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HTC preps candybar phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard

Libra's balancing act

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Smart-phone maker HTC and carrier partner UTStarcom this week took the wraps off a handset, codenamed 'Libra', that attempts to balance the need for a QWERTY keyboard with the space restrictions inherent in the candybar phone form-factor.

htc libra smart phone

The Windows Mobile-based device is equipped with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard reminiscent of the one on HTC's TyTN handset, but whereas that machine looks like a traditional PDA when the keyboard's closed, Libra presents the standard phone alphanumeric pad. That's allowed HTC to drop separate numeric keys from the Libra's QWERTY layout, which also means the key layout contains only three rows rather than four. So it's narrower and better suited to candybar dimensions.

According to a Phonescoop report, the Libra is set to ship in the US in Q1 2007 with EVDO Rev A support on board, with a GSM - and UMTS? - version following later in the year. ®

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