I wrote aboutlast week and was encouraged to read this morning on that Peter Chou, HTC CEO, sent out an internal email attempting to rally the troops. With a recent showing a majority of respondents preferring a QWERTY keyboard and RIM's uncertain future, I am left wondering if HTC can make a play in the Android and Windows Phone markets with QWERTY devices.
HTC was a leader in hardware QWERTY smartphones with the BEST landscape QWERTY ever in the HTC Touch Pro 2 and one of the best portrait QWERTY devices in the Dash 3G. HTC still has a couple of recent physcial QWERTY devices out there in the HTC Arrive and HTC myTouch 4G Slide, but it is rare to find a hardware QWERTY device that is not from Motorola (Droid), RIM or Nokia. I used to be a major fan of physical keyboards, but have gotten used to the full touchscreen experience and am not sure I want to go back to a physical QWERTY. If HTC came out with a high end Windows Phone 8 or Android Jelly Bean device with a QWERTY keyboard that may sway me to reconsider.
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RIM is having trouble finding its way, Nokia is getting hammered, and Motorola doesn't appear to be doing very well with Google as their owner. These companies still make physical QWERTY devices and it seems there may be a market to cater to these users and bring them to HTC. Apple will not make an iPhone with a physical QWERTY and given that HTC makes some of the best Android and Windows Phone hardware out there it may be something to consider. Are you a fan of physical QWERTY keyboards? Do you think HTC should continue to develop devices with this input method?