Sprint To Launch The $199, Keyboard-Toting Motorola Photon Q On August 19

You know what Sprint’s LTE handset line-up has been missing (aside from more network coverage outside of Texas)? Some variety! Nearly all of Sprint’s LTE devices are monolithic, all-touch slabs of plastic and glass — it wouldn’t hurt to mix things up a bit, and that’s exactly what the carrier did.

On the off chance that your thumbs still yearn to pound out text messages on a physical QWERTY keyboard, Sprint has just announced that the recently-revealed Photon Q will hit store shelves on August 19. The Droid 4 lookalike will set interested customers back $199 with two-year commitment, and the truly devoted can pre-order their units today.

Looking past the laser-cut keyboard, the Photon Q also features a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor (Sprint hasn’t specified which one), a 4.3-inch qHD ColorBoost LCD display, NFC support, plus an 8-megapixel camera on its rear end. To top it all off, the Photon Q appears to sport the same lightly-modified take on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich that pleasantly surprised me when it appeared on the Atrix HD.

Really, if it’s anything at all like the Atrix HD, then the Photon Q should be a real treat. I have to wonder how well the thing is going to sell though — the QWERTY keyboard is a distinct plus for certain users, but its price tag puts the Photon Q right alongside flagship devices like the Galaxy S III.