Keyboards

Discussion in 'Smartphones' started by LandSurveyor, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I was just having a conversation with a friend yesterday. She has a Blackberry and is thinking of getting a Droid 3.

    She likes the D3 because, even though she likes touchscreens, she isn't willing to give up a physical keyboard. You can put that down to wanting at least a transition from what she's comfortable with but I think it's the right choice, whether she realizes why or not.

    I use a touchscreen-only device myself now so I know why.

    I don't believe it's possible for anything but a huge touchscreen to come anywhere near the usability of a physical keyboard.

    I'd like some tablet users to weigh in here.

    In any case, haptic feedback just lets you know that you "pressed" some "key." It doesn't help you know you hit the right one at all. When I type on a full-sized computer keyboard, more often than not, I realize I typo'd before I see it on the monitor. With touchscreens, you have no way to register.

    Even though they will necessarily have to be small, I would hate to see physical keyboards disappear from smartphones and, in fact, would like to see more models with improved keyboards, like a Droid Pro with a dedicated number row.
  2. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta boldly battling the XenForo-ces {squeek!!}

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    I'm somewhat fortunate in that the way I've been entering text on my TX, MessagEase, is available for the Android phones (as well as WinMo and iPhones). There is a bit of a learning curve (as there would be if you were to switch to a Dvorak-layout kb for your desktop) for new users, but I'm very accustomed to how it works -- my only complaint is that I've lost all my Shortcut5 shortcuts from the TX, as there isn't anything comparable for Android.

    EDIT: linky here
  3. Hook

    Hook Hookette's edgy lately

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    There is a big personal preference issue here as well as what you can or are motivated to adapt to.

    I find BlackBerry keyboards unusable. I rarely type anything more on my BlackBerry than "I'll get back to you." Most often, I don't reply.

    I find my Android Gingerbread touchscreen portrait keyboard quite easy to use and can type pretty well and accurately on it. I've actulally pretty much stopped using grafitti.
  4. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    Surprisingly, despite having used a Droid for 18 months, I'm not super attached to a physical keyboard. I go back and forth about this, but I think my next phone will be an all touchscreen. I can flip between them with ease, and find that it's often faster to just type on the screen over futzing with the slideout kb.
  5. Mi An

    Mi An Endogame

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    I posted the other day on mobileread that I'd love to see a real keyboard addon for kb-less phones, as my dreams of a TP3 w/ Android dim. Instead of needing separate models for kb users, you'd remove the battery cover, clip on a keyboard battery cover that would piggyback off the device battery and communicate by physical connection, not wireless. It'd be better for manufacturers (fewer models to market) and users, who wouldn't have to replace the whole device if one little widget stopped working, and could pick from multiple keyboard designs for the same device. Imagine being able to trick out a Nexus X w/ a BB/Treo portrait slider, a 3 line landscape slider, an xperia play controller slide out, a tilting 5 liner or even something like the alias with eink keys that can accommodate many different uses (including those weirdo dvorak folks 0.o ;)) in the same board. One phone w/o the one-size-fits-none syndrome.

    This does not surprise me. I've heard people rave about BB/Treo kbs and do 40wpm on them (I hate the form factor), I can imagine a user that would find the 3 line nokia n97/mini attractive (I'd never want 3 lines myself), but the droid board just strikes me as the worst of all worlds, combining the cramped nature of the portrait board with a landscape orientation that requires more finger travel without adding (and possibly even subtracting) depth and key differentiation. That was my first instinct on seeing it, and considering the way the board has evolved over the last two models, I think Motorola agrees.

    Of course, like Hook says, it's a strong matter of taste and motivation as well. Some people are going to take to touchscreen boards and never desire even a well built physical keyboard, especially since the well built ones add such bulk. Others will perform better with a maddening dumbphone numberpad than I do with my ideal setup.
  6. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    All you've said rings true. Individual preference does have a lot to do with it.

    But there are a lot of variables separating our different experiences and I'm just as much a prisoner of my own perspective as anybody.

