If you're interested in a smartphone on Verizon that still has a physical keyboard, your options are currently limited to the Droid 4, a couple of low-end Android devices, or a BlackBerry. Verizon's diversifying that option a little bit with the Pantech Marauder — an Android-powered QWERTY device with fairly respectable specs for an entry level device. The Marauder comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera a microSD slot (there's no word on internal storage capacity), and an unfortunately mystery version of Android. Whatever software it is running, it's definitely heavily skinned — Verizon says the phone offers both "starter" and "standard" modes.
The starter mode is designed for new smartphone owners and offers four home screens with preset widgets and apps as well as an "uncluttered" lock screen and a "quick dialer" to make phone calls straight from the home screen. Standard mode is more of what you'd expect, with seven screens and a customizable lock screen with the ability to add app shortcuts. Settings get maintained when switching modes, although most customers will probably just stick with "standard" once they switch over.
It's hard to tell from Verizon's device photos whether this phone runs Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich — the screenshot renders feel Gingerbread-ish, but the phone's back / home / multitasking / menu buttons match up with Android 4.0. At the end of the day, this phone's target market probably won't care either way. The Marauder will be available on August 2nd for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year contract (there's no word on its unsubsidized price).