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.
I used to insist on a physical keyboard, going all the way back to the Treo 650. My first phone without one was an iPhone, and I detested the on screen keyboard. After that I went back and forth between three form factors: Blackberry portrait keyboards, slider or flip landscape boards, and touchscreen only phones. Nowadays I find I’m just as fast and (with good software correction) accurate with a touchscreen.
As for my wife, well…you can pry her landscape slider from her cold dead hands. I don’t look forward to the day when her phone finally dies and we have to hunt the ends of the earth for a decent qwerty smartphone.