Those of you lamenting the public demise of the Motorola Q9n "Napolean" may have something to live for after all. CNET's German cousin (translated) has gotten a hands on with the HTC Maple, aka the 3G Excalibure, which first appeared in that leaked HTC roadmap and for all U.S. intents and purposes would be a long-awaited sequel to the T-Mobile Dash.
We'll join Engadget in saying that the Maple has what at least looks to be a downright drool-worthy keyboard, which looks like it could make thumb typing even easier when you're hauling butt through an airport terminal. There's also a trackball, a la the BlackBerry Bold, to maneuver through the non-touchscreen device.
But we'll also join Dieter (in the latest WMExperts podcast) in saying that while we love our productivity monsters, we've gotta get some more pixels into the thing. (Speaking of pixels, CNET's back shot of the phone shows a 2MP camera. Let's hope that gets increased prior to launch. Also, we'd expect that home button to become a Windows flag.)
HTC also is introducing its "Inner Circle" feature with the Maple, which basically would categorize and prioritize information from various sources.
The Inner Circle feature called News summarizes a certain selection of people together - to busy working and do not interfere with private e-mails. On the evening and on weekends, on the other hand, the circle of the elect only from family and friends.
When and where we might actually see the Maple is anyone's guess. But we can bet there are more than a few WinMo Standard lovers waitng on this one with bated breath. Hit up the CNET post for more pictures of the Maple, as well as a quick video, in German, of course.