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?

Bams Sadewo
Sade has an addiction, and it is incurable. Being as furiously addicted as he is mobile technology, it's only natural that he would want to work with the best Android site in the world. He scours the internet at all hours of the day and night to bring you the freshest, most interesting news on the rapidly expanding world of Android!
  • Attroy

    How about a detachable keypad?

    • discust

      Like a detachable penis?

  • Deusinvictus

    :-( Perhaps I will be looking for another manufacturer for my next phone

  • Guest

    Shooting itself in the foot

  • Put Rhodium (Touch Pro 2) style keyboard in the One S and we’re gonna be happy for some time ;)

  • Justin

    I was hoping they would make a good Android slide out to replace my Touch Pro 2 (and no, I’ll never buy another Windows phone again). But now that they are giving that up, I have no reason to not buy either the Galaxy Nexus or S3.

    • Mark

      I’ve got the GS2 and I love it. You will not be disappointed with the GS3 for sure. I love the swype keyboard on the phone, I can type faster on my phone than I can on my computer and I am a very fast 3 finger typer :P

  • how about updating the google g2 flagship phone

  • HTC and everyone else just keep dumping the shit phones in the market and spike the prices ,why cant y’all build a stable build os with real updates not not a year after the fact ,after the phone is bogged out and is junk , they should concentrate on longevity durability functionality , not shit , high prices

  • Carloser

    Poor HTC !!! One error after the other !!!
    HTC X7500 ADVANTAGE: no upgrade from Windows Mobile 5.0 !!! (nearly 1100 Euro in 2007).
    ONE X (and S too): no SD slot and no removable battery, no HDMI (otherwise an excellent phone).
    No slide-out keyboard (obsolete ? for whom ?).
    Instead of making 2000 models, they should try to optimize 3 models:
    1) without keyboard;
    2) with a sliding keyboard à-la-Blackberry;
    3) a slide-out keyboard where we can type the right character every time..

    … and upgrading the OS to the latest version as a priority instead of letting their customers in the dust.
    They don’t know the meaning of “fidelity” Apple has been so good to .
    They think they can sell computers as they could sell wash-machines !

    To continue, look at that “stupid” (pun intended) Samsung Galaxy Note who has been sold in 5,000,000 pieces.
    And by phone they ask you what you want !!! It’s a pity but the reality.

  • Big error in judgement in my opinion. My HTC Touch Pro gets more service than my HD2 which is used mainly as a media player and camera because of the touch only keyborad in the HD2. Ditto with my Samsung Note, the touch keyboard is a pain, and I bought a Blackberry format keyboard phone just so I can do lot’s of texting, and an external bluetooth keyboard for when I do want to text from the Samsung.

  • Afterburner87

    Won’t buy a phone without qwerty.. HTC was my vendor of choice I guess no longer.

  • Sandibollox

    I wont buy a phone without qwerty either. Qwerty users arent wrong its everyone else….

    • Mark

      Nobody is wrong, it’s a preference. I use to love the QWERTY as well, then I got a GS2 despite it not having one and I love it. I use the swype keyboard and I look for reason to use it, I love it. If you’ve tried the swype or similar keyboard and don’t like it, then fine – I respect your opinion. But if you have your head stuck in the sand and refuse to try the latest touch keyboards then you have no basis for your arguments!

      • They do have basis, well i do at least. A on screen keyboard can NEVER replace my ability to effectively play emulators, or text without looking with 100% accuracy, or read the whole web page/text message/etc.. while typing and not need to close and open just to read it comfortably.

        There are things that just can’t compensate, and we shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice all that efficiency just because manufacturers are getting lazier.

        • Mark

          If you haven’t tried it, then how can you possibly know? OK, I can’t comment on the playing emulators aspect. I can’t read a whole web page and type on my laptop, so I’d love to know how you do that on a mobile phone with a qwerty keyboard (web sites just aren’t that small) and my typing accuracy is heaps better on the Swype keyboard than the qwerty keyboards – but I always have to look as I am always making errors on a qwerty keyboard. Maybe you’re just heaps better with a qwerty keyboard than me (you must have small fingers), but I’m sure I’d kick your butt in a speed test qwerty vs swype.

          I stand by my statement – but maybe there are a few (very few) exceptions!

          • I have tried it? There’s this magical ability to close the keyboard, and then use the on screen… I have swype, still not as good by far in portrait swype is a godsend, but 2 handed with a physical keyboard i murder swype in terms of speed and accuracy.

            Also how can you not read a web page while typing on a laptop? Besides were talking about phones, not laptops, the screen is much smaller and a on-screen keyboard takes up most of the screen most of the time. I can type without looking at all or still see the whole screen with a physical keyboard. I didn’t literally mean an entire site, but you can read a lot more of it while typing on a qwerty phone.

