T-Mobile SGH-T699 spotted in the wild, think Galaxy S II with a QWERTY keyboard and an HD screen

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What happens when you take the best selling smartphone of 2011, replace the 800 x 480 screen it originally shipped with with a 720p display, and then slap a QWERTY keyboard on it for good measure? According to TmoNews, you get T-Mobile Samsung SGH-T699. Here is what they know about the device: It’ll ship with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, it has a 5 megapixel camera, and it’s going to be powered by a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, though no one is sure if it’s an S3 or an S4. Where exactly does this device fit in the operator’s portfolio considering that the Galaxy S III is going to launch in just three days? Again, that’s something we don’t really know.

The bigger question here is who still buys phones with physical keyboards? We’re not in 2007 anymore, when you could rightfully say that software keyboards simply weren’t up to snuff. These days most people can bang out an email on a piece of glass faster than they could ever do so on a shrunken down QWERTY keyboard. And now that today’s phones are increasingly shipping with massive screens, said software keyboard is much more expansive and easier to use. There’s the BlackBerry crowd, we can’t forget those folks, but they’re leaving RIM’s platform behind in droves.

Side sliding QWERTY devices make a lot of sense on paper since they let you have a large screen, but the added bulk, plus the questionable reliability of a moving part, make us wonder if there truly is a market for these kind of devices. What say you, do you like having choice, or would you rather companies just focus on making fewer devices that are tailored to a more mainstream crowd?

Update: Oh and one more thing, there’s a front facing camera and notification LED.

  • Fredo915

    Yes there is still a market for keyboards. Some of us were still waiting for and HTC G3…but HTC quit making QWERTY. So were left with this mid to lower end phones… :(

    • Almeladze

      I agree with all 3 ppl above. We are here! We Want QWERTY! and the mass hysteria of touchscreens is killing me personally. i cant type emails on a screen! Besides, if you type in more than one language the on-screen keyboard is a nightmare with all it corrections… or you have to turn them off and then typo after typo… :(

      Mid-range or not, please give them to US. I am game to buy yesteryear’s phone or a device that is a step down phone with lower camera res, etc, as long as I have connectivity and hard keyboard. I just do not want to buy something that is over a year old. In that case all the updates to android make the phone useless b/c the processor cant handle them and phones become VERY SLOW!

  • anon

    i got dopod 838, htc kaiser, nokia n900 and now xperia pro. slide out keyboard is one of my requirement. i don’t care if my phones aren’t in the anorexic group. it gives me more comfort in typing, navigating, and even playing with the help of hardware keyboard. i may not use them as frequently as before but still comes in handy from time to time…

  • guest

    no market for keyboard? i REFUSE to buy a phone without one. and i created an account just to post this comment

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