Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Nov 2013 22:50 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

I bought a Droid 4 twenty-one months ago.

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

Great article by Sean Hollister on the demise of the QWERTY slider. In the article, Hollister speaks with Doug Kaufman, manager of handset strategy for Sprint, and his revelations are intriguing - it's not so much that people do not want hardware keyboards; it's that people want iconic, flagship phones - like the S4, like the 5S - with huge marketing pushes. Since nobody is pushing a flagship QWERTY slider... Nobody buys them. However, when you ask consumers what they want, physical keyboards are very, very popular.

And so, Kaufman admits: if there was an HTC One or Galaxy S4, a top-of-the-line phone, but with a keyboard - it would sell.

Order by: Score:
Take it or leave it
by Morgan on Fri 15th Nov 2013 22:59 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I used to insist on a physical keyboard, going all the way back to the Treo 650. My first phone without one was an iPhone, and I detested the on screen keyboard. After that I went back and forth between three form factors: Blackberry portrait keyboards, slider or flip landscape boards, and touchscreen only phones. Nowadays I find I'm just as fast and (with good software correction) accurate with a touchscreen.

As for my wife, well...you can pry her landscape slider from her cold dead hands. I don't look forward to the day when her phone finally dies and we have to hunt the ends of the earth for a decent qwerty smartphone.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Take it or leave it
by Kochise on Sat 16th Nov 2013 07:46 UTC in reply to "Take it or leave it"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

You can buy her already a spare replacement phone, in case of...

Otherwise, buddies :

http://dx.com/c/cell-phone-599/keyboards-514
http://www.usr.com/products/tablet/tablet-product.asp?sku=USR5502

I have such a keyboard, it's 4" wide and fits exactly my phone form factor (HTC Evo 3D) so I can keep it in the same housing.

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Take it or leave it
by Morgan on Sat 16th Nov 2013 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Take it or leave it"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You can buy her already a spare replacement phone, in case of...



The only problem with that is, she is using a Kyocera Rise on Sprint. While the phone was basically free on contract ($50 with a $50 rebate that we actually got), a replacement off-contract is over $300...for a low end device! Virgin Mobile carries a prepaid version of the same phone for under $100, but I've already asked about converting it to Sprint and both companies say "no way".

I may be able to find a used Motorola Photon slider cheaply enough to make it worth it. Or we may move her to a GSM carrier once her contract is up, and once again search high and low for a reasonably modern slider.

Basically, the concept of physical keyboards on phones is a Dodo at this point.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Take it or leave it
by mistersoft on Sun 17th Nov 2013 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Take it or leave it"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

Basically, the concept of physical keyboards on phones is a Dodo at this point.


Think that's probably true for better or worse.

Detachable keyboards or BT keyboards (that are better integrated) are prob more likely to continued to coexist, and evolve even.

Not that I'm a windows man, but if win phones had mini "touch covers" and "type covers"

I might could contemplate going for that we're it present on a next gen of the Lumia 1020.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Take it or leave it
by FreeGamer on Sat 16th Nov 2013 14:32 UTC in reply to "Take it or leave it"
FreeGamer Member since:
2007-04-13

You don't have to hunt.

http://neo900.org/

Why not donate to make sure it gets made?

"Your donation will also serve as a rebate for a finished device."

Edited 2013-11-16 14:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Take it or leave it
by Morgan on Sat 16th Nov 2013 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Take it or leave it"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I have an N900, and she likes the form factor but not the interface. It will need to be Android or Windows Phone. I do still have my HTC Arrive but it's pretty beat up, as I used it for nearly two years. It will serve as an emergency backup until we can find something better.

Reply Score: 2

dvorak
by andih on Fri 15th Nov 2013 23:15 UTC
andih
Member since:
2010-03-27

Have not found anything that come close to the magic of dvorak on a mechanical keyboard. Never going querty again.

(dvorak is a lot lot faster and easier on fingers/hands)

Reply Score: 2

RE: dvorak
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 15th Nov 2013 23:25 UTC in reply to "dvorak"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Ha, that's my new hipster phone demand: Must have dvorak keyboard. There is one dvorak keyboard I found in the play store, but it looked terrible. A slight modification from the old gingerbread or eclair keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

RE: dvorak
by No it isnt on Sat 16th Nov 2013 12:58 UTC in reply to "dvorak"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

AFAIK, there's only negligible documented effect of switching to Dvorak.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: dvorak
by andih on Sun 17th Nov 2013 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE: dvorak"
andih Member since:
2010-03-27

AFAIK, there's only negligible documented effect of switching to Dvorak.


LOL? Sais who?!?
I use dvorak. And the difference is *huge*. Trust me, I used querty some years ago. Dvorak is a lot faster, feels better for fingers, and hands.

If you use just a couple of fingers, and don't type touch correctly, it will not have big effect..

as on most phones ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: dvorak
by kwan_e on Sun 17th Nov 2013 03:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: dvorak"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"AFAIK, there's only negligible documented effect of switching to Dvorak.


LOL? Sais who?!?
I use dvorak. And the difference is *huge*. Trust me, I used querty some years ago. Dvorak is a lot faster, feels better for fingers, and hands.

If you use just a couple of fingers, and don't type touch correctly, it will not have big effect..

as on most phones ;)
"

There's a reason why scientific research uses at least double blind testing.

"Trust me because I think it feels better" is not a reliable argument. You are likely to have taken more effort to learn Dvorak touch typing and/or downplayed the effect of doing something new and different and/or overestimated your skill on QWERTY and/or <many other factors>.

For me, my performance on QWERTY improved simply by buying an IBM Model M based mechanical keyboard. And I had teachers of "computing classes" that actually thought touch typing was what computers were about, so I was made to get good at touch typing on QWERTY.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: dvorak
by marianne on Tue 19th Nov 2013 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: dvorak"
marianne Member since:
2013-11-19

Obviously anecdotal "evidence" isn't evidence at all... though I will say that personally, when I switched to Dvorak the thing I really noticed was the comfort of it. I don't think my typing speed has increased much, if at all, but I used to get really bad pain in my hands and wrists if I spent too long typing and after switching I don't get that anymore, which is why I won't switch back. Again, totally anecdotal and not empirical, maybe whatever was causing my hand pain coincidentally disappeared just as I switched, or maybe being forced to spend a few weeks typing at a lower speed as I relearnt the layout gave my hands enough of a rest to solve the issue (although years later my hands are still fine), but I do think there's good reason for studies to be done which are centred around Dvorak's possible benefits in terms of lessening or preventing RSI type issues (rather than focusing on possible typing speed improvements).

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: dvorak
by kwan_e on Tue 19th Nov 2013 12:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: dvorak"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I don't discount your personal experience, and I would recommend people try different things. Some people find switching to mechanical keyboards better, because they don't have to thump the keys down to make sure the keypress registers, which is another way to combat RSI.

