The photos came courtesy of Chinese social media site Weibo and show the device, codename 'DROID 5', to have NFC and wireless charging functionality, as well as a ruggedised "shockproof" water and dust resistant design.
Engadget is reporting Motorola Mobility is the team behind the new device. Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2012 for more than $12 billion.
Smartphones with physical keyboards are becoming increasingly rare as smartphones with virtual keyboards become increasingly popular.
Motorola Mobility's most recent effort is its Moto X handset, unique for its extreme customisation options.