Physical buttons FTW!
As a totally blind person, the virtual keys of an On Screen Keyboard are the absolute *worst* idea ever. How are we supposed to find something we can't see? That there's no haptic feedback to let us know we've even touched a "button" at all? Much less that it was the RIGHT button, or that the phone has accepted us having pushed it? A physical button, especially one as described in the article, is easy to find without having to see it, easy to push, you know you've pushed it when the button clicks at the end of it's travel, and the phone acknowledges the push with a beep (DTMF) tone appropriate & distinctive to the button just pressed.
I currently use a Samsung Haven because it's one of the few Basic (not even "Feature" and sure as hell not "Smart") phones that has the ability to read the screen to me. I know what Menu I'm on, what Option I'm on, what keys I'm pressing, the results of that press, and it reads aloud text messages, both incoming & the ones I'm typing. It cost $40 nearly 5 years ago, and it takes a ~$400 "SmartPhone" to do the same yet inferior job? That's not progress, that's bullshit.
And you don't have to be totally blind to need such functionality either. Anyone with motive degeneration, such as Parkinson's or Muscular Distrophy, needs physical buttons in order to have the tactile feedback to aim for. Anyone with any degree of visual impairment, such as Macular Degeneration or "Old Eyes" will appreciate having a phone that reads aloud what they may no longer be able to see all that clearly. And if a SmartPhone has a zillion fiddlybits that we can't use (camera, playing flash games, displaying slideshows of pitctures, synching to "The Cloud" for services we don't need, etc) then why should we be forced to PAY for one that does, just to get the features we need?
If my 5 year old $40 Basic Phone could do all this, then why is it so bloody hard to find a current one that can do the same? Has the world solved Disabilities & thus made such functionality unnecessary? No? Then such phones are still needed, and the ~300Million folks around the world that "only" suffer from vision impairments might appreciate having a phone that can allow them to USE the fekking thing.
So Kudos to the company for knowing that "old folks" (anyone with less than perfect motor skills, audio or visual acquity) just MIGHT want a phone that Just Works and doesn't make their lives hell with a metric fekton of "apps" that are as about as usefull as porn to the Pope.