          • swadey2050

            I find that swype or flex t9 is great for texting onscreen with one thumb. And flex t9’s voice recognition is quite good if no background noise. But if I have both thumbs available (like now) then nothing beats using the qwerty keyboard on my htc desire z, and I would always insist on a handset with hard keyboard. I switched to desire z after years of using nokia communicators, and now that I am a fully- fledged android user I sincerely hope that there is one manufacturer who will take up the cause of the serious business user by producing a quality successor to the desire z.
            My current desire z now needs replacing after 18months of use and the best handset I have found to replace it with is……….another desire z

      • nonon

        I hate having to maintain my spouse’s G2X because of swype. It was made for non spelling i-diots.

  • I dont care if its ultra thin, give me something with the form factor of the G2 with a slightly bigger screen (or the same size honestly, just dont need a monster >4.3) with the One X stats in there, a sd slot, removable battery, and i will snatch it up immediately.

    The reason qwerty’s arent flying off shelves is NOT because theres not a market for them, its because you keep making them underwhelming, and when someone walks into the store they’ll say “Man i really wish this had a keyboard, but… it has much better stats, so i guess i can live without it :(“. You make a top of the line phone with a good G2-like keyboard, and i promise you it will be your best or second best selling device that year.

    • Anon

      Screw HTC and any manufacture to force me into touch screen typing hell.
      It sucks on 10″ tablets and it sucks harder on mobile telephones!
      Anything more than typing a password on-screen is a pain. You can
      almost touch type with a real keyboard. Try typing and driving on an
      on-screen keyboard!

  • mdenniswsu

    I think its a bad call. I dont think i fully understand, essentially giving up that part of the market to Motorola. I love HTC but as of late they are starting to make me question my love of them.. If another brand can make a phone with a slide out keyboard.. i.e. Motorola why cant HTC? the major advantage I think HTC had/has is brand loyalty. they make excellent products but by essentially telling everyone screw you its only going to make it easier for someone else to buy a competitors phone.

    priority list for HTC
    1. increase battery size/ improve upon life
    2. make a modern slide out qwerty phone. It doesnt have to be the flagship, just make it good
    3. reduce weight. why is the rezound 6.1 ounces when the razr maxx is 5.1 .. with 2 times the battery life… really?

  • Mumbaiwebdesigner

    no keypad then no HTC…..they’r fools ..i mean cmon its better to have a keypad to type. Keys are too smalll on screen which make these phones rather uncomfortable while typing. Im sure everybody must be using backspace soo many times when they press keys on screen. Bad decision from HTC….

    • Mark

      I rarely use the backspace key, only if I accidentally selected the wrong word. Using the swype keypad eliminates typos, you just need to make sure you select the correct word if there are multiple options. If that’s your only concern, you should give the swype keypad a test drive and see how you go – I bet you type quicker and more accurately!

      • crapple

        You’re a fool to think that. Another major missing hardware piece these days is the trackball/touch pad. So many things you can do with it that you’re stuck with giving up on touch screens.

        I bet you use a stupid one button mouse as well. I need my Naga!

        • Mark

          I hardly use a mouse when using a computer as I know all the keyboard short cuts!

          Seriously? A trackball on a phone – you’re the fool mate and that’s being nice!!! There’s a reason why the crackberry was the only (at least the main one) phone to use a trackball, they suck. If they were so great all the phones with physical keyboards would have them.

  • I am tiered with touch screens, I used a HD2 and recently my Sensation XL has broken. I am looking for a QWERTY as I mainly do texting, having a slide out screen is way better for browsing and texting, you have more screen available.

    • I now have a HTC 7 Pro with a QWERTY and it is just so much better, my girl is jealous and now wants one too lol. Seriously phones are so large now days yet people complain because it is to thick(thats what she said). If you are not much of a texter or web browser then it is probably a waste of space, I find touchscreen texting so annoying when on the move.

  • ughh, head off with your touchscreen phones htc, i wouldnt touch them with a……. i just wouldnt touch them full stop. dirty things they are

  • Same

    Sometime, there is value in going against the grain. While all these other manufacturers are doing with a physical keyboard, this could be HTC niche and a guaranteed market.
    It is just sad how executive can be narrow minded at time. No one is saying don’t make a phone without physical keyboard. We are saying make one in addition and make sales from all sides. I will never buy a phone with physical keyboard.

  • TZ

    I send Jacob. I would always go for a QWERTY phone if it had the same specs as the best phones but sadly it never does. I’ve been waiting and watching and I’ve finally decided to give up and just buy one x or sIII instead.

