I Initially considered calling this feature “The best QWERTY Android phones”, but since it actually encompasses most of them – good, bad, cheap, expensive – I figured the more succinct title above was better suited.
The first ever Android phone was the HTC Dream, also known as the G1 in some regions. It was released way back in 2008, but since then there haven’t been a great deal of QWERTY Android phones.
It’s kinda surprising, as a report last year showed that over half of Android traffic in the US was driven by phones with physical keyboards. However, as the trend for larger screens continues, smartphones are becoming increasingly capable of accommodating decent on-screen keys. Well, hypothetically, at least.
Choosing whether or not to go for a physical keyboard is really a matter of personal preference. For some, a touchscreen keyboard just doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard.
Personally, I’m starting to get really annoyed with the on-screen keyboard on my HTC Desire HD, and wondering if a sliding QWERTY might be the way forward. That’s probably because I (a) type fairly quickly, and (b) have big stupid fingers.
Anyway, enough rambling. Let’s check out some Android phones with QWERTY keyboards.
HTC Desire Z
What happens when you take the HTC Desire, one of the most popular Android phones on the market, and add a slide-out keyboard? You get the HTC Desire Z, one of the most popular QWERTY Android phones.
In terms of specs, the HTC Desire Z is almost identical to its keyboardless brother. The most notable difference is the processor; the HTC Desire Z sits at 800MHz while the original Desire has 1GHz of juice.
Of course, the HTC Desire Z is also thicker (14.16mm vs 11.9mm) and slightly heavier (180g vs 135g).
I’ve just had a quick gander on Amazon and noticed that the HTC Desire Z is currently £309.99. That’s a fairly sexy price, actually.
Screen size: 3.7in
HTC Cha Cha
Mark Zuckerberg himself popped up at Mobile World Congress (er, via pre-recorded video) to announce HTC’s first Facebook phones, namely the ChaCha and Salsa. The controversial HTC ChaCha is a candybar-style phone with a full keyboard.
And just why is the HTC ChaCha controversial? Firstly, it stepped on the toes of ChaCha, a Questions and Answers service that is, somewhat confusingly, available as an app for Android. ChaCha on the ChaCha, anyone?
As if that wasn’t comical enough, HTC then realised that “chacha” is an offensive term in Spain, so they’re adding an extra “cha” for the Spanish release, making it the HTC ChaChaCha. Brilliant.
The HTC ChaCha(Cha) has a dedicated Facebook button below the keyboard. Because obviously the on-screen Facebook widget isn’t quite convenient enough for some.
We’re expecting the HTC ChaCha to land in the UK mid-June.
Screen size: 2.6in
Other HTC QWERTY action
HTC likes to confuse the complete and utter crap out of us by releasing slightly different phones in different territories. Over in the States, they’ve got the HTC-manufactured G2 (which uses the stock Android interface instead of HTC’s Sense), and the HTC Evo Shift 4G. Both of those are pretty much the same as the HTC Desire Z.
The Taiwanese manufacturer also announced the HTC Merge shortly after Mobile World Congress. As such, it’s probably fair to say it won’t be coming to Europe. Oddly enough, it’s also incredibly similar to the HTC Desire Z.
And finally, there’s the HTC Doubleshot, which was recently leaked in a user agent profile. It’s been suggested that the name might refer to twin cameras on the rear, which could mean some sort of 3D affair. Of course, it’s all speculation at the moment.
Right, that’s all for this instalment. Next time I promise to feature more phones and less rambling. I’ll leave you with some pics of the HTC Evo Shift 4G (left) and Merge (right):