And for sure, some common key sequences are difficult to type properly that causes some people to strain to get to them which may be completely fine with a Dvorak, but that may only need a change in typing technique on a Qwerty.

For example, even though I was taught proper touch typing where you're supposed to always have your fingers on the home row (thus requiring contortions), I let my hands float all over the keyboard. In much the same way some people (like doctors) hand write with their entire lower arm rather than manoeuvring wrist.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: dvorak
by No it isnt on Sun 17th Nov 2013 12:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: dvorak"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Like I said, the documented effect is negligible. So no, I won't trust you. Fans will be fans, research will be research. And the research says no.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: dvorak
by mightshade on Sun 17th Nov 2013 20:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: dvorak"
mightshade Member since:
2008-11-20

And the research says no.

Which study is that?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: dvorak
by quique on Mon 18th Nov 2013 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: dvorak"
quique Member since:
2005-07-07
RE[6]: dvorak
by mightshade on Wed 20th Nov 2013 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: dvorak"
mightshade Member since:
2008-11-20

While the papers that attributed some advantage to Dvorak were accused of pro-Dvorak bias, that one was similarly criticised as being biased pro-Qwerty.
I'm a bit disappointed of this inconclusive back and forth.

Edited 2013-11-21 00:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

“Faster Dvorak” is a myth
by theosib on Sat 16th Nov 2013 13:56 UTC in reply to "dvorak"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

It couldn’t have been better if the mythbusters busted it. Some years ago, Dvorak was given finally a good, objective analysis. Dvorak is not, in any practical way, faster than Qwerty. Basically, the analysis was that (a) Qwerty is random, which is a close enough approximation to an optimized layout, (b) Dvorak isn’t really all that optimized, (c) people “have heard” that it’s superior because of folklore descended from Dvorak marketing materials, and (d) the people who were way way faster on Dvorak were enthusiasts who would also have had superior performance on Qwerty, because they're just smarter and had way more practice.

This reminds me of all the stuff Paul Graham said about how superior Lisp is. I agree that Lisp’s macros are a very powerful feature. (Pretty amazing when you realize what you can do with it.) But you can do some very similar stuff in C++, Haskell, etc. The primary advantage Paul and his friends had over others was not the language. It was that they were just way better programmers.

It tells you nothing objective about a technology if the only people who get more out of it are the ones who understand it better than everyone else.

It also shows you that smart people are often not introspective enough to realize that it isn’t necessarily the tool that gives them the advantage. Like other human beings, they like to latch on to something external to explain what they observe. People with high IQs often have some surprising blind spots.

Edited 2013-11-16 13:58 UTC

Reply Score: 5

isaba Member since:
2006-12-30

I am not going to ask you for the source, but anyone who has really used it and is really used to it, knows that the Dvorak keyboard is way way faster and easier than the omnipotent, omnipresent qwerty.

Anyway I understand it is almost a useless debate, because nobody cares about the Dvorak. You cannot find, buy or use it normally.

Fortunately there is one exception lately: virtual keyboards.

Going back to the point of the thread, imo physical keyboards are much better for tasks which imply strong use of the keyboard. And for me, that includes a lot of my everyday tasks.

Reply Score: 0

Comment by ddc_
by ddc_ on Fri 15th Nov 2013 23:46 UTC
ddc_
Member since:
2006-12-05

I believe that hardware keyboard on phone is too small to be really effective compared to the touch keyboards. (I use MessagEase, which I'm quite used to and I type using it faster then I did with hardware keyboard.) I am still planning to buy a separate keyboard, as I find myself unable to type long text with touch input without getting extremely distracted, and the onscreen keyboard eats too much of screen real estate in some cases.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ddc_
by Lennie on Sat 16th Nov 2013 23:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by ddc_"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

You know my Nokia 6820 works better for typing than my N900.

On Wikipedia they call the keyboard of the Nokia 6820 a fold-out QWERTY keyboard.

The top row of the N900 is to close to the main part of the phone, I keep bumping my fingers against it.

Funny fact, the N900 is broken. The Nokia 6820 about 9 years old now and is the phone I use every time the latest smartphone I have dies.

Edited 2013-11-16 23:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by ddc_
by Morgan on Sun 17th Nov 2013 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ddc_"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Funny fact, the N900 is broken. The Nokia 6820 about 9 years old now and is the phone I use every time the latest smartphone I have dies.


I had a 6800 series phone back in the day, within about six months the hinges had broken and rendered it useless. In fact, it's what drove me to finally spend the money on a Treo 650, my first smartphone. I'm glad yours has held up over time!

Reply Score: 2

sirspudd
Member since:
2010-10-13

If people truly valued physical keyboards over, say, flat icons and games.

BB10 has a nice browser, great message client and can come paired with a physical keyboard. I am very sad to see them getting entirely abandoned.

They should really license their OS to other vendors. I know it compromises security, but people want an Android alternative and BB10 has the fucking chops.

Reply Score: 5

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

The BB10 with physical keyboard actually sell out faster than they can produce them. They are in trouble because they thought everybody would buy the touchscreen one, since that was what the majority of the market wanted. It just wasn't what people who buy Blackberrys wanted, so they have lots of unsold Z10.

Reply Score: 3

Yes!
by sb56637 on Sat 16th Nov 2013 00:56 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

Please let this article reach the powers that be at Google and Motorola and HTC and Samsung and everyone else.

I speak several obscure languages for which spellcheck dictionaries do not exist and will never exist, and typing these languages on an onscreen keyboard that relies on spellchecking and dictionary-matching to work correctly is far too difficult.

Additionally, onscreen keyboards take up a huge amount of screen real estate, especially in landscape mode. A QWERTY slider phone leaves the entire screen for the document with its supporting interface. Vastly superior in every way.

I don't care if my phone is 0.1" thick, if it has a curved screen, I just don't care. I want to enter text into my phone by typing, not swiping.

Reply Score: 13

RE: Yes!
by The123king on Sat 16th Nov 2013 11:34 UTC in reply to "Yes!"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

That's rubbish. I turn off autocorrect on all y devices and can still type pretty accurately

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Yes!
by theosib on Sat 16th Nov 2013 14:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Yes!"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

Not me. I can’t type accurately on these things with or without autocorrect. I swear to god I’m touching the right place on the screen, and I still get the wrong letter. And this is not specific to just one device. Fat fingers? Bad hand-eye coordination? I don’t know. I type fast on a real keyboard, but I find soft keyboards to be spawn from hell.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by Sodki
by Sodki on Sat 16th Nov 2013 02:48 UTC
Sodki
Member since:
2005-11-10

As with everything, you can have good and bad physical and virtual keyboards. I had a horrible experience with the Nokia E50's physical keyboard, but a marvellous, heavenly experience with the N900's physical experience. On the other hand, the N900's virtual keyboard was poor, while my Nexus 4 virtual keyboard is great.

