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Top 7 Android smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards

Phones with QWERTY keyboards aren’t getting much love with the major manufacturers these days, but you can still find some high end phones with a physical keyboard.  In this June 2017 update, we’re recommending the Blackberry KEYone as the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market right now.  

BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.98(Price as of 02/19/2019 12:31 ET)

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If you can’t stand using the touch keyboard phones that’s dominating the market, give the KEYone a shot.  It’s highly unlike you will find another smartphone with physical keyboard that will beat the Blackberry KEYone, since most manufacturers simply do not make these type of phones anymore.  You can find the specs here for this Android phone with QWERTY keyboard.

Blackberry Priv

BlackBerry, a company that was once renowned for their business-oriented smartphones with physical keyboards, has to fight for significance in a world dominated by virtual keyboard typing experience. Just like Clark Kent dressed in casual clothes, the BlackBerry Priv looks deceptively ordinary, perhaps with the exception of the curved display. But it takes just a quick slide to reveal Priv’s 4-row QWERTY keyboard hiding underneath the display.

The keyboard also features an integrated trackpad and several programmable keys for launching apps and changing the position on the screen. You can swipe up across the keyboard to access a full-sized virtual keyboard with special characters and symbols. Clever stuff, indeed.

Also hiding under the 5.4” display with 540 ppi is the powerful Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 chipset, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage space, and Adreno 418. With such high-end specifications, the Priv is a productivity beast with ample power to fuel any multitasking (or gaming—we won’t judge) frenzy.

While the Android operating system looks close to the pure Android experience that you get on Nexus devices, BlackBarry has made a lot of changes under the hood. Privacy and security have been given a special attention, for example, with the BlackBerry DETEK app, which can tell you how secure you are and what improvements you can make.

  • 4-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Beautiful curved display
  • Sharp, vivid camera
  • Good performance
  • Increased privacy


  • The smartphone is slightly top-heavy

Talk QWERTY to me
The age of the Q is over. There’s no point denying it, arguing it or sugarcoating it. Flagship physical QWERTY phones are long gone, and they’re not coming back. Sad? Damn straight, as we all remember how we used to be able to send like five texts a minute on a full-size keypad-boasting handheld.

Since phone manufacturers simply aren’t seeing too much demand for Android smartphone with keyboard, they just aren’t releasing too many new variants of these.  But if you really need that keyboard, a good work around is to get the latest and greatest smartphone you can find, and get a mini bluetooth keyboard that you can carry around with you and sync with your phone.  If that doesn’t work for you, then check out these smartphones with keyboard currently on the market.

Yes, they were bulky, clunky, even ugly, but they got the job done in a way no touchscreen-toting iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S will ever get close to. Whatever “highly intuitive” apps like Swiftkey or Swype evolve into.

It’s also odd though how each and every mobile player (save for BlackBerry, maybe) turned their backs on productivity-centric gadgets all of a sudden, especially when Samsung, LG and Sony are so vocal about the diversity of their product lineups. Cater to the needs of everyone, my arse. Where’s my Galaxy S5Q, my LG G2 Slider and my Xperia Z2 Chat?


Heck, right now, I’d probably settle for a Galaxy S3Q or LG Optimus G Slider. Any semblance of a decent, upper mid-range Android QWERTY phone would be nice. Instead, the seven best physical keyboard devices of March 2014 are these old geezers:

7. LG Mach

Still stuck on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the 15 month-old Mach basically makes the cut here because there are no half-decent alternatives. I mean, I wouldn’t touch this thing with a ten-foot pole nowadays.

Not only is it four software generations behind the times, it’s mostly unavailable stateside and restricted for use on Sprint and Boost Mobile. The latter sells it online for $180 with prepaid plans, whereas if you want Now Network’s version, you’ll need to reach out to some fairly obscure Amazon sellers and cough up $360 (!!!).

LG Mach

Yeah, right, like anyone would be so nuts as to drop that kind of money on a chunky little fellow tipping the scales at 168 grams and packing a 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res touchscreen, dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU, as well as meager 1,700 mAh battery.

6. Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere 2

Despite its retro (read fugly) design, and overall underwhelming hardware, the Verizon-exclusive Stratosphere 2 is clearly not the worst QWERTY option around. Up for grabs via Amazon and Best Buy free of charge in a contract-tied flavor, the slider is on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, weighing 14 grams less than the Mach.

Galaxy Stratosphere 2

The juicer is a tad beefier, at 1,800 mAh, but sadly, the Super AMOLED panel is equally as mediocre. The dual-core 1.2 GHz SoC too. Bottom line, the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere 2 is obviously not an ideal choice for productivity fanatics.

5. Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G

Though its two months older than the second-gen Stratosphere, the S Relay 4G is superior to its Verizon counterpart primarily in the aesthetics department. Less pronounced curves equals more elegance, not to mention the Relay is slightly slimmer while retaining the 1,800 mAh ticker.

Galaxy S Relay 4G

Hardware-wise, the T-Mo-restricted S Relay resembles the Stratosphere 2 greatly, but ups the processing power ante with a 1.5 GHz CPU. On-board software? Android 4.1 Jelly Bean starting April 2013. Price? $205 outright on Amazon.

4. Motorola Droid 4

One of the last remaining Mohicans of a lost era, the Droid 4 has aged rather gracefully, but it has aged nevertheless. Almost harder to score than the LG Mach, Moto’s once mighty slider is $220 with Verizon branding but no pacts via Amazon. Oh, and it’s pre-owned.

Worth the dough? Refurb products are always a gamble, two year-olds especially, yet the Droid still has a few things going for it. Like a decent 4-inch 960 x 540 pixels resolution touchscreen, 16 GB built-in storage, 8 MP rear-facing camera with image stabilization, 1 GB RAM, microSD support and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Motorola Droid 4

Downsides? For one thing, the dual-core TI OMAP 4430 is ancient and laggy. Also, the 1,785 mAh battery is pretty tiny, plus non-removable. Finally, have you ever carried around a brick in your trouser pocket? You will if you buy the Droid 4, as it weighs a staggering 179 grams.

3. LG Optimus F3Q

The youngest of the bunch, released but a few weeks ago on T-Mobile, the F3Q looks like a violent blast from the past design-wise, with a funky turquoise blue physical keyboard and an even swankier textured rear cover.

I personally think the blue-black color combo is a bit too much, but hey, kids may dig it, and in the long haul, it could help QWERTY phones become hip again. Available for $0 upfront and $312 full retail price, the device is hardly a powerhouse, with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 running the hardware show, aided by 1 GB RAM.


The 4 GB on-board storage is cringe worthy, as is the 14 mm waist, yet software upgrades beyond 4.1 Jelly Bean could be on the horizon, and that should count for something. Also, it packs a gargantuan 2,460 mAh battery, capable of holding a single charge for up to 16 hours of talk time and 16 days (!!!) of standby time.

2. LG Enact

Yes, I realize the Enact and Optimus F3Q are in many ways virtually identical. From the design language to the CPU, RAM and battery life. Yet I like to think of Verizon’s Enact as F3Q’s classier brother. Sure, the Big Red fellow is chubby as hell (15.8 mm thickness, 170 grams weight), however it replaces the tacky blue keyboard with a black-and-silver one.


And the rear looks better too, in my humble opinion. Also on 4.1 Jelly Bean and likely to be upgraded before long, the Enact doubles down on storage, and costs a penny with contracts, as well as $400 without a service plan.

1. Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

Not sure whether we should laugh or cry seeing a mid-2012 phone top a 2014 list. But that’s how behind the market is for QWERTY aficionados. And mind you, the Photon Q was hardly a high-ender when it first saw daylight, back in July 2012.

Up for grabs for free with 24-month Sprint agreements, the big guy weighs in at a massive 170 grams, however it offers the most generous screen real estate of all seven QWERTY world champion title candidates: 4.3 inches.


The resolution is decent, 960 x 540, there’s scratch-resistant glass on top of it, a dual-core 1.5 GHz chip beneath the hood, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB storage, 8 MP primary camera with LED flash, 4G LTE and microSD support. Compared with, say, the Galaxy S5, it’s a featherweight, but like I said, it’s all we got.

At least until the Motorola Droid 5 goes official, if it’s ever to go official. Any thoughts? Maybe some other contenders we unintentionally snubbed? Anyone else out there rooting for a QWERTY revival? Sound off below.

BlackBerryBlackBerry KEYone GSM Unlocked Android Smartphone (AT&T, T-Mobile) - 4G LTE – 32GBBuy on Amazon|$268.98(Price as of 02/19/2019 12:31 ET)

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Samsung Galaxy devices come with OTA backdoor access, your data may be at risk

galaxy s3 microsd card problem

This just in: If you’re using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet, your device might just contain a backdoor that could let attackers remotely control your device or access data stored in it.

According to Paul Kocialkowski, a developer for custom ROM Replicant, the backdoor basically involves protocols used by the Radio Interface Layer (RIL) in communicating with the device’s modem — or the chip that does the actual communication with the cellular tower. Kocialkowski cites the difference between devices’ two processors: (1) the general-purpose applications processor that runs Android, and (2) the one in charge of radio communications with the telephony network.

