Today, you’d probably get looked at funny for owning a smartphone like this. Five or six years ago, devices with physical keyboards were massively popular, about the only choice available for the email and messaging obsessed. A small segment of followers still cling to the physical keyboard, but by and large huge touchscreens are king. That’s why this handset, with an appearance almost like a Palm Pre, never went anywhere. Why TechnoBuffalo still has one is a complete mystery.
Running a touchscreen-optimized OS, it was always going to be difficult consolidating the future with the past; some ideas, as we’ve covered many times here on Guess the Phone, are better left on the drawing board. However, you want to like a device like this—maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea for messaging fiends three years ago. But with mobile technology evolving as rapidly as it did, a QWERTY device running Android was always going to be a niche product, especially since the keyboard itself didn’t slide out. That left hardly any screen real estate.
Now look where we are today. Maybe one out of fifty new smartphones has a physical keyboard, highlighting just how little the mass consumer market cares about the old QWERTY experience. Many touchscreen keyboards have gotten so good that the vast majority likely prefer it to something like BlackBerry’s Q10, which was released earlier this year.
There will always be a loud group that supports and chooses the old experience for the new. But every year, as touch devices get better and grow bigger, there will come a time will not one new touchscreen device is brought to market. There were a few this year, but there will likely be next in 2014. Are you still clinging to your QWERTY device? It’ll only be a matter of time before you make the switch.
Last week’s Guess the Phone was the Motorola Atrix 4G.