As a sysadmin, having a physical keyboard is a huge plus, because it gives me a lot of freedom on my work. Also, virtual keyboards consume screen space. On the other hand, physical keyboards make the phone bulkier.

Unfortunately, you can't have the cake and eat it too.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Sodki
by Lennie on Sat 16th Nov 2013 23:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by Sodki"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I don't mind bulkier.

Judging by how many phablets gets sold a lot of other people don't mind it either.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by mutantsushi
by mutantsushi on Sat 16th Nov 2013 06:46 UTC
mutantsushi
Member since:
2006-08-18

I agree with the premise...
Point being, that it needs to be good...
Aiming to make the best slider keyboard ever would be a good place to start.
A large side-benefit of slider keyboard is saving the screen real estate (instead of onscreen keyboard),
even if just to see all the text you are typing that is really nice.
Dealing with an onscreen keyboard is like looking thru a narrow tube,
the newer big resolutions are nice but we (I) still need a decent sized space to take in information
enough so that I feel I am 'supplely' (?) interacting with the application/etc.

The increased space needed for the keyboard is not a big deal IMHO,
everything else is getting smaller/thinner so that 'saved' space can go to the keyboard,
and the increased volume should also be able to fit in some extra battery space or subwoofer speaker ;-).

Small and thin was once worshipped as the be all end all, but big screens seemed to prove that wrong.
Keyboards themselves free up screen space = functinally bigger screen ('net is still very text based)
not to mention the perceived value of the keyboard itself being worthy of the volume for the other reasons people like sliders.

Reply Score: 3

Hand script
by moondevil on Sat 16th Nov 2013 07:58 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

I rather have working real time hand script recognition than keyboards.

A piece of paper does not have a keyboard and that is how tablets and smartphones are better used.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hand script
by shotsman on Sat 16th Nov 2013 08:40 UTC in reply to "Hand script"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

In the words of the famous US Tennis player, 'You can't be Serious'.

People are forgetting how to write. When they do it is often a scrawl that no one can read even them.

Please try harder!

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Hand script
by moondevil on Sat 16th Nov 2013 10:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Hand script"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08
RE[3]: Hand script
by MOS6510 on Sat 16th Nov 2013 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hand script"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's scientifically proven that naked people are taken much less serious than clothed ones. Perhaps the same is true for people looking like cartoon characters. ;-)

People that look like 8 bit game characters from the 80's are always taken serious, I'm sure.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Hand script
by woegjiub on Sat 16th Nov 2013 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hand script"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

The handwriting recognition on the note 3 blows my mind.

I just wish there was a FOSS alternative; if I flash the thing with cyanogenmod, it's goodbye to that feature.

Seems like it'll take quite some time, just like a FOSS alternative to Siri or Google Now - awhile away, if it ever comes.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hand script
by phoenix on Mon 18th Nov 2013 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hand script"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The LG keyboard that came with my Optimus G includes handwriting recognition.

Don't recall exactly how to access it (believe it was a separate key like the voice recorder) as I haven't used the LG ROM in over 6 months. But, I do remember it was very accurate, even for my near-chicken-scratch that doctors would be proud of. I used it exclusively for a couple of weeks.

Now, I find it easier to use the gesture-based typing on the Google keyboard.

However, I would still give my left nut for an Optimus G with a slider keyboard! Or a Nexus with a keyboard. Hell, any phone with a keyboard, a 4-5" screen, and a Snapdragon S4Pro or newer SoC. Or, even just a snap-on keyboard for an Optimus G.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hand script
by woegjiub on Mon 18th Nov 2013 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hand script"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Agreed on wanting a slider; the content is simply too obscured by the onscreen keyboard.

Unfortunately, the only phones that really get slider cases are the iPhone and the Galaxy S - both of which are really too small (IMO).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hand script
by Soulbender on Sun 17th Nov 2013 08:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Hand script"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

When they do it is often a scrawl that no one can read even them.


So you're saying we're all turning into medical doctors?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hand script
by Lennie on Sat 16th Nov 2013 23:56 UTC in reply to "Hand script"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I'm sorry, typing on a good keyboard is still faster than handwriting. Maybe stenography would help though.

There is an advantage to writing, it's pretty much proven you can remember it better if you write it down.

Edited 2013-11-16 23:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hand script
by andih on Sun 17th Nov 2013 01:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Hand script"
andih Member since:
2010-03-27

There is an advantage to writing, it's pretty much proven you can remember it better if you write it down.


When typing on a keyboard I can concentrate on what I'm actually writing about ;) Instead of concentrating on the letters.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Hand script
by kwan_e on Sun 17th Nov 2013 03:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hand script"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

And how much of it do you *remember*? That was the issue there, not how good you think.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Hand script
by Lennie on Sun 17th Nov 2013 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hand script"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

There is something else I noticed in the article:

"and how written communication has become less critical for the smartphone audience. If a picture tells a thousand words, how many can you convey with a Vine or a YouTube clip?"

"There became this interesting tension where people wanted to see information, but they didn't need input as much,"

Basically, the whole Post-PC era where people are more consumers instead of producers.

Basically, most people don't need a keyboard because they don't produce as much. They mostly consume.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hand script
by phoenix on Mon 18th Nov 2013 19:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hand script"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

There is something else I noticed in the article:

"and how written communication has become less critical for the smartphone audience. If a picture tells a thousand words, how many can you convey with a Vine or a YouTube clip?"


I can't stand people who post a youtube clip with nothing more than "omg, so funny" or "you gotta watch this", or even just "". If you can't take the time to write even a simple 1 sentence summary of the video clip, I'm not going to watch it. Why should I waste 1-5 minutes of my life because you are too lazy to spend 10-15 seconds writing a summary blurb?

Reply Score: 3

If you use your phone as a computer...
by Antartica_ on Sat 16th Nov 2013 14:40 UTC
Antartica_
Member since:
2012-12-28

I'm well aware that phones are for calling and sending messages, but having a computer in my pocket... I use it as a computer.

My experience is with the Xperia Pro + CM10 (perhaps when LegacyXperia ports KitKat I will upgrade the OS... for now it works so good that I don't bother).

I use the phone for programming-on-the-go (with vim, no less), ssh to servers, fix scripts... and it's a breeze. I did have to edit the keyboard layout to add some missing characters (ESC, I'm looking at you).

Having a debian chroot where one can compile, test and even launch/test graphical programs (vncserver in the chroot, vnc viewer in Android) has been a real boon -- now I don't have to carry my pandora.

I've had the experience of having to fix a simple script using ssh/vi in a 5" phone... and I don't want to repeat that experience.

But I reckon that people wanting to use phones as portable IT tools are a niche inside a niche.

