With top-tier smartphones sporting physical QWERTY keyboards becoming a rarity these days, we can add HTC to the list of phone manufacturers that won’t be offering a new keyboard-equipped Android smartphone anytime soon.
Speaking during a press event in Seattle, HTC creative director Claude Zellweger explained the company’s stance on creating QWERTY phones. “As a company, the QWERTY keyboard we’re moving away from in general”, he said. This can be translated as the company’s reluctance to go against the current, with more and more manufacturers focusing solely on producing touchscreen phones, some without physical buttons at all.
Zellweger added that “putting too much effort into that [making QWERTY phones] would take away from our devices.” Hence, HTC will instead be focusing on improving the on-screen keyboard on its phones, instead of spending their resources on creating new hardware designs.
Coming from a company whose grand strategy is to produce thinner phones, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Plus, there’s no denying the fact that those QWERTY keyboards really add some bulk to a phone’s figure. While HTC has released some memorable slide-out QWERTY phones in the past (going back to its Windows Mobile days), one of its most popular Android offerings was the HTC Desire Z, otherwise known as T-Mobile G2 in the US. The slide-out keyboard of the G2 may have been praised, but the phone’s 14.16mm body and 180 g weight won’t fare well in today’s smartphone landscape. The company’s potentially last QWERTY phone was the ill-fated HTC Cha Cha, a.k.a. the Facebook phone.
But wait, there’s still a possibility that HTC will release a QWERTY Android phone in the future. Zellweger said that they know there’s still a “diehard community” out there longing for the company’s next QWERTY offering. Apparently, HTC will take a wait-and-see approach for the technology to mature, so that a good trade-off between including a physical keyboard and making the phone thin and compact can be reached.
Do you think HTC is making the right decision or shooting itself in the foot by abandoning QWERTY phones?