Ever since the iPhone came out in 2007, people have been asking themselves whether or not phones with physical keys offer some sort of advantage due to their tactile nature. Looking at all the major smartphones that have been announced over the past few years, as well as RIM’s stock price, one would think that there’s no room in this world for phones with buttons. Nokia doesn’t think that, at least when it comes to dumbphones. They have multiple Asha models with full QWERTY keyboards. Samsung thinks they can do better though. According to Sammy Hub, what you’re looking at below is the GT-B5330. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, it has a screen of unknown size that displays an incredibly disappointing 320 x 240 pixels, and a processor that’s clocked at 850 MHz. Before you ask, no, we don’t know when this thing will be formally announced, how much it’s going to cost, nor which markets are going to get it. If we had to speculate, we’d say late Q3, 150 EUR, Asia first, Europe second.
Now normally we’d knock such a low end device, but here we’re actually impressed that Samsung solved one of Android’s key issues on low end devices. In order for companies to sell budget phones, said phones have to have small screens. We can all agree that typing on a small screen is a miserable experience. With the GT-B5330, people can now type on a keyboard that doesn’t suck, and hopefully Samsung’s engineers made it so that the text editor doesn’t take up 75% of the display once it pops up.
Time will of course fix these issues. Half a decade ago a quad band EDGE feature phone cost at least two hundred Euros. These days you get a capacitive touch screen device with GPS, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a smartphone OS for less than 150 EUR if you’re willing to compromise. Small screens won’t even exist by 2017 at the rate we’re going.