Reply Score: 4

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

Youd be better off with a tablet IMHO

Reply Score: 3

M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Or an Open Pandora.

Reply Score: 2

Antartica_ Member since:
2012-12-28

Good suggestion.

Already have a pandora. And it is a beautiful little machine, with real linux et al.

I don't mind carrying the pandora if going out for a week-end, but I don't use it so much as to bring it with me every time I'm not in the office/at home. Certainly not if only going out for a walk or to dinner.

But I'm certain to have the phone with me, so to fix those "emergencies" it is ideal.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I'm well aware that phones are for calling and sending messages, but having a computer in my pocket... I use it as a computer.


Exactly! What's the point of having all that computing power ... if you can't use it effectively?

My experience is with the Xperia Pro + CM10 (perhaps when LegacyXperia ports KitKat I will upgrade the OS... for now it works so good that I don't bother).


Loved my Xperia pro! ;) It basically replaced my netbook and almost replaced my laptop. With VX Connectbot installed, it truly was a Unix sysadmin's perfect mobile toolbox. I actually developed calluses on my thumbs from typing on it so much. ;)

The only problem was the single-core SoC just wasn't enough power for anything other than SSH. Kept waiting for a 2013 upgrade to the pro ... which never materialised. ;)

Tried a Motorola Droid4, and the dual-core SoC was an improvement, but the screen resolution was just too low to be really useful.

Tried a Motorola Photon Q which had one of the nicest keyboards I've used on a phone, but it was tied to Sprint and wouldn't work in Canada. ;) Kept waiting for the AT&T version of this phone to be released ... but it never materialised. ;)

Still looking for a good slider keyboard phone, with current hardware specs (Snapdragon S4Pro or better SoC). Hoping one will materialise, but not holding out much hope at this point. ;)

And, there are no keyboard cases for Android phones like there are for iPhones. ;)

I use the phone for programming-on-the-go (with vim, no less), ssh to servers, fix scripts... and it's a breeze. I did have to edit the keyboard layout to add some missing characters (ESC, I'm looking at you).


Install VX Connectbot. It includes a keymap specifically for the Xperia pro, which includes Esc. ;)

I've had the experience of having to fix a simple script using ssh/vi in a 5" phone... and I don't want to repeat that experience.


Ugh! Onscreen keyboards suck for anything other than writing text messages. Portrait keyboards leave lots of vertical space ... but you have no horizontal space, so either every line wraps or the text is so tiny you need binoculars to read it. Horizontal keyboards let you have full 80+ column lines, but you can only get 3-5 onscreen. ;)

But I reckon that people wanting to use phones as portable IT tools are a niche inside a niche.


Niches can still be profitable, though! It's just too bad nobody wants to rule that niche. I was really hoping Google's takeover of Motorola would leave to a Droid5 released around the world. But, no such luck. ;)

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I was really hoping Google's takeover of Motorola would leave to a Droid5 released around the world. But, no such luck. ;)

Moto generally retreated from most markets...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 16th Nov 2013 15:24 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

Don´t put a keyboard on a mobile phone.

It will make it bulkier, heavier, more fragile. And it will still be a crappy keyboard compared to a full-sized real one.

Don´t use your phone as a laptop, that´s what a laptop is for.

A mobile phone should be small, making is easy to carry, hold, put in your pocket.

Put a keyboard on a tablet or make it an option, like the Microsoft Surface. Those devices can have a keyboard with a useable size.

If you really type so much on your phone get a tablet or a laptop. That´s what they´re for.

A tablet is relatively small. You can bring a keyboard or leave it at home. Without the keyboard it´s still easier to type on than on a mobile phone.

Mobile phones have bad battery live. Why waste it even more trying to do too much on it, trying to do stuff on a device that´s not suited for it, even with a keyboard? Bring a tablet and 10 hours+ usage.

Each device has its strengths and weaknesses. By trying to address its weaknesses you also weaken the strengths. A hamer and a screwdriver are both better than a hammer that can also screw. And look less silly too.

I´d prefer to strengthen the strengths of each device.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by lproven on Sat 16th Nov 2013 16:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
lproven Member since:
2006-08-23

I have a more important rule for you.

Do not assume that your preferences are everyone's preferences.

For every single point you make, my personal preference is the exact reverse. Thanks to people like you, I can no longer choose the sort of device I prefer. I really very strongly object to that, and I really very strongly object to opinionated fools who tell me what I want and what I need when they have no idea.

Edited 2013-11-16 16:32 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 16th Nov 2013 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Do not assume my opinion, which I am free to give, has ANY influence on how phone builders build their phones.

I have given an opinion with a motivation without any insults. Your reply is you whining while also insulting me.You add nothing to this discussion. Oh, we should have physical keyboards, because *I* want that. That's a joke.

Sent from my iPhone

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Sat 16th Nov 2013 23:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Well, I am sorry, but I happen to want a H/W keyboard on a phone. It's much more convenient than any on-screen keyboard; on-screen controls are so god damn imprecise, they require you to maintain eye-contact with the device at all times and they eat screen real-estate.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 17th Nov 2013 08:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Eh, so you don't want to look at the screen when typing (meaning you don't see the screen) and complain a virtual keyboard takes up too much of the screen (you'd need to look and see more than when typing blind)?

I can understand people prefer hardware keyboards to virtual ones. But like the article has shown I also think they're just not many of you.

Yes, a virtual keyboard takes up screen estate, but what are you writing that takes so many words? The size and the weight of the physical keyboard remain even when not typing while the virtual one disappears.

A physical keyboard adds to the cost, size weight, fragility and what does it add? An extra keyboard, you'd also have the virtual one.

Most people don't type that much. If you do wouldn't something else than a phone be more convenient? A tablet with a keyboard beats a phone with a physical keyboard. You can detach it and leave it at home if not needed. Or bring it along, it doesn't take up much space.

I just think number of people && typing a lot on a mobile phone == very small number.

There are Bluetooth keyboards and probably very small ones too. They'd type better than a virtual keyboard, probably, but I've never seen anyone use one. Probably because most people can manage fine with the virtual keyboard for their small bursts of text input.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Sun 17th Nov 2013 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Eh, so you don't want to look at the screen when typing (meaning you don't see the screen) and complain a virtual keyboard takes up too much of the screen (you'd need to look and see more than when typing blind)?


For one, when typing on a virtual keyboard you have to pay a lot attention to where you place your fingers because there just is no tactile feedback whatsoever, making it cumbersome. When typing on a H/W keyboard I don't need to pay so much attention to my fingers, meaning that I can devote more of it towards what I'm actually writing.

But like the article has shown I also think they're just not many of you.


I don't know, nor do I claim to know. What I do know, however, is that manufacturers keep on pushing for ever thinner phones and that means they'll scrap H/W keyboards for thinness -- I have no way of accessing their marketing data to know whether it's the people themselves asking for such trade-off or whether it's just the CEOs themselves who believe that thinness is the ultimate end-all-be-all measure of the quality of a phone.

