Sony's new Clie UX50 PDA (pictured at right) has Ed Hardy over at Brighthand wishing that Microsoft would make it easier/possible for manufacturers to make a clamshell Pocket PC with a built-in keyboard.
The first thing Microsoft should do is add landscape support to Pocket PC and make it easy for developers to create software than can run in either portrait or landscape. The goal would be to give the new clamshell models access to the huge amounts of already-available Pocket PC applications. The clamshell Pocket PCs are going to fit somewhere between tablet-shaped handhelds and full laptops. To succeed, they will need to have advantages over the other two options. Their primary advantage over current Pocket PCs would be a built-in keyboard. While long-time handheld users are familiar with the current methods of text entry — like Calligrapher or Block Recognizer — these are a bit frightening to new users, and even many experienced users would prefer a keyboard. However, for a clamshell Pocket PC to succeed, it needs a well-designed keyboard that is significantly better than the Pocket PC's current options.