By now, there is only one phone design that is known to “work,” and everything else is seen to be an experiment or an exercise in failure. Once upon a time, however, there was both beauty and chaos in diversity, with a new phone shape coming out almost every month or so (yes, we’re looking at you, old Nokia!). Although the age of smartphones has made the screen-only “candy bar” form factor the sole victor, there was one design, in particular, that almost stood the test of time. That would be BlackBerry’s QWERTY phones, a design that is perhaps forever associated with being “work-minded” more than anything else. The brand might be dead, but that design continues to spark some people’s imaginations and desires, as shown by this rather adorable take on that form factor that may never come to be.
The history of mobile phones is almost a beautiful testament to the amazing power of the human brain to adapt. Even with a T9 keypad that was really designed for landlines, people have developed the ability to rapidly hammer out text on just 12 keys. That said, it was the introduction of a full but miniaturized keyboard that made BlackBerry devices the go-to for more business-minded people. That and the company’s much-praised suite of services, including the once might BBM or BlackBerry Messenger.
The history of that company and the brand has now become legend, but the interest in QWERTY phones, as they are called, apparently lives on. CrackBerry shared an exclusive look at one such attempt that almost revived that design, though its fate still hangs in the balance. The Punkt MC01 Legend, from a Swiss company famed for its minimalist phones, took that QWERTY idea and gave it a more modern spin that honestly deserves a chance in the market.
Compared to the last traces of BlackBerry’s QWERTY phones, the MC01 Legend has the makings of a more ergonomic and distinctly minimal design. The keys are better spaced apart for more comfortable thumb typing, and the back isn’t completely flat but rises and falls to create an angled surface that makes it easier to grip the phone while typing. Admittedly, that does make the device thicker than even the thickest phone, but it chooses to optimize for what it does best rather than look good simply for the sake of appearance.
Unfortunately, the MC01 Legend might never come to be, though Punkt hasn’t completely taken it off the table. There have been roadblocks to the device’s deployment, most of which revolved around Android being deemed unfit for both the uncommon 4:3 screen size and the company’s hardline stance on privacy. Either way, the design is definitely striking and a tiny bit adorable, especially if you’re the kind of phone user that types out messages, emails, and texts more than you watch Netflix or play Genshin Impact.