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Guess the Phone: This Device Typified Android’s Growing Pains

by Brandon Russell | February 15, 2014February 15, 2014 12:00 pm PDT

There was an awkward growth period a few years ago when Android manufacturers put out all kinds of weird devices. It was an exploratory phase, a time when companies were a bit aimless and really had no clue how to compete with Apple’s iPhone. The adolescence of Android sure didn’t help much, but by and large OEMs were still experimenting with what worked and what didn’t. The device above was part of the latter category.

Equipped with a 3.1-inch HVGA (320×480) display, this device tried catering to two different crowds, with one eye on the old school and the other toward the future. Unfortunately, as has been proven over the years, this kind of combination just isn’t the preferred design. That’s no more apparent today with big phablet devices, and virtually no new flagship QWERTY devices available.

Other features about this phone, in addition to its slide out keyboard, included four capacitive buttons and a large optical track-pad, which was designed as an alternative form of navigation. It was odd, and many of its features left a lot to be desired. But it was typical of the Android market at the time, which really shows just how much the mobile market has matured since then. This device went for $99 with two-year contract, too, showing the kind of value you get today compared to what was available back then.

I wasn’t a huge follower of mobile when this device came out, so when Jon brought it to my attention it was the first time I’d ever seen it. An optical track-pad? What the? My how the market has evolved since then. To give you another idea of how long ago this device came ago, it came running Android 2.1 out of the box.

Last week’s Guess the Phone was Microsoft’s Kin One.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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