HTC to shift away from physical keyboards, says consumers prefer thinness over longer battery life

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: April 19, 2012

T-Mobile HTC G2

Outside of devices made by RIM, the physical keyboard is becoming somewhat of a rarity in the smartphone world. It doesn't sound like HTC plans on helping to reverse that trend, as our own Aaron Baker was at a conference being held by the company in Seattle today when HTC said that it plans to shift away from the physical QWERTY. Don't fret if you can't live without your QWERTY 'board, though, as HTC design guru Claude Zellweger said that he doesn't think that the physical keyboard is totally dead thanks to "a die-hard community" that's around it.

The hardware keyboard isn't the only smartphone feature that came up during HTC's conference today, as Bjorn Kilburn, HTC VP of product strategy, discussed battery life and phone thinness. Kilburn said that HTC did some research concerning smartphones and battery life and found that consumers preferred thinner devices over those that traded that thinness for extra battery life. That led HTC to shelve its plans for phones with batteries ranging 3,000mAh and up, although Kilburn noted that HTC is still working on improving battery life using methods other than simply plopping a bigger battery into a phone, including new battery tech and improving the way software uses battery power.

Both tidbits of information are interesting to hear, although the news of HTC shifting away from physical keyboards isn't terribly surprising. The quality of software keyboards continues to improve, and ditching the hardware QWERTY obviously allows a device to be thinner than it would be with one, and according to HTC's research, a thin device is something that many folks covet. What do you all make of HTC's decisions? Are there any of you that can't live without a hardware keyboard attached your smartphone?

Via The Verge