Smartphones With Physical Keyboards - InformationWeek

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4/15/2013
10:18 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
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Smartphones With Physical Keyboards

Do you want a physical keyboard on your smartphone? The new BlackBerry with a hard keyboard will be here soon, but there are alternatives. Here we show you eight phones, including six not from BlackBerry.
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There was a time when all smartphones had hard keyboards. Then the iPhone came. It wasn't the first touch-screen smartphone, but it made it respectable, even fashionable, to use a smartphone with a soft keyboard. After a while, hard keyboards themselves, associated as they are with BlackBerry, seemed to symbolize the old way.

But many users gave up their hard-keyboarded BlackBerrys with some reluctance. The soft keyboard basically worked, but clearly it wasn't as easy to use as the old, familiar BlackBerry hard keyboard. The reason users dropped their BlackBerrys for iPhones and Android phones — in spite of the inferior keyboards — was the much better software and the big touch screens.

But hard keyboards never went away. Do you still want one? You have some options, which we will show in the pages that follow. Verizon Wireless offers the most options, followed by Sprint, but all the carriers have some sort of BlackBerry.

There are a few phones here — the Samsung Replenish, Motorola Admiral, Pantech Marauder, and Motorola ES400S — that you may never have heard of. I know I never heard of them. They tend to be inexpensive and some are well behind the times in terms of features. But the deficiencies may not matter to you.

BlackBerry Q10

The first, pictured here, is the BlackBerry Q10. It's not available yet, but as we recently reported, it will be available in a matter of weeks.

The Q10 runs the same BlackBerry 10 OS as the fully-touch BlackBerry Z10. The display is smaller than the Z10's. Too small? Too personal a decision for us to make. Wait till they're in stores and compare them side by side. In the meantime, below is a short demo of the Q10 and, below that, you can click on to other hard-keyboard phones that you can get today.

Next Page: Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II

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