Over-the-air backdoor access

The concern here is that because the baseband is proprietary, there is no knowing what kind of backdoors manufacturers have put into the system. “This processor always runs a proprietary operating system, and these systems are known to have backdoors that make it possible to remotely convert the modem into a remote spying device.”

While developing Replicant, which is marketed as a fully free/libre version of Android, without the licensed or proprietary aspects that come shipped with devices, Kocialkowski said that the team discovered a few backdoors that Samsung may have implemented in its Galaxy line of devices. “[T]he proprietary program running on the applications processor in charge of handling the communication protocol with the modem actually implements a backdoor that lets the modem perform remote file I/O operations on the file system,” he writes on a guest article at the Free Software Foundation blog. The program is shipped on Galaxy devices, and the developer says it is “possible for the modem to read, write, and delete files on the phone’s storage.”

Kocialkowsi says that on most Galaxy devices, the baseband has sufficient privileges to modify user data stored on the device itself. A technical discussion is offered on Replicant’s wiki, where devices like the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 are listed to be vulnerable, as well as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S, S2, Note and certain variants of the Galaxy Tab 2 . The Replicant developers showcased proof of concept, where a string of data was retrieved from the device’s storage using the backdoor.

And because the backdoor resides on the phone’s modem, which is almost always connected to the mobile network, it means that malicious individuals or organizations — or perhaps government agencies — can potentially gain access smartphones and tablets to spy on mobile users.

Is Samsung at fault?

According to Replicant, Samsung may have originally included the functionality for some legitimate purpose. The concerned RIL protocol was “not found to have any particular legitimacy nor relevant use-case. However, it is possible that these were added for legitimate purposes, without the intent of doing harm by providing a back-door.”

However, it remains to be a risk. And given mobile users’ paranoia against eavesdropping by the NSA, GCHQ and other government spy agencies, this is one big cause of concern, especially for those who use their devices in an enterprise or other potentially sensitive setting.

How to protect your privacy

To address this, Kocialkowski recommends the use of custom ROMs that will prevent data access through the baseband. He says that Replicant — which is the supposed spiritual successor to the ideals that were started by the CyanogenMod team — will prevent access from these backdoors. “Our free replacement for that non-free program does not implement this backdoor,” he writes. “If the modem asks to read or write files, Replicant does not cooperate with it.”

However, given the scope of control that the phone’s firmware has over the hardware, the backdoor may still be used to remotely control the device, such as turn on the microphone to listen in on conversations.

Samsung has not yet provided an official response to the security issue. Replicant has offered to help the company address the fix, however, and would be “very glad to work with Samsung in order to make things right, for instance through releasing free software or documentation that would make it easy for community Android versions to get rid of the incriminated blob.”

Leaked document shows Sprint is rolling out Galaxy S III Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update on Oct 25th

When Korean manufacturer, Samsung, announced that its flagship smartphone, Galaxy S III, released in the United States would be getting the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update “soon,” it actually left an impression that US customers aren’t getting the same treatment as with customers from other regions. The company didn’t provide an ETA as to when the update would be rolled out pushing bloggers to speculate that the update might not be rolled out until 2013. There was, however, one carrier that hinted of an update this year—Sprint Nextel.

While many think Sprint would roll out the update in November, the most recent document that was leaked and published online suggests Sprint Galaxy S III owners could start receiving notifications today, October 25th. The screenshot does look legit and it says the update will bring software build L710VPALJ7 to the device. The XDA Developer community was the first one to publish the document and it spread like wild fire considering the popularity of Galaxy S3.

Many tech enthusiasts believe an update from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean is simply an incremental upgrade as the core architecture of the operating system remains unchanged. However, the JB package intended for Galaxy S III should be larger than typical packages for other devices because of its features on top of stock features such as Home Screen Management, Android Beam, better Notifications bar, Google Now, etc. It is expected that Sprint would add a few features to facilitate better customer service.

If you are one of the Galaxy S III owners under Sprint network, this is one reason to be excited. But at the end of the day, this information still needs confirmation from either Samsung or Sprint and as we wait for it, we must take this new with a pinch of a salt. Perhaps, the best thing to do for now is wait and see if the screenshot was taken from the actual Sprint document.

[source: XDA Developer Forums] [via: Phandroid]

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Apple Claims Samsung Galaxy Devices are Copies of iPhone and iPad

An Apple executive made a bold claim in front of the jury Friday, August 3rd, saying that Samsung had already acted upon its plan to copy the entire product line of Apple. Samsung Galaxy devices—both smartphones and tablets—are said to be clear copies Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The emphasis was given more on the design and overall user experience.

Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing at Apple testified in court on Friday accusing Samsung of blatantly copying Apple’s devices. Consequently, the South Korean manufacturer was able to take the lead in the competition by releasing devices that almost have the same design as with the ones Cupertino-based tech giant offers. To even attract more customers, Samsung reportedly copied several patented features from iOS; exactly the reason why the two companies are squaring off each other in court today.

