Verizon to announce Moto Tao next week? Phone to drop Dec. 1?

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First came the rumors. Then came the leaked images. And now, 3 all-knowing (conveniently unnamed) analysts have predicted that Verizon’s long awaited foray into Android will happen some time next week with the announcement of Motorola’s Sholes/Tao smartphone. The timing seems feasible, especially considering that Motorola is holding a MOTODEV Android-related press event next Tuesday, October 6 (WinMo 6.5 who?).

But, this is far from certain, folks. In fact, we have it on good word that Verizon retail employees have yet to train on Android, making a near term launch that much less likely. However, that does not rule out an announcement only like the recent Motorola CLIQ event.

Either way, the speculation is definitely heating up. Just this morning the friendly folks over at AndroidGuys have posted information suggesting the Tao (or whatever it will end up being called) will be released on December 1, just in time for the all-mighty holiday shopping bonanza. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

According to the super secret document that found its way to AndroidAndMe, the Tao will purportedly be the “world’s thinnest” slider QWERTY phone at 13.7mm thick. Yes, please! Other juicy tidbits include: a 3.7″ 16:9 touch screen display, 16GB built-in storage, 5MP camera with dual LED flash, full HTML browser with Flash support, and supposedly the next generation of Android, the big 2.0.

Here are the rest of the leaked specs:

* OMAP3430 – 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 + PowerVR SGX 530 GPU + 430MHz C64x+ DSP + ISP (Image Signal Processor)
* Dimensions 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
* Weight 169 g
* Battery Li-ion 1400 mAh.
* Standby 450 hours, talk time 420 minutes
* 3.7-inch touch-sensitive display with a resolution of 854×480 pixels, 16 million color depth. Physical screen size is 45.72 mm by 81.34 mm.
* 512MB/256MB ROM/RAM
* microSD / microSDHC expansion slot
* Camera: 5.0 megapixel with autofocus and video recorder
* Connectivity: USB2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, Wi-Fi
* Operating System: Android 2.0 (with Eclair, no Motoblur)
* Package Contents: Phone Motorola Sholes, battery, charger, USB cable, 8GB MicroSD memory card and other literature

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