image in low light, or the same brightness with much less noise. Drunken bar pics will never be the same.

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