Yes, a virtual keyboard takes up screen estate, but what are you writing that takes so many words?


Depends. I often write long SMS-messages, for example, or I may wish to respond quickly to a forum posting somewhere, or I may need to write up something for later use.

The size and the weight of the physical keyboard remain even when not typing while the virtual one disappears.


Well, I'm not made of spaghetti, I can handle 10 grams more weight.

A physical keyboard adds to the cost, size weight, fragility and what does it add? An extra keyboard, you'd also have the virtual one.


It'd add, you know, a physical keyboard. I do not give a flying f--k about a whopping centimeter or even two more in bulkiness or 10 grams in weight.

Most people don't type that much. If you do wouldn't something else than a phone be more convenient? A tablet with a keyboard beats a phone with a physical keyboard.


No. I carry a phone with me at all times, and it's a lot smaller than a tablet. I don't want to carry both around with me unless I have a specific need and considering the fact that a phone already caters to 99% of my mobile needs I would really just be carrying a tablet along with me for no good reason. Also it'd be just ridiculous to whip out the tablet and a mobile keyboard and settle down somewhere every time I want to write a message.

I just think number of people && typing a lot on a mobile phone == very small number.


You've clearly never met an average teenager.

There are Bluetooth keyboards and probably very small ones too.


How do you hold both a phone and the keyboard and still manage to type with it? That's the obvious reason for why you ain't seeing them anywhere.

Edited 2013-11-17 09:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12


For one, when typing on a virtual keyboard you have to pay a lot attention to where you place your fingers because there just is no tactile feedback whatsoever, making it cumbersome. When typing on a H/W keyboard I don't need to pay so much attention to my fingers, meaning that I can devote more of it towards what I'm actually writing.


True.


I don't know, nor do I claim to know. What I do know, however, is that manufacturers keep on pushing for ever thinner phones and that means they'll scrap H/W keyboards for thinness -- I have no way of accessing their marketing data to know whether it's the people themselves asking for such trade-off or whether it's just the CEOs themselves who believe that thinness is the ultimate end-all-be-all measure of the quality of a phone.


With all phones looking the same now companies seek ways to make their device cooler than the other and they do this with specs, thinness being one of them. Apple made this "important" as they keep stating how thing their products are compared to their previous versions, but it was probably Motorola with the Razor that made thin phones a trend.

I'm an Apple person, but I'd rather have them not make their next iPhone even thinner. Keep it as thin as it is now and increase the battery life. I want to play 3D games for 24 hours and still be able to tweet I'm going to bed AND still have enough juice to wake me up the next day.


Depends. I often write long SMS-messages, for example, or I may wish to respond quickly to a forum posting somewhere, or I may need to write up something for later use.


That's doesn't sound like a lot of text though. To make a reminder you can also use dictation or simply record your voice. I sometimes make notes while driving and not touch or see my phone at all while doing it.


Well, I'm not made of spaghetti, I can handle 10 grams more weight.


I used to have a Nokia E90. If I put it in my trousers people thought I was a very happy man, if I put it in my jacket it would pull it down on one side.


It'd add, you know, a physical keyboard. I do not give a flying fuck about a whopping centimeter or even two more in bulkiness or 10 grams in weight.


Most people don't want this. My personally I'd rather add 10 grams and increased size to have a bigger battery.


No. I carry a phone with me at all times, and it's a lot smaller than a tablet. I don't want to carry both around with me unless I have a specific need and considering the fact that a phone already caters to 99% of my mobile needs I would really just be carrying a tablet along with me for no good reason.


I don't carry a tablet around unless I was planning to use it, but my phone handles most things even if a tablet or laptop would be better at certain times. I just don't think the time you do a lot of typing is that much compared to the time you don't. The few times you do it's more convenient to handle lesser convenience than to have a more expensive bulkier heavier phone all the time.


You've clearly never met an average teenager.


They're remarkable fast touch screen typists.


How do you hold both a phone and the keyboard and still manage to type with it? That's the obvious reason for why you ain't seeing them anywhere.


You sit down, just like you would with a tablet + keyboard or a laptop. I used to have a PocketPC with Bluetooth keyboard. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but it was more convenient to use the stylus to type if only because you needed it anyway after you were done typing.

Look, I'm not saying physical keyboards are bad or you are doing things wrong. I just don't think all the benefits of a keyboard outweigh the downsides and that a virtual keyboard, while less good, is good enough to be a replacement.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

That's doesn't sound like a lot of text though. To make a reminder you can also use dictation or simply record your voice. I sometimes make notes while driving and not touch or see my phone at all while doing it.


I'm not aware of a single voice recognition - based assistant for Android that can handle Finnish and even if I did I don't want to talk out loud all my messages publicly. I've wanted a good assistant for a long time now for when I'm driving, but alas.. Also, I don't think the amount of text I write bears any relevance as to the downsides of virtual keyboards.

Most people don't want this.


That's their loss. But I have to ask, how do you know what they want or don't want? Do you have some data to support this claim?

You sit down, just like you would with a tablet + keyboard or a laptop.


Welcome to the real world where there are no tables and benches every 5 meters.

Look, I'm not saying physical keyboards are bad or you are doing things wrong. I just don't think all the benefits of a keyboard outweigh the downsides and that a virtual keyboard, while less good, is good enough to be a replacement.


And I'm saying that's an opinion. My opinion is the opposite: even with the downsides I'd still choose a H/W keyboard over a virtual one, virtual ones simply have more and worse downsides than a H/W - one. Alas, no one manufactures high-end phones with H/W keyboards.

Edited 2013-11-17 10:17 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:45 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12


I'm not aware of a single voice recognition - based assistant for Android that can handle Finnish and even if I did I don't want to talk out loud all my messages publicly. I've wanted a good assistant for a long time now for when I'm driving, but alas.. Also, I don't think the amount of text I write bears any relevance as to the downsides of virtual keyboards.


I'm not aware of a Dutch one either, but I just speak English. That always works better anyway.

The amount of text does matter. If it's just a few words I'm sure you can bear the pain of touch typing those. I often touch type stuff, but if I think more words are needed I go sit behind a real computer.


That's their loss. But I have to ask, how do you know what they want or don't want? Do you have some data to support this claim?


Yes, there's an article on OSnews.com that mentions a number of people claiming they'd like a phone with physical keyboard and when one was made available they didn't show up.


Welcome to the real world where there are no tables and benches every 5 meters.


Certainly In Finland I wouldn't recommend standing outside in the cold trying to type on a very small keyboard. I even would question your priorities if you feel a need to type longs texts standing around somewhere.