    When I hear or read that people have taken a liking to touchscreens, I always wonder how much text they're entering.

    I see that people adapt to touchscreens but I don't often hear that they consider them an improvement. And when I do, it's in comparison with a much less than ideal physical keyboard (because really, no small keyboard can be ideal).

    Does the biggest landscape touchscreen keyboard available work better than a physical keyboard of about the same size, such as a slider? Forget for the moment the disinclination to deploy said keyboard, just concentrate on actually using it.

    As far as usability is concerned, I think that for me, an oversized, portrait oriented device with a full (includes dedicated number row) keyboard, with no annoyingly misplaced keys, combined with a screen at least 3" diagonally, would work just fine. This would be about a quick to use as I can think of, especially with a keyboard/touchscreen lock button. Even my favorite, a clamshell (think LG Genesis) would take a back seat as it has to be unfolded to use.
  7. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    Mi An, wasn't there an LG featurephone that had that concept? You could pop different add-ons from keyboard to gamepads on it.

    Honestly, for what you need, I almost think you'd be better off springing for a small BT keyboard and pairing it with a touchscreen phone when necessary. Or a 7in tablet, but it depends on how much you want to carry.
  8. Mi An

    Mi An Endogame

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    I'd rather hold on to my TP2 than go that route. Battery life is still important to me, and I don't want two of them to attend to. Portability and access are important too. Even a clipon BT thumb-board would annoy me (for the same reason I used my manufacturer-designed magnet shades, but when I lost those, I didn't use the adjustable 3rd party clipon I bought at walmart). I am that picky. ;) I do plan on having a tablet/keyboard combo someday, but not as a smartphone kb replacement, more as a netbook replacement. Thanks, hadn't heard of the LG thing, but I'll google for it. Maybe I can harass them into bringing the feature to android.
  9. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    I think LS is right. Most comments are pitched to the idea that on-screen keyboards can be 'almost as good' or 'acclimated to;' instead of described as outright better. One comment I remember from a while ago on BH was that even with a good on-screen keyboard, it obscures much of the screen real estate, even on large-screen phones. OTOH, I think Graffiti for Android might be a very good solution, if the touchscreen is sensitive and accurate.
  10. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I could probably use Graffiti on the Imagio, assuming such exists for a WM6.5 machine but I've become fairly adept at punching "keys" with the stylus (Imagio has resistive screen) which at least obscures less screen than my fat fingers.

    Oddly enough the Imagio's screen is fairly sensitive to fingers but the "keys" are still too small.
  11. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    My TP2 used to have Transcriber as an input option, but I don't see it anymore. I can read about it in the onboard Help file, but don't see any means to turn it on. "Transcriber is a handwriting recognition program that allows you to write in cursive, print, or a combination of both. Transcriber works transparently in the background of programs, recognizing words with its integrated dictionary. When Transcriber is turned on, it interprets stylus movement anywhere on the screen as handwriting input." Instructions for starting Transcriber:

    1. Start a program such as Word Mobile.
    2. Tap the Input Panel icon at the bottom center of the screen and tap the Input Selector arrow.
    3. Tap Transcriber.

    :confused: :mad: :confused:

    EDIT: How to Use Transcriber in Windows Mobile
  12. Hook

    Hook Hookette's edgy lately

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    Okay, I'll say it, although I thought I had. My onscreen portrait keyboard is infinitely superior to my BlackBerry Bold hard keyboard, which I find worthless. On my Nexus, I type out emails and even write paragraphs at a time. I wouldn't think of doing that on my BlackBerry.

    I can't address Horizontal sliders. Never had one. and I rarely ever use my Nexus One in landscape, except for the Apple BT keyboard, which I rarely use because, if I'm going to haul that around, I'll just use my Neo. :)
  13. brickman65

    brickman65 It's a state of mind..

