Omio attended today’s launch of the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 handsets, where we got to ask Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, a question during the Q&A – which followed the press conference.
We asked the very last question, before the event closed. This was “Will Nokia ever be putting a QWERTY keyboard based Windows Phone 8 [device] on the market?”
The Finnish outfit has a good history of producing mobile phones of this nature, dating back as far as 1996 – with the Nokia 9000 Communicator.
Following that were a number of similar keyboard-based devices within this range, and BlackBerry-esque products.
This hasn’t been explored in the latest lineup, where the last venture down this route was the Symbian E7 from 2011.
The response was as follows – “We haven’t made any announcements in that space”
“We have observed, a worldwide phenomenon, the interest in QWERTY based devices is very clearly on a decline”
“We are the, if not the, largest manufacturer of QWERTY based devices – particularly in the low end, where countries like Indonesia and the Philippines heavily use it for messaging”
“Even in those countries, the shift to touch devices is happening very rapidly”
“It is an opportunity for us, but relative to other opportunities we haven’t yet made a decision”
That isn’t an outright no, so we could see a keyboard Windows Phone 8 handset: watch this space.