The Windows Phone ecosystem is often criticised for the lack of variety in its hardware; the specs of first- and second-generation devices have been broadly similar regardless of manufacturer, while the majority of devices don’t deviate from a touchscreen-only form factor. Dell’s Venue Pro and LG’s Quantum (also known as the Optimus 7Q and C900) deviated from the norm with their portrait and landscape (respectively) sliding keyboards, but these have proved to be the exception rather than the rule.
According to a report from Russia’s Acer Club, a new handset with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard is in development by Acer. Called the W11, it’s expected to target the lower end of the market when it arrives in October, following a September announcement.
Here's one they made earlier: the M900 was an Acer slider with Windows Mobile 6.1 on board.
Its expected arrival date would appear to support the claim that the device will have Windows Phone 8 on board. Back in February, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore revealed in an internal company video that the new version of the mobile OS – also known by its codename, Apollo – will enable manufacturers to create more diverse hardware offerings, so we remain hopeful that ‘alternative’ form factors like QWERTY sliders will become more commonplace when Windows Phone 8 arrives later this year.
Acer’s first Windows Phone handset, the budget-friendly Allegro, went on sale earlier this year. The company previously released a QWERTY slider, the M900, with a Microsoft mobile OS on board – although that was back in 2009, and the OS was the gone-and-not-missed Windows Mobile 6.1.