The Unihertz Titan Slim, the only phone with a physical keyboard announced this year, looks like it has some fans.
A day after its Kickstarter went live, the project has sold $450,000-worth of Android devices to more than 1,800 customers, according to the Kickstarter page(Opens in a new window). That’s about 1,800 phones at roughly $248 per handset, and the campaign still has 28 days left.
In terms of a Kickstarter project, that’s already on the way to huge. In terms of a mainstream smartphone, it’s nothing. Most smartphone manufacturers won’t get out of bed for fewer than 50,000 units, but Unihertz has made a business out of single-digit-million presales to 3,000 or so backers. And, of course, the campaign is still going, and it’ll end up transitioning to regular retail sale.
We don’t normally cover Kickstarter campaigns, but Unihertz’s products are unlike most Kickstarter projects. The company uses Kickstarter as a pre-sale platform once it has financing and manufacturing already secured. Unihertz’s general average of 3,000 backers is similar to the successful Light Phone(Opens in a new window)and considerably more than Teracube(Opens in a new window).
We did a full preview of the Titan Slim before it launched. The Slim is a low-cost phone with a basic processor and no 5G, but it has a physical keyboard and it’s affordable. On an associated Facebook group, that approach has brought mixed reviews, with some users appreciating the Slim’s affordability and others lamenting that Unihertz should have chosen higher-end components.
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Physical keyboard fans have had little to cheer for during the past few years, as BlackBerry licensed OnwardMobility never produced a phone and then lost its license. Only Unihertz still keeps the faith with QWERTY, but the Titan Slim’s “success” shows why other manufacturers aren’t re-entering the physical keyboard market. Tens of thousands of phones can make tens of thousands of people happy, but that’s nowhere near the scale major phone makers and their bosses are looking for.
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