And I'm saying that's an opinion. My opinion is the opposite: even with the downsides I'd still choose a H/W keyboard over a virtual one, virtual ones simply have more and worse downsides than a H/W - one. Alas, no one manufactures high-end phones with H/W keyboards.


I think you named two downsides: less easy to type on and they take away part of the screen.

Let's go to iMessage on my iPhone. The virtual keyboard comes in to view. I can see the previous message sent to me by my wife. I can see the entire message. I'm not going to count the words, because there a lot. How many words do you want to see when you type? With a simple flick I can hide the virtual keyboard and see even more text.

In other words, there is more than enough text in view when typing and when you are done typing it's easy to see even more.

So that leaves the point that physical keyboards are easier to type on. I'd say it's not that much easier. But let's give you this one, one downside.

My downsides of a physical keyboard:
Heavier
Bulkier
More expensive (plus they'd need to make keyboards for a large number of countries that have different layouts or even character sets)
Not flexible (can't change the layout, can't use alternate input methods like swipe)
And not really a downside, but a consequence of them: a duplication of input method.

All this so you can have physicals keys instead of using the virtual touch keyboards many people, including teenagers, are quite able to use?

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Sun 17th Nov 2013 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I'm not aware of a Dutch one either, but I just speak English. That always works better anyway.


Well, doesn't work for me. It doesn't recognize Finnish names, Finnish locations, nor can I dictate any sort of messages in Finnish. Basically I could tell it what action I want taken in English, but then I wouldn't be able to take it any further than that.

If it's just a few words I'm sure you can bear the pain of touch typing those.


It's not about being able to, it's about wanting to have to bear the inconvenience.

Yes, there's an article on OSnews.com that mentions a number of people claiming they'd like a phone with physical keyboard and when one was made available they didn't show up.


So, was the phone with a physical keyboard otherwise the same as one of the popular models already in market? No? Well, then you're comparing apples and oranges. Manufacturers only release mediocre phones with H/W-keyboards, so it's no wonder they don't sell. For once I'd love to see a how a high-end phone stacks against itself with and without a H/W-keyboard and not these lame apples-and-oranges comparisons.

I even would question your priorities if you feel a need to type longs texts standing around somewhere.


As it happens there are plenty of times when I just do not have a table at hand nor can I just go home.

How many words do you want to see when you type? With a simple flick I can hide the virtual keyboard and see even more text.


And what does that prove? Wow, you can jump through an extra step to see the content that should be visible even without such steps? Well, colour me wholly unimpressed.

In other words, there is more than enough text in view when typing and when you are done typing it's easy to see even more.


"enough text" is a subjective thing. I would like to be able to see the whole message, not just parts of it.

So that leaves the point that physical keyboards are easier to type on. I'd say it's not that much easier.


Aye, you're entitled to having such an opinion, but as I've been saying I find virtual keyboards infuriatingly cumbersome. Swype, Thumb Keyboard, whatever -- they all cumbersome and slow.

All this so you can have physicals keys instead of using the virtual touch keyboards many people, including teenagers, are quite able to use?


I never said I'm not able to use a virtual keyboard. I mean, sure, I can use a rock to drive a nail in the wall, but that doesn't mean that a hammer wouldn't be better for that task.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Soulbender on Sun 17th Nov 2013 07:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I mostly agree although I do prefer Fender to Hamer.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by phoenix on Mon 18th Nov 2013 19:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Don´t put a keyboard on a mobile phone.

It will make it bulkier, heavier, more fragile. And it will still be a crappy keyboard compared to a full-sized real one.


A hardware keyboard is better than an onscreen keyboard for anything beyond simple text messaging. Meaning, where you need to type more than plain English words. Like at an SSH prompt.

Don´t use your phone as a laptop, that´s what a laptop is for.


Why not? Phones have processing power equivalent to netbooks, so why not use that processing power for something actually useful? I carry a computer in my pocket. Why shouldn't I use it as a computer?

A mobile phone should be small, making is easy to carry, hold, put in your pocket.


Take it you've never held a Droid, a Photon Q, or an Xperia pro. These are all very pocketable phones, very easy to hold and use one-handed (portrait), but are also useful for more than just watching youtube.

Put a keyboard on a tablet or make it an option, like the Microsoft Surface. Those devices can have a keyboard with a useable size.


All of the above include keyboards, fit in jeans pockets, and provide all the benefits of tablets like the Surface ... without requiring a separate bag to carry them in.

Mobile phones have bad battery live. Why waste it even more trying to do too much on it, trying to do stuff on a device that´s not suited for it, even with a keyboard? Bring a tablet and 10 hours+ usage.


Bring a phone and get the same. What's your point?

Each device has its strengths and weaknesses. By trying to address its weaknesses you also weaken the strengths. A hamer and a screwdriver are both better than a hammer that can also screw. And look less silly too.


Why carry a hammer and a screwdriver and all the extras reqired for them, when I can just stick a Swiss Army knife or a multi-tool in my pocket? Takes less space, does the same work, it's always with me, etc.

Just because you don't like keyboard phones doesn't mean everyone should do what you do.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 19th Nov 2013 05:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

What use is SSH? I can only think or remote administration of a Linux server, which involves the <ctrl>, <esc> and | keys amongst others not generally featured on a physical mobile phone keyboard. This is probably an example where a virtual keyboard is even the better one.

SSH is not something companies use to promote their phone. Like WereCatf your use of a mobile phone is a-typical, but SSH'ing to remote servers is even more rare and something not enough people do to sell enough phones to make a profit.

A device with a real keyboard, like a laptop or even a netbook, is far superior to a mobile phone with physical keyboard when it comes to SSH. Using a phone to SSH is just wasting time when more quicker ways are available.

You may call your phone a Swiss knife, but someone who brings such a knife to a national carpenter competition will get destroyed by someone who brings a box of tools.

I always carry a real Swiss knife around and while it's great to have one when needed it doesn't hold against proper tools.

One last thing, I'm not against mobile phones with physical keyboards. Just because I think their added uses don't hold up against the downsides doesn't make me a hater.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by phoenix on Wed 20th Nov 2013 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

What use is SSH? I can only think or remote administration of a Linux server, which involves the , and | keys amongst others not generally featured on a physical mobile phone keyboard. This is probably an example where a virtual keyboard is even the better one.


Nope. VX Connectbot (the best SSH client out there) includes keyboard mappings for quite a few keyboard sliders phone. These mappings give you access to every key on a normal keyboard. On the Xperia Pro, you have access to everything via either normal keypress, CTRL+keypress, Alt+keypress, or Sym+keypress (CTRL, ALT work the same as on a normal keyboard). IOW, never more than 3 key presses (normally only 2 unless you need to CTRL/ALT+symbol) to access any symbol on a keyboard (including tab, pipe, tilde, etc). Compare that to a virtual keyboard where you have to long-press keys or flip screens or whatever.

