1 Comment

Summary:

Sprint’s strategy to curb subscriber losses by converting Nextel customers is working but what will help the operator’s cause more is the addition of hot smartphones. With the Photon Q 4G LTE, Sprint is gambling that people still want physical keyboards on their handset.

PHOTON_Q_Front_open_Lit_Dark_Hero_Marketing-420x330

Sprint is making a valiant effort to convert older Nextel customers to new subscribers and perhaps the best way to that is to tout the company’s unlimited data plans and hot new phones. Apple’s iPhone is likely helping in this case, but Sprint needs more than just the iPhone. The Photon Q 4G LTE, built by Motorola, might be just the key. Literally.

In a world dominated by on-screen software keyboards, Sprint is bucking the trend with the new Photon Q: A powerful Android 4.0 smartphone paired with a five-row hardware keyboard. The carrier hasn’t yet announced availability or pricing details but plans to do so in the coming weeks.

Most of the handsets with physical keyboards I’ve looked at in the past few years — and there haven’t been many — have generally been low- to mid-range devices.

The new Photon Q 4G LTE, a follow up to last year’s Photon Q, appears to rival many handsets available today (save a few premium models) with these specifications; that is, at least on paper:

  • Google Android 4.0.4
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor; likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon due to LTE support, but that’s simply my guess
  • A five-row, slide-out QWERTY keyboard with LED outlined keys
  • 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960 resolution) Colorboost display
  • 8 GB internal storage, microSD card expansion slot, 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture; front facing camera for video chat
  • GPS; NFC; Bluetooth 4.0; 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • World phone capabilities with support for CDMA, EVDO, GSM and LTE

Much like the recently announced Motorola Atrix HD, the Photon Q LTE 4G includes Motorola’s Smartactions; software that automates certain activities and phone settings. The device also supports display mirroring though HDMI so that digital media can be shared on the big screen. Aside from the slightly low resolution — a 4.3-inch display would look better at 1280 x 720 resolution in my opinion — there’s not much to dislike here and it could help Sprint transition even more Nextel customers over to Sprint’s new LTE network.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. richardmgarrett Thursday, July 26, 2012

    I purchased the original Droid thinking the hardware keyboard would be a valuable asset (I was migrating from a Palm Treo). As it turned out, I seldom used it and have fully adapted to the onscreen variety. I’ve also come to realize that I prefer portrait over landscape mode for most everything (probably a vestige of my Treo habit). For me, there are two additional stumbling blocks to the physical keyboard, at least in this design. One is the extra step involved in opening it. The other is the key spacing seems to slow my typing and doesn’t really improve its accuracy. As you always point out though, choice is good. For me I prefer the choice of putting money into a faster processor or better camera rather than a physical keyboard.

Comments have been disabled for this post