The BlackBerry form factor, better known as portrait QWERTY, doesn’t get a lot of love these days from handset vendors. Nearly every major device that’s been announced during the past half decade has just a giant slab of glass. What are people who want to use their thumbs going to do? Enter the Huawei M660. Discovered by the folks at Unwired View, this smartphone runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 3.2 inch screen, a keyboard that looks like it stolen from Canada, and … that’s about it. Supposedly it’ll launch on MetroPCS, which makes it pretty useless for most Americans and pretty much all of Europe and Asia as well. Will there be a GSM version? Knowing how Huawei works, we would say yes, though timing is the real question. Take the Huawei Sonic for example, which can best be thought of as an iPhone 3GS running Android. It was announced last summer, yet for reasons we can’t understand it took T-Mobile USA nearly 12 months to bring it to the United States as the “Prism”.
The bigger question is of course will devices like the M660 still be made in the future? Software keyboards are getting better and better each and every year, and let’s not forget about Apple, who thinks that the future is all about talking to your smartphone instead of actually tapping the screen. It wasn’t that long ago that T9 was still the dominate form of text input. Some will argue that you can’t do any serious work without a physical keyboard, but those people are quite limited in number and shrinking each and every year. It’s telling that when RIM showed off BlackBerry 10 earlier this week they did it on a device that was, you guessed it, a giant piece of glass.
What do you think, is it time to move on from QWERTY?
[Apologies for the terrible image quality, it's all we've got!]