A device with a real keyboard, like a laptop or even a netbook, is far superior to a mobile phone with physical keyboard when it comes to SSH. Using a phone to SSH is just wasting time when more quicker ways are available.


Which is quicker:
1. Pull phone from pocket, start app, start typing, or
2. Pull laptop out of bag, turn on, wait for boot, login, wait for network, start app, start typing?

Also, my phone is with me 24/7. My laptop is rarely with me unless I specifically need it where I'm going.

Which is bulkier:
1. A phone in my pocket, or
2. A separate backpack to carry the laptop + gear?

You may call your phone a Swiss knife, but someone who brings such a knife to a national carpenter competition will get destroyed by someone who brings a box of tools.


And the person with the knife will probably survive a street fight in a dark alley (aka unexpected emergency in the data centre while out-of-the office) compared to the person who has to put their toolbox down, scrounge around in it for the right tool, etc.

One last thing, I'm not against mobile phones with physical keyboards. Just because I think their added uses don't hold up against the downsides doesn't make me a hater.


When you won't accept that there are legitimate uses for one, you are a hater.

Edited 2013-11-20 00:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 20th Nov 2013 08:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12


Nope. VX Connectbot (the best SSH client out there) includes keyboard mappings for quite a few keyboard sliders phone. These mappings give you access to every key on a normal keyboard. On the Xperia Pro, you have access to everything via either normal keypress, CTRL+keypress, Alt+keypress, or Sym+keypress (CTRL, ALT work the same as on a normal keyboard). IOW, never more than 3 key presses (normally only 2 unless you need to CTRL/ALT+symbol) to access any symbol on a keyboard (including tab, pipe, tilde, etc). Compare that to a virtual keyboard where you have to long-press keys or flip screens or whatever.


I think you are on a voyage away from the average man that is taking you further and further. No company will see this as a reason to release a phone with physical keyboard.


Which is quicker:
1. Pull phone from pocket, start app, start typing, or
2. Pull laptop out of bag, turn on, wait for boot, login, wait for network, start app, start typing?


It depends if the laptop is sleeping or turned off, but perhaps more important how much work you are going to do.

If I ran an IT company with thousands of customers I wouldn't sleep well on the idea one of my administrators is editing files on a mobile phone.


Also, my phone is with me 24/7. My laptop is rarely with me unless I specifically need it where I'm going.

Which is bulkier:
1. A phone in my pocket, or
2. A separate backpack to carry the laptop + gear?


The phone is obviously less bulkier, but how many times do you actually need to SSH? Couldn't it wait? And for the quick edit wouldn't a touch screen work as well? If the extra money you need to pay for the keyboard be worth the small extra convenience for the times you need it?

I used to have a PocketPC with a keyboard for this reason. Never used it, only to try if it works.


And the person with the knife will probably survive a street fight in a dark alley (aka unexpected emergency in the data centre while out-of-the office) compared to the person who has to put their toolbox down, scrounge around in it for the right tool, etc.


A swiss phone is probably of much more use for emergency administration than a swiss knife in a street fight. A swiss knife's blade isn't very long nor does it lock. You'd have a hard time even penetrating clothing. I'd grab the hammer from the toolbox, but never mind that.

When you won't accept that there are legitimate uses for one, you are a hater.


I hope you don't think like that or you'd probably hate a lot of things, which is not healthy.

I do accept the legitimate use of a physical keyboard, I just don't think it outweighs the downsides and that a virtual keyboard is good enough to bear the inconvenience.

But I don't build those devices, manufactures do. And SSH'ing to do remote system administration isn't something so many people do that manufactures will think it's worthwhile to make a device.

People who do a lot of messaging may like one, but as people here mentioned it needs to be a phone with a physical keyboard that doesn't suck. And are people willing to pay for it, because it adds to the price so you can get a better phone without a keyboard for the same price.

A lof of people, probably most, have never used a phone with a physical keyboard. They don't know any better. To them such a phone will look weird and strange.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Wed 20th Nov 2013 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

A lof of people, probably most, have never used a phone with a physical keyboard. They don't know any better. To them such a phone will look weird and strange.

Most? Oh come on, there wasn't that many years since the domination of 12-button keyboards...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Wed 20th Nov 2013 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Which is quicker:
1. Pull phone from pocket, start app, start typing, or
2. Pull laptop out of bag, turn on, wait for boot, login, wait for network, start app, start typing?

You boot your laptop every time?

Reply Score: 2

Gotta laugh at these articles
by leos on Sat 16th Nov 2013 19:48 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

Whenever an article comes out that claims there is a massive market but all the big phone companies are ignoring it you know it's bullshit.

if there was a massive market for flagship phones with keyboards then those phones would exist. Fact is there is no such massive market, therefore there are only niche phones with keyboards.

The assertion that every phone company in the world is missing this massive market is ridiculous.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Gotta laugh at these articles
by MOS6510 on Sat 16th Nov 2013 20:27 UTC in reply to "Gotta laugh at these articles"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

As the article mentioned a number of people said they'd buy a phone with keyboard, but when it was released they didn't.

So you are right that there isn't a market and they did give it a go so we've got proof too.

Reply Score: 3

bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

It's also, people will buy a non-crap smartphone with a keyboard.

THAT hasn't been done in a while.

If Apple sold an iPhone 6K, they'd get a ton of people swinging off their nuts. Or Google selling a Nexus 5K.

Edited 2013-11-17 13:21 UTC

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I'd never sell anything that would cause people to swing from my nuts, but again that's just personal preference!

But I don't think Apple would ever do that, because they draw a line between phone, tablet and laptop. We've seen a number of hybrid devices and they all tend to suck.

So it's probably very difficult to make a device that bring the advantages of other devices classes while not sucking at the same time.

Besides an iPhone with keyboard would be more expensive than the one without. My feeling is most people would go for the iPhone without the keyboard. Too much hassle for Apple and too little to gain.

Apple (and most of the industry) is about touch and voice these days, I really doubt they'd do physical keyboards.

People didn't jump at the Surface either despite the clips of happy people and their attachable keyboards. Even I thought it looked like a nice piece of kit.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

It's also, people will buy a non-crap smartphone with a keyboard.


Exactly. Even the Droid line from Motorola was far from "flagship" spec-wise when they were released. If they had been "flagship" phones (or, you know, released on more than just Verizon), they probably would have sold more.

The LG Eve was one of the first Android phones with a keyboard. It sold extremely well in Canada, at least, but was quickly abandoned by LG (never officially updated past 1.6; OpenEVE and other projects got it to 2.1). And it was never replaced. AFAIK, LG never made another slider.

The Nexus One was also a slider, and it sold extremely well. Unfortunately, it was abandoned by HTC/Google, and never really replaced with anything. Don't know how the specs were for it, relative to what else was out there (never saw one in Canada).

