HTC fans hoping for a new Android phone equipped with a QWERTY keyboard will be extremely disappointed to learn that HTC is moving away from producing new devices with physical keyboards. HTC creative director Claude Zellweger made the announcement in Seattle during a press event, stating “As a company the QWERTY keyboard we’re moving away from in general.” Zellweger goes on to say “putting too much effort into that [QWERTY phones] would take away from our devices.” Rather than spending extra time on new hardware designs for QWERTY equipped devices, HTC will focus on improving its on-screen keypad software to consumers.
Even though most of the popular smartphones released in the past few years have not had physical keyboards, QWERTY devices have played a key role in the development of Android and its growth since the very beginning. Couple today’s news with HTC’s revelation from yesterday that they scrapped plans to release 3,000+ mAh battery-toting devices and you have a recipe which will produce some angry and frustrated HTC fans.
Having owned three QWERTY phones made by HTC, I am personally disappointed to hear that there may never be a true T-Mobile G3 device to replace my G2. Do you think HTC is making the right decision by abandoning development of new QWERTY devices?
Update: It seems we jumped to conclusions a bit too early. Claude has clarified a few things in another statement, acknowledging that there is a “diehard community” waiting for new QWERTY devices, but HTC is waiting for a few technologies to mature before they test the waters again.
I think the market's there, the sort of the diehard community, they keep wanting it, there's definitely still a market for it. We feel that putting too much effort in that would take away from our main focus, being a whole-screen device. I think people recognize the trade-off with size. There are a couple of technologies that we are waiting to sort of mature that could make a big bump suddenly in the evolution, that we are looking at very closely.Claude Zellweger