When asked how he felt about Samsung’s way in taking the lead in the mobile market, Schiller said he was just shocked after seeing the overall characteristics of the first generation of Galaxy devices; at first glance, people could immediately mistaken them for iPhone.

There are two major options key players could do to take the lead in the booming mobile market, Apple’s lawyer said; to innovate or to copy. Samsung allegedly took the easier way to claim dominance by copying pre-existing designs and features of iPhone and iPad.

“Samsung has copied the entire design and user experience of Apple’s iPhone and iPad,” said lawyer Harold McElhinny who is representing Apple.

Naturally, the Korean phone maker countered such allegations by making claims that it was Apple who first copied its designs and not the other way around. One of the things the company cited in court as part of its innovations was the rounded rectangular design of its smartphones and tablets.

Apparently, Apple has the upper hand against Samsung in the recent patent case considering the fact that the Samsung has to prove to the jury that the long line of its Galaxy devices are a product of innovation. The latter’s counsel, however, is trying to make a point using “Sony style” argument accusing the former as being a hypocrite “who lets himself be inspired by another company’s designs but sues those who imitate his products,” according to the report from Foss Patents.

Samsung’s Sony style theory suggests that the iPhone was not also a result of innovation but by copying some of the designs of Sony Ericsson W950 Walkman Phone and the Sony K800i phone. This argument, however, has already been excluded from the case by judge Grewal.

To counter this and to clear the mind of the jury, Apple brought Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iOS, to the witness stand to narrate how Apple’s premium mobile operating system was conceived and developed. He added that he never directed anyone from his team to copy anything from Samsung.

“I never directed anyone to copy anything from Samsung…We wanted to build something great, and we thought we could build something better than anyone had built. There was no reason to look to them on this,” Forstall said to conclude his testimony at the trial on Friday.

Samsung is just one of the companies Apple is battling in court over patent-related cases. In fact, Apple’s lawyers are to get real busy because there will be four Android-related patent trials within this month. Reports also suggest that the company is already preparing to sue Samsung over patents infringed by Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Nexus devices.

But despite all these, both companies haven’t lost sight of the real competition in the market. Recent reports say Samsung Galaxy Note II may be released earlier than iPhone 5.

Samsung SUED! Not By Apple This Time, But By Top Olympic Athletes

What do Mark Spitz, Greg Louganis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Janet Evans and Jason Lezak have in common? Other than being some of the best Olympic athletes in the United States of America they are also all suing Samsung for infringing on their publicity rights with their “Samsung Olympic Genome Project”. The Samsung game brings attention to the forthcoming 2012 Olympics and plays a “six degrees of separation” game showing how Facebook users are connected to Olympians.

In addition to the Olympans  named above there are 13 more also tied to the suit. They allege that Samsung has violated California Civil Code Section 3344, which makes it unlawful to use without consent another’s name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness for commercial purpose.

Facebook apps are no stranger to this civil code. Apps like Friend Finder and Sponsored Stories have also been hit with suits pertaining to this law.

More after the break

Samsung Nixes Plan For Android 4.0 Featured Value Pack

Right before Christmas,  Elijah wrote a story that ruffled some feathers of legacy Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab (the 7″ froyo/gingerbread variety) users. It was originally reported at that time that Samsung would not upgrade those devices to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

After those reports circulated the interwebs faster than release dates for the Galaxy Nexus, Samsung had said that they will look into releasing a “Value Pack” update bringing some of the more relevant features in Ice Cream Sandwich to the Samsung Galaxy S and original Galaxy Tab.

More after the break

C-Spire Updates Motorola Milestone X and Samsung Galaxy S To Gingerbread

photo: TDGLLC 2011

Good news for C-Spire Wireless (Cellularsouth) customers today as two of their flagship Android devices have been updated to Android 2.3, Gingerbread.

The Motorola Milestone X (Droid X) and the Samsung Galaxy S (original) have both received updates to Android 2.3.

The Samsung Galaxy S update is ready in the kies desktop program for users to manually update to the latest version of Android.  The Motorola Milestone X on the other hand can find their update in settings, phone, updates, and have it download directly to the phone.

Both phones are brought up to the current (latest) version of Android which is Gingerbread, of course in a matter of weeks they’ll be behind a version when Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is released. Neither Motorola or Samsung have said which phones will be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich.

In addition to Gingerbread C-Spire says the updates will bring

  • Improved battery performance
  • Improved IMAP/POP3 e-mail performance
  • Improved account and contact sync performance (like Facebook)
  • MMS size increased from 512KB to 1MB

Source: Android Central 1, 2