The BlackBerry form factor — candybar style, keyboard underneath display — seems to be on the way out, dead in favor of ever-larger touchscreen displays. I’m sad about that, since I both love phones with physical keyboards and think slide-out keyboards are too large for a lot of users.

That’s why the Motorola Admiral piqued my interest — it’s a ruggedized BlackBerry-style handset, but it runs Android 2.3, so it’s already seemingly better than anything RIM has to offer. It’s the successor to the Motorola XPRT, with a faster processor, more memory, a newer version of Android, and support for Sprint’s Direct Connect walkie-talkie feature. I like the idea, but how does this $99.99 (with contract) phone perform in the wild? And does the candybar form factor still make sense in the big-screened world of 2011? Read on to find out.