    • TZ

      second Jacob*

  • ipanel

    Yeah, the Touch Pro 2’s keyboard, with ctrl key for ctrl-backspace (delete previous word), ctrl-shift-left (select previous word), ctrl-c, ctrl-v cut and paste. Awesome. Get that on a newer android phone, and I’d buy it, whoever the manufacturer.
    Plus these new phones with no qwerty are getting huge, partly to compensate for lost screen space when typing. A qwerty phone (should) have the advantage that it doesn’t need a big screen, so can be smaller. I want a phone that will fit in any pocket, and z-thin-ness matters less than x-y 2-D size to me for that.

  • 2face

    I can write four times faster on my qwerty than anybody can do on a touch screen. I’m cherishing my Xperia Pro, because I know, it’s probably gonna be my last decent quality qwerty slider phone.

  • Saggy32

    I will also be avoiding htc. I NEED my keyboard. You know how many people would have these phones with keyboards if the specs actually mached up?? dumb but t ts

  • Garye5599

    I want a qwerty keyboard. A thin phone without a qwerty is worthless to me! If HTC doesn’t have a solution once I’m done with my EVO Slide then they should assume they have lost my business. Even if I have to reluctantly become a blackberry cusrtomer … I will do whatever it takes to have a real qwerty keyboard.

  • Kngharv

    I have a Chacha. What killed Chacha is *NOT* because of it’s qwerty keyboard. it is the 150MB of ROM, which by the time you updated all built-in application and sync to your gmail, it will be so full that it can’t even receive SMS.

    Just by increase the size of ROM 8 times, this device would of been successful.

    they could add a larger portrait screen on top of it, make it overall size of a full-size wallet. Having a portrait screen would eliminate alot of rotating screen complexity

    Chacha is the best HTC keyboard phone out there, BUT, They made a lot of other stupid mistakes… in fact, I am not even sure having so called 512 MB of ROM while in reality there is only 150 MB partition allowed to install application is a “mistake.” it is an intentional deception.

    I was so disgusted by HTC’s move, that I switched to Samsung after HTC Chacha…


    So glad to see many people agreeing with me. I will NOT buy a phone unless it has a built-in QWERTY kb. Having one makes using the phone faster and it’s easier to use. Things like keyboard shortcuts provide great advantages.

    HTC is making a HUGE mistake if they really go in this direction!


  • karlos

    Being a bloke with bloke sized hands touch screens are a waste of time to me as they are so hard to use. Great business strategy to rule out the over 30yrs male market??

  • SoOverDroid2

    I was just about to look into replacing my Droid 2 with an HTC phone, but I can’t work without a keyboard.

  • Absolutely not. If HTC released a solid, attractive phone with solid specs – (Android 4,1, 4.3-4.8 amoled with 1280×800 res; 1.5 to 2 gb RAM, quad core, 10-12 mp camera,, 32-64gb internal memory expandable with up to 64gb microSD, removable 3000-4000 MaH battery; and a keyboard on par with the Motorola Photon – oh, and ditch the BS sense interface (it really, really does suck) and keep root unlocked.) they’d be at the top of the heap. If HTC came out with something like that I’d be there waiting in line to get one when the store opened on release day.

    Personally, I like both touch screen typing and physical keyboard, but
    as a matter of preference, I’d take the qwerty all the live long day and never miss the touchscreen, in fact the only reason I use it now is because I don’t have a qwerty phone and when I bought it, the qwerty phones available were terrible choices due to piss-poor specs or shoddy construction. In this sense, I truly do miss my old Blackberry – say what you will about RIM, but those phones were utterly solid both in performance and construction, the OS is what killed them.

    I;ve never had a problem with HTC hardware – have had two of them and currently still using an Inspire 4G – because it’s absolutely rock-solid. It’s been rooted, bricked, rooted again, dropped, banged, and exposed to the offspring, and yet it survives, and thrives. Currently running ICS on it, and it’s as fast as it ever was – if not faster.


  • HTC couldn’t care less what the users want if the majority will live without the qwerty. My dog walking/pet sitting business makes a keyboard mandatory.

    What’s their excuse for qwerty defect with the qwerty not lighting up so you’re typing blind AND THE PINK CLOUD DEFECT IN THE CAMERA that they claimed they would fix? This defect has been ongoing in the G2 and the Nexus One AND prior phones of theirs. $500.00 for a camera with a pink cloud on 95% of the photos? PFFFT.

    My Samsumg Galaxy Tablet camera blows the G2 camera out of the water so that’s what I have to use now. I’m going to get rid of the glamorous “smartphones” altogether and get a cheap Virgin Mobil cell for talking ($30.00 per month) and use my Tablet for everything else (sigh). AND the tablet only costs me around 15.00 per month instead of being forced to pay 100.00 for functionality with defects.