This article was originally published on November 15th, 2013. We have revived it today in light of BlackBerry's declaration that it's getting out of the business of designing and building its own phones. As the last holdout to favor physical keyboards on smart mobile devices, BlackBerry's outsourcing move today marks one of the final milestones in the demise of the physical keyboard. So here, once more, is a salute to this now historic input device.

I bought a Droid 4 twenty-one months ago.

As a devout user of physical QWERTY keyboards, I'm pretty sure I'm screwed.

My two-year contract expires in just three more months, but I don't know if my phone will make it. I touch-type all my interviews into my Droid, but it’s simply not reliable anymore. There isn't a day that goes by without some app experiencing crippling slowdown. The phone just can't seem to hold a charge. And it's not like I can just go out and upgrade, even if I had the cash: there isn't a single desirable smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the horizon. Over the last few months, Motorola announced the Moto X, the Droid Ultra, the Droid Maxx, and the Droid Mini, but there was no Droid 5 to be had.

Isn't it strange how all the high-end smartphones with keyboards have up and disappeared?

Recently, I met Doug Kaufman, manager of handset strategy for Sprint. He had a story to share.