Sony looked like they were on the right path. The Xperia Arc was released (touchscreen), then the Play (an Arc with a gamepad). Then came the Neo (slight upgrade to the Arc), and the Pro (a Neo with a keyboard). Looked like they were pursuing a strategy of releasing a touchscreen phone, and a slider with the same innards. But, then they starting releasing a new phone every week with just slightly different specs, and everything went to shit.

All the keyboard phones out there are 1-2 generations back in terms of specs, sometimes even more. Of course they don't sell well. If a phone maker released 2 variations of their "flagship" phones (1 with keyboard), they'd see very different results.

Nobody wants to buy an "inferior" phone in order to get a keyboard. They want the same specs as the flagship, with a keyboard added on.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Sorry, was the HTC Dream (first Android phone) that was a slider, not the Nexus One.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The LG Eve was one of the first Android phones with a keyboard. It sold extremely well in Canada, at least [...]
The Nexus One was also a slider, and it sold extremely well.

"Extremely"?

Reply Score: 2

steampoweredlawn Member since:
2006-09-27

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

-Henry Ford

Reply Score: 3

Not everyone likes hardware keyboards
by AndyB on Sat 16th Nov 2013 22:59 UTC
AndyB
Member since:
2013-03-22

I may be in a minority here, but I have had 2 phones with hardware keyboards, the Sony Ericsson P910 and a Blackberry Torch, I tried the hardware keyboard on each and slowly reverted back to the touchscreen keyboard, partly because it was more convenient and mostly because I have large fingers which results in pressing a lot of wrong keys on tiny hardware keyboards build into phones.

Reply Score: 3

Bluetooth ? USB ?
by Lennie on Sun 17th Nov 2013 00:22 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

So is there any good USB or bluetooth, or whatever keyboard on the market ?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Sun 17th Nov 2013 04:57 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

I believe if you put mobile keyboards to the test with a bunch of real humans, a 2004 blackberry would win. I could be wrong

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Luminair
by Soulbender on Sun 17th Nov 2013 08:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I had a BB and it wasn't any easier to type on than a soft keyboard. In fact, the "real" keys are even smaller than the soft keys. The only keyboard that provides comfortably sized keys on the phone form factor are really the 12-key keypads.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Wed 20th Nov 2013 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

RIM shrunk the blackberry keyboard buttons to copy treo post-2004 when they began to lose their minds in the pursuit of popular consumer fashion. the business blackberry always had big keys up until then, and that is the model to which I am referring

bottom of the page http://www.gsmarena.com/blackberry-phones-f-36-0-p2.php

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Soulbender
by Soulbender on Sun 17th Nov 2013 05:12 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

if there was an HTC One or Galaxy S4, a top-of-the-line phone, but with a keyboard - it would sell.


Yeah, but we also learned that the reason it will sell is:

people want iconic, flagship phones - like the S4, like the 5S - with huge marketing pushes.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Soulbender
by Lennie on Sun 17th Nov 2013 09:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by Soulbender"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

If you read between the lines: they basically say.

Most people want a bigger screen because they are only consumers, not producers.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Sun 17th Nov 2013 05:28 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

I'll wait for Jolla to release one. They really should if their first device will be successful.

Reply Score: 1

Hacker's Keyboard
by tidux on Sun 17th Nov 2013 05:54 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

I used to despise touchscreen keyboards, but using Hacker's Keyboard gives me a full 104 PC key layout on a phone. Good luck replicating that with a QWERTY slider.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hacker's Keyboard
by Lennie on Sun 17th Nov 2013 09:55 UTC in reply to "Hacker's Keyboard"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

So how much screenspace do you have left ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hacker's Keyboard
by tidux on Mon 18th Nov 2013 02:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Hacker's Keyboard"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

About 50%. You can set it in the input methods settings menu.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hacker's Keyboard
by phoenix on Mon 18th Nov 2013 19:52 UTC in reply to "Hacker's Keyboard"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

VX Connectbot + Sony Xperia Pro.

You have access to every single key on a normal keyboard. Including CTRL, Alt, Tab, Esc, the numbers, all the symbols, all the punctuation, etc. Never more than two keypresses. And it's a lot faster to "press alt, press key" than to "long-press onscreen key" to get to the non-alphabetic keys.

On a phone with a 3.5" screen. You don't lose any of it to an onscreen keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

My question is...
by deathshadow on Sun 17th Nov 2013 22:55 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Could I get a modern phone... or even a laptop...

With an IBM Model M in it?

I'm one of those rare birds that who's not really grasping the appeal of crappy little displays or doing 'computing' style tasks on a phone -- or even a tablet... or even most laptops these days. I want a phone that makes calls -- if I'm going to use a computer, and therein *SHOCK* TYPE anything, I'll go sit down at a desktop.

I guess I'm just really odd... I want a to make a call I'll use a phone, but for anything I would actually do using a computer -- I 'need' a full size full travel keyboard, preferably with mechanical switches. I still don't get the appeal or even the purpose of anything in-between those two extremes. PARTICULARLY if you care about typing anything.

Well, apart from making people walk around like zombies paying more attention to their phones and tablets than they are doing things like driving or crossing the street.

It seems like all this crap is just the province of the L33t TLDR re-re's.

Edited 2013-11-17 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

The best solution - Portrait QWERTY!
by Moochman on Mon 18th Nov 2013 09:06 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

IMHO the best balance of form-factor to usefulness is a portrait QWERTY like the Motorola Pro(+):

http://www.slashgear.com/motorola-pro-plus-review-16195623/

I have one and love it. If only it weren't so damn slow with the increasingly bloated apps that are being released...

The thing about hardware keyboards is that even if you aren't likely to write a novel on one, you *could* if you wanted to. If I want to write a long SMS or e-mail I will do so without hesitation and without noticing the length, whereas most soft-keyboard phone users would probably limit it to one sentence because of the inconvenience. When I'm using my hardware keyboard phone, I often use it to take notes that are pages long during lectures, etc. That's something I would *very* quickly tire of if using a touchscreen phone. Sure, I could bring a tablet with me everywhere, but then I need a seat/table and plus, everyone else can see what I'm typing.

A hardware keyboard phone is simply the closest and best replacement I have found for a pocket notepad and ideal communication device. Yes all-screen phones might be better for playing games or watching videos but for me and many others that is not the primary use case.

Edited 2013-11-18 09:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Evolution
by franksands on Mon 18th Nov 2013 15:43 UTC
franksands
Member since:
2009-08-18

My first smartphone was a Nokia E61. After that I went for a slider in the E75 and then the 1st Motorola Droid. A physical keyboard was always non-negotiable. However, over time, and specially when Swype and similars appeared, I used the physical keyboard less and less. After that, all my phones had only a touchscreen and I am completely adapted to that.

Reply Score: 2