They never did come back into fashion. Back in 2013 I wrote an article about the possible return of phones with real keyboards. I even gave a picture of the last phone I had with one:
Does that look like an antique or what?
But hey, as recently as three years ago people thought they might come back. After all, tablets with keyboards and pens have come back bigtime. I wouldn’t have guessed that, but now it seems like it makes sense. In fact I’m kind of pining for a mouse that works with my iPad so I can actually use it like a real computer and ditch my travel laptop.
But smartphones with physical keyboards… that didn’t fly four years ago and there’s certainly very little chance of it flying now. I’m good with that, frankly. I can hook up a bluetooth keyboard to my phone if I’m feeling ornery but more often than not I’ll just rely on my phone’s excellent predictive text and voice recognition. That’s what really killed those tiny physical keyboard, which, as I pointed out in 2013, were never really as good as you remember anyway.