A few years ago, if you wanted a smartphone, options were pretty slim. Depending on your wireless provider, you could choose between a few BlackBerry models, a couple Palm devices and even fewer Windows Mobile phones. These were the BlackBerry days – the days where RIM ruled the majority of the smartphone market share and ran the show with their topnotch handsets.

Fast forward a couple years and things have changed quite a bit. RIM's mobile market share has nearly halved in the past year. The portrait QWERTY has remained their bread and butter. But in light of large, touchscreen displays and more touch-friendly operating systems, RIM was caught on their heels and have been forced to begin testing other designs.

Even while testing new designs like the Torch models and appeasing (or attempting to, at least) to the new market, RIM has aimed to keep their enterprise relations strong and kept their favorite, QWERTY-toting 'Berrys in the mix. They've apparently been slipping in this area as well, with 94 percent of the Fortune 500 companies testing the iPhone and 92 percent testing the iPad instead of their "businessman's tablet," the PlayBook.

All the while (and even during RIM's best years), other manufacturers have tried to replicate the BlackBerry design. More recently, this has been an attempt to pull straggling BlackBerry users to the Android camp. This effort has been met with little success. But why, exactly?

It's all centered around the keyboard, and nobody can seem to get the specs at a sufficient level. Research In Motion has they keyboard part down to an art by now, but others can seem to put the pieces together. They seem to forget, if you're going to make a handset with a portrait keyboard, the QWERTY should be the highlight of the device, not an afterthought. And when it comes to specs, people have learned to expect nothing particularly mind-blowing from RIM's handsets. But Android manufacturers can't quite get away with it like RIM has.

The Motorola DROID Pro is a perfect example of a portrait QWERTY done wrong. The design was decent, and although the display was only sub-par, the keyboard was atrocious. It was easy to navigate with raised, ridged keys, but they were extremely small, sticky, mushy and hard to depress. Others that have also failed at this design are the Samsung Replenish, HTC ChaCha, Motorola XPRT and Titanium.

But it isn't just about the keyboard; nobody has made a BlackBerry-like Android phone with decent specs either. Just this Saturday, some photos of the Motorola Admiral leaked. At first glance, I thought, "That doesn't look half bad." It's actually not too far off from my perfect superphone design. After taking a second look and glancing at the purported specs, however, I quickly moved on. The Admiral touts a 1.2GHz Qaulcomm MSM8655 processor (that's single-core), a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB built-in storage and a 1,860mAh battery. Severely underwhelming amid phones like the Amaze 4G or Galaxy S II.

If it were introduced last year, the Admiral would have been an eye-catcher. That said, no matter how much I love the portrait QWERTY form factor, it's impossible for me to take a step back and use something like the DROID Pro or Admiral. These are the kind of low-end phones that taint Android's reputation.

Personally, I'm keeping up hopes that some OEM will come along with a high-end portrait QWERTY. Who knows, maybe that will be RIM with their QNX devices. All I'm asking for is a phone with a portrait QWERTY (worth typing on), 3.5-inch (WVGA) display, dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, an advanced lens camera, decent battery life and no ugly custom UI. It that too much to ask?

Who else is dying for a serious portrait QWERTY phone with high-end specs? Which OEM would you like to see make it? And what are your thoughts on the Admiral and other existing portrait QWERTY Android phones?

