Touchscreens killed the keypad star. HTC is reportedly done with physical keypads and will instead focus on better on-screen keypad technology.
The word comes from HTC creative director Claude Zellweger speaking at a Seattle press event. “As a company the QWERTY keyboard we’re moving away from in general.” This likely doesn’t mean HTC won’t release another QWERTY phone in the near future but rather the company is shifting development focus away from physical keys.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The entire smartphone market started moving away physical keys as a response to the iPhone’s rise to the top. Even RIM followed this trend with its line of Storm smartphones. For better or worse, ditching physical buttons in favor for on-screen keyboards allow for thinner more stylish phones.
MobileBurn quotes Zellweger saying “putting too much effort into that [QWERTY phones] would take away from our devices.” This shows that HTC understands that the company needs a unified brand rather than a gaggle of phones. In previous years HTC seemingly released a new Android handset every three weeks. During Android’s roaring early days, this strategy helped grow the platform by enticing new buyers with fresh phones built on the latest technology. But now, as Samsung and Motorola have slowed their roll, HTC needs to do the same and it seems the QWERTY phones are getting the ax.