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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I'm well aware that phones are for calling and sending messages, but having a computer in my pocket... I use it as a computer.

Exactly! What's the point of having all that computing power ... if you can't use it effectively?

My experience is with the Xperia Pro + CM10 (perhaps when LegacyXperia ports KitKat I will upgrade the OS... for now it works so good that I don't bother).

Loved my Xperia pro! ;) It basically replaced my netbook and almost replaced my laptop. With VX Connectbot installed, it truly was a Unix sysadmin's perfect mobile toolbox. I actually developed calluses on my thumbs from typing on it so much. ;)

The only problem was the single-core SoC just wasn't enough power for anything other than SSH. Kept waiting for a 2013 upgrade to the pro ... which never materialised. ;)

Tried a Motorola Droid4, and the dual-core SoC was an improvement, but the screen resolution was just too low to be really useful.

Tried a Motorola Photon Q which had one of the nicest keyboards I've used on a phone, but it was tied to Sprint and wouldn't work in Canada. ;) Kept waiting for the AT&T version of this phone to be released ... but it never materialised. ;)

Still looking for a good slider keyboard phone, with current hardware specs (Snapdragon S4Pro or better SoC). Hoping one will materialise, but not holding out much hope at this point. ;)

And, there are no keyboard cases for Android phones like there are for iPhones. ;)

I use the phone for programming-on-the-go (with vim, no less), ssh to servers, fix scripts... and it's a breeze. I did have to edit the keyboard layout to add some missing characters (ESC, I'm looking at you).

Install VX Connectbot. It includes a keymap specifically for the Xperia pro, which includes Esc. ;)

I've had the experience of having to fix a simple script using ssh/vi in a 5" phone... and I don't want to repeat that experience.

Ugh! Onscreen keyboards suck for anything other than writing text messages. Portrait keyboards leave lots of vertical space ... but you have no horizontal space, so either every line wraps or the text is so tiny you need binoculars to read it. Horizontal keyboards let you have full 80+ column lines, but you can only get 3-5 onscreen. ;)

But I reckon that people wanting to use phones as portable IT tools are a niche inside a niche.

Niches can still be profitable, though! It's just too bad nobody wants to rule that niche. I was really hoping Google's takeover of Motorola would leave to a Droid5 released around the world. But, no such luck. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

zima Member since:

I was really hoping Google's takeover of Motorola would leave to a Droid5 released around the world. But, no such luck. ;)

Moto generally retreated from most markets...

Reply Parent Score: 2