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.

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RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:45 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
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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 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:
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?

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