Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Nov 2013 22:50 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

I bought a Droid 4 twenty-one months ago.

As a devout user of physical QWERTY keyboards, I'm pretty sure I'm screwed.

Great article by Sean Hollister on the demise of the QWERTY slider. In the article, Hollister speaks with Doug Kaufman, manager of handset strategy for Sprint, and his revelations are intriguing - it's not so much that people do not want hardware keyboards; it's that people want iconic, flagship phones - like the S4, like the 5S - with huge marketing pushes. Since nobody is pushing a flagship QWERTY slider... Nobody buys them. However, when you ask consumers what they want, physical keyboards are very, very popular.

And so, Kaufman admits: if there was an HTC One or Galaxy S4, a top-of-the-line phone, but with a keyboard - it would sell.

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It's also, people will buy a non-crap smartphone with a keyboard.

Exactly. Even the Droid line from Motorola was far from "flagship" spec-wise when they were released. If they had been "flagship" phones (or, you know, released on more than just Verizon), they probably would have sold more.

The LG Eve was one of the first Android phones with a keyboard. It sold extremely well in Canada, at least, but was quickly abandoned by LG (never officially updated past 1.6; OpenEVE and other projects got it to 2.1). And it was never replaced. AFAIK, LG never made another slider.

The Nexus One was also a slider, and it sold extremely well. Unfortunately, it was abandoned by HTC/Google, and never really replaced with anything. Don't know how the specs were for it, relative to what else was out there (never saw one in Canada).

Sony looked like they were on the right path. The Xperia Arc was released (touchscreen), then the Play (an Arc with a gamepad). Then came the Neo (slight upgrade to the Arc), and the Pro (a Neo with a keyboard). Looked like they were pursuing a strategy of releasing a touchscreen phone, and a slider with the same innards. But, then they starting releasing a new phone every week with just slightly different specs, and everything went to shit.

All the keyboard phones out there are 1-2 generations back in terms of specs, sometimes even more. Of course they don't sell well. If a phone maker released 2 variations of their "flagship" phones (1 with keyboard), they'd see very different results.

Nobody wants to buy an "inferior" phone in order to get a keyboard. They want the same specs as the flagship, with a keyboard added on.

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