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    Well....my youngest son has sent 10K text messages in a single month before with his iP4. Sounds like a lot to me.;) I personally only send about 500-700 per month along with who knows how many emails, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Notes, Memos, Contacts, Calendar Dates, etc., etc., etc.

    I am with Hook on this one. Although I have never own a BB. I have had several Treos. I MUCH prefer the Keyboard of my iP4 than any thing I have ever had.

    And Graffiti?? Really???:confused: :confused: I hated Garffiti when it was my only option!

    Funny story. I spent the night with my brother last night while traveling in Birmingham. We were "geeking" out with our phones after his kids went to bed. I picked up his BB to dial a phone # and had to hand it back to him! I swear I could not even dial a phone # on his BB!:eek: Sad I know.:eek:
  14. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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  15. KSD

    KSD From 6 f under to zombie

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    i just looked at the moto photon and the pentile display to me is kinda annoying but my wife didn't notice until i showed her...worth looking at first
  16. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    I've pounded out countless texts and long emails on a touchscreen with zero problems. Written many posts on the fly for Gear Diary that way too.

    I think most of the people who are extremely dismissive of touchscreen keyboards have not tried them for any length of time (5 minutes in best buy is not the same as using it for a month) and/or are used to resistive touchscreens, where the keyboard input is far more frustrating.

    I will also say that out of all the virtual keyboards I've tried, the default android one is the worst, hands down. Swype and Better Keyboard are MUCH better. On iOS, the iPhone keyboard has a slight learning curve (I'd say for most people it's a day or two, no more than a week tops) and then you're banging away happily. It's different to use a virtual keyboard but once you get used to the light touch and smooth response it's really hard to go back to pushing physical phone buttons.
  17. Hook

    Hook Hookette's edgy lately

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    In my opinion, it depends on which default android one we are talking about. I agree with you up through Froyo. However, the default Gingerbread keyboard is so good, in my experience, I never reinstalled Swype (Got tired of having to reinstall everytime I changed OS version, which started happening more rapidly once I was rooted ;)). I find it excellent, unless it's because CM made some modification to it.
  18. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

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    My dad has a MotoROI and the side slider keyboard is pretty much in mint condition. He never got used to it. The on-screen keyboard is loathable in his opinion. So what does he use? Graffiti for Android, and he jots pretty fast.

    My elder sister has a BB Storm 2, no physical keyboard at all, and she already got used to it. It's far from ideal, but she's not into tweaking, so she won't allow me to search for a replacement app.

    My younger sister has a Nokia with touchscreen, but it's a big featurephone, not a smartphone. She's not into smartphones. With the usual featurephone keyboard configuration, 123 ABC, she types fast as hell.

    I'm still into a Treo 680 and wondering what's gonna be with my life when I finally have to give it up. I input on a Graffiti 90% / physical keyboard 10 % ratio. The on-screen keyboard is one of the things I have used less on this Earth. The Treo keyboard is one of the best mobile keyboard designs ever. Good key size, good key-to-key spacing, perceptible key click, good overall density. Even sausage fingers can deal with it easily. Ah, and I also use a Palm UWK.

    BTW I just replaced the screen protector and geez I discovered my device is not monochrome :D I think I gotta be less a cheap-o and replace them more often. In my Zire 21 there was a screen protector that I forced through more than a year of intensive use. Of course when I removed it, it looked and felt like a little napkin.
  19. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    True, and something I forgot about (I only use gingerbread on my NOOKcolor, and I attributed the positive experience to the bigger screen). I use the Froyo keyboard despite how crappy it is because on an aging Droid it's less resource intensive than a 3rd-party add-on.

    Still, I like using even the Froyo KB over the hard kb for many things, and when I was using the Pixi more I really missed having a collapsible KB. A fixed KB is helpful if you ONLY do email, but for everything else it's a huge pain since it takes up valuable space that could be used to interact with a bigger screen (IMO, of course, but if you're planning on browsing the web, reading a book, etc., more screen is generally better.)
  20. Radon222

    Radon222 Mobile Enthusiast

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