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81 Reactions to this post

"Should Android manufacturers make a phone to compete against BlackBerry?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Jim Taylor I also am waiting for a powerful Pro version smart phone with a functional QWERTY key board. The Droid Pro is Close!
Terry Oakes android 1.5 is better then BB ios
Jared Prado They already did droid pro
???? ???? ??????? Android should compete with who?
Julie Lim Why would they do that? BB is going is going down hill. They had to laid off a bunch of employees.
Chad Allen Really BB must compete with Android not the other way around
Sandra Dusek Furtado Hasn't that been done?
Bill Techert No, let Android kick their #&$ by becoming "king" naturally. Running CM7.1.0 on HTC MyTouch4g.
Jason Vargas Blackberry is killing themselves. Just let them sink. The Droid pro failed so theres no point
Byktor Urvaes I use to be a blackberry user and I still like them but I have to admit that trying to compete with blackberry right now is going backwards...
Zach Cline Droid pro sucks.
Brent Legendre why? they already rule the phone world.
Ayoub Hage Why?blackberry sux camel dick :)
Drew Whitlock What about the Droid pro?...
Norleena Davies BB are junk just like the iphones, out dated stuff.
Katy Djambazian As a BB user, I must say that I love my BB. However, being Tech savvy and working with RIM's limited advancement in the area of the OS can get quite frustrating. If the two would merge even if it were for BB users to have access to the android market, well that would be GREAT! But being that everyone in my circle owns a BB and we can communicate through BBM via our group, I cannot see myself leaving the BB for any other phone at this time, even with all the frustrations of not having advanced technology.
Carol Dudley-Bowen they already have, the Motorola Droid Pro... but it still isn't as nice as the BB 9900/9930. If BB would get the cool apps that Android has it would be a different ballgame.
Jermain Filicia And the truth is that a lot of android users are thinking on blackberry's again!!
Jermain Filicia I think android have very good phones!! But blackberry is not going to die!!! Because not all androids phones can service where BlackBerry's can!!!
Zach Cline It's not user error when my droid freezes up or lags , Or reboots itself. Pfft- Fandroids.
Zach Cline Mark i'm not saying they do it all the time, Because for the most part my droid x functions ok. Then i'll have times where it will freeze and lag , Reboot, Force close etc.... Android in general isn't as stable as ios. I've had facebook chat crash on me a few times on my ipad/ ipod and have had my mail crash, But it's pretty rare. I've never had my browser freeze and crash on my ios devices which can't be said about the previous two droids i've had.
Mark Fisher Jr. Why don't they just put the android operating systems in the blackberrys. Other than that, I can't remember seeing enybody yet that has a blackberry. Only androids.
Mark Mann I guess i have the only android phone out of the millions sold that's works right zack?
Peter M McDaniel They don't need to.
Robert Centennial Blackberry is crap let it die.
Keenan Ochoa All phones mess up. At least droids are easier and cheaper to fix.
Tremaine Fowler From a die hard BB user - If they want my phone business. Come up with a phone that will last 1.5 days without a charge (out the box) or with out any configuration. Also will need a track pad and a keyboard. Droid Pro looked ideal until the battery life issue came into play. Till then I will rock the blackberry cause I don't spend that much time looking on the internet on my phone.... SO I will keep a moto Xoom for an android fix
Farru DMetri Mendezz hahah r u serious!!!!!!!! wow android is much better than blackberry u and everybody know that!!!!!
Stephen Norton My android devices run fine. Probably user errors.
Leo Jasso Blackberry should make a phone with android!!!
Jones Robert ...there is nothing to compete against.BLACKBERRY is DEAD.
Dee Nazario They did. The Droid Pro. It failed. Next.
Mike West Should Apple make a phone that competes with Windows phone? Let that stupid question sink in.
Josh Foster Shouldn't the headline say should blackberry make a phone to compete against android. Business isn't exactly booming for rim right now.
Adam Schulte Didnt they already do that with the DROID PRO and the Samsung Replenish?
Zach Cline Wrong mark. My DROID x has done it and so have other android devices like the EVO 4G. Keep living in denial.
Alex Satterwhite No. Why bring Android down to Blackberrys level?
Jerrod Vinson BlackBerry ain't competition for us!
Mark Mann Hey Juan unlike your iphone there is more options on android only the low end phones do that
??? ????? BB should try to make phone to compete with most androids and the OS ...
Jeremy Abad Naw, Black Berry is nearly dead.
Diaz Jonathan no..waste of time
Sayeed Al-Shehab I disagree.....the question should be should blackberry build a phone more like an android or iphone.
Chris Arrington Yes and no and maybe but not really but sorta kinda because whatever who cares?
Ryan Patterson Yes! Take over the world! IPhone... Made my android
Orga Price They already HAVE devices that compete in terms of form factor. Android doesn't have an equivalent to BES or BBM, which is why they can't actually compete. I... I thought this was obvious.
Juan Carlos Munoz I don't understand why people love an os that is always freezing or crashing?
Brian Edwards No, they should milk Blackberry to support Android with BBM and such.
Stefan H Kinney It wouldn't hurt but blackberry can't compete wit Android anyway so it doesn't matter
Juan Carlos Munoz They should focus on better app management and battery life.
William Martin Sure. A lot of people still like to have a hardware keyboard. What I'd like to see is a high end rugged phone
Zak Taylor I will be different and say they should. I love physical keyboards, and Android based phones don't really have them. It would be nice to see a little competition from Android manufactures.
Terrence Sebastine Chuniesingh Why? BBM is de only epic thing about blackberry and dominic is so right... And I'm using one right now. But I love android
Jason King Why ... Blackberry is doing a pretty good job of messing things up on there own with the current competition ...
Tommy D Thompson I would say yes is Blackberry was dominating but that just isn't the case. Blackberry continues to lose while Android gains. If anything at all, Blackberry needs to make a phone to compete with the high end Android devices.
Jasvinder Singh Android is much better than blackberry.....
Joseph Olvera Yes. Though I wish webOS could have killed blackberry.
Gary Brown woundn't that be taking a step back competing with blackberry?
Gordon Christie No HTC did that with cha cha and had to pull it
Kerry Omlin They stil make Blackberry's?
Carlos Mendoza They have the Motorola pro. That phone shits on the BB
Dominic Greifinger Unless an android phone manufacturer can make a dedicated server for emails like rim, its going to be very hard for business users that rely on there blackberrys for their emails to switch over to an android device. Blackberrys are built for the business user in mind
Omar Jandali bro screw blackberry that shit is weak compared to all android phones and ithe iphone ahahah
James Newman I wouldn't mind having an Android powered device with a keyboard that could rival that of a BlackBerry's.
Ziggy Torres They a few phones that look like BBs already.
Mike Markle Certainly! However, with that being said, I think the manufacturers should also spend more time working alongside google and their development teams to implement speedier updates to phones, as I believe this will ultimatley be the greatest downfall of Android as an entire ecosystem.
Hanish Kies Chawla yes android has very less security balberry has best one !!! so u should !! which cant be rooted niether new roms can be added plus a service like bbm
Hansel Starley You mean like the Galaxy S pro? That phone is shit.
Ryan Rhodes That would open a whole new market of the business smartphone users to choose Android. so Android would have gain from competing with Apple and Blackberry
Dante Robinson No. BlackBerry is no longer competition for Android
Adam Brewington No. No. No. NO.

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