Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Apr 2013 16:27 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless The Verge reviews the BlackBerry Q10: "Maybe you're here for the keyboard. As superb as the Q10's physical keyboard is, I keep thinking about the six-year evolution of the soft keyboard since the introduction of the original iPhone. They've gotten so good on every platform - iOS, Windows Phone, Android, even BlackBerry's own Z10. The argument used to be that physical keyboards were for serious users who needed to burn through email, and I just don't think that holds water anymore. Yes, this is the best of a dying breed, but for the life of me, I don't know why someone who's accustomed to a full-touch phone would come back to this." I disagree. Touchscreen keyboards have not improved considerably at all - in fact, I find them just as terrible and unpleasant to use as when they were first introduced on Palm OS and Windows Mobile. A properly designed hardware keyboard - preferably landscape (like on the E7), but portrait will do too - will always run circles around those frustrating software keyboards. Major respect to BlackBerry for sticking to their guns. To anyone making a quality phone with a landscape hardware keyboard (rebadge an E7 for all I care) running Android or Windows Phone: please, take my money. Please.
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Comment by Antartica_
by Antartica_ on Mon 29th Apr 2013 17:38 UTC
Antartica_
Member since:
2012-12-28

There are several use cases that makes a hardware keyboard the only sane choice for some:

- Typing on a ssh session (system admin tasks on the go)
- Typing in several languages in the same message (although doable changing settings in the soft keyboard, it's a hassle you don't have in the hardware keyboard)
- Typing longer messages. This requires a little more explanation.

About typing longer messages: Perhaps it depends from person to person, but in my experience typing using a software keyboard requires a lot more concentration than in the hardware keyboard variant, and that makes me try to escape it typing the minimum possible (that is, the shortest message possible).

That's it for me. YMMV.

Edited 2013-04-29 17:39 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Antartica_
by M.Onty on Mon 29th Apr 2013 18:08 in reply to "Comment by Antartica_"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Edit: Removed.

Edited 2013-04-29 18:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Antartica_
by phoenix on Mon 29th Apr 2013 18:56 in reply to "Comment by Antartica_"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Typing simple, plain-English messages: onscreen keyboards work
Typing any kind of non-word syntax: onscreen keyboards SUCK!

Onscreen keyboards are really good for SMS, IM, even simple e-mail. But, if you need to use any kind of punctuation beyond ,.'" and maybe (), then they suck. Hard! Having to switch between 3! separate modes to get even the simplest of CLI commands to work is a royal pain!

Onscreen keyboards are so bad that I have actually stopped using SSH on my Optimus G. ;) With my Xperia Pro, I used SSH all the time. Every punctuation key required, including tab, alt, ctrl, and pipe, were accessible. CTRL/ALT were even separate hardware keys.

And, there's nothing as wonderful as viewing 100% of the screen when in landscape! While typing.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_
by tkeith on Mon 29th Apr 2013 19:24 in reply to "RE: Comment by Antartica_"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Typing simple, plain-English messages: onscreen keyboards work
Typing any kind of non-word syntax: onscreen keyboards SUCK!

Onscreen keyboards are really good for SMS, IM, even simple e-mail. But, if you need to use any kind of punctuation beyond ,.'" and maybe (), then they suck. Hard! Having to switch between 3! separate modes to get even the simplest of CLI commands to work is a royal pain!

Onscreen keyboards are so bad that I have actually stopped using SSH on my Optimus G. ;) With my Xperia Pro, I used SSH all the time. Every punctuation key required, including tab, alt, ctrl, and pipe, were accessible. CTRL/ALT were even separate hardware keys.

And, there's nothing as wonderful as viewing 100% of the screen when in landscape! While typing.


I don't understand how people can say they can type faster on a hardware keyboard, when softkeyboards like swiftkey can auto complete words and do punctuation ect. However, you are right, passwords, codes, or uncommon words are tedious. Perhaps they could add a literal mode that you switch to, like how you can bring up a number or symbol keypad to type on.

I sympathies with people who want a hardware keypad, but can't due to the poor selection. That said, don't lecture me about how no software keypad can type as fast as a hardware thumb keypad, it's just BS.

The ironic part is that I know a lot of people that have a phone with a hardware keypad, but never use it. They thought they'd need it, but quickly learned to live without it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_
by chithanh on Mon 29th Apr 2013 20:27 in reply to "RE: Comment by Antartica_"
chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

As much as I value the advantages of hardware keyboard for SSH and similar activities, I believe that you were simply using the wrong onscreen keyboard before.

There exist special keyboard apps which make SSH and coding decidedly less painful. Also many support a transparent mode so you see what is going on underneath. Thanks to Android, switching between them is very easy.

And as you mention English messages: Input of non-English words is often much easier if you can switch the layout, which is more convenient with onscreen keyboards. Using the excellent Multiling keyboard app I can communicate with my international contacts or input names/places in local writing system when traveling.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_
by WorknMan on Mon 29th Apr 2013 21:29 in reply to "RE: Comment by Antartica_"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Onscreen keyboards are so bad that I have actually stopped using SSH on my Optimus G. ;) With my Xperia Pro, I used SSH all the time. Every punctuation key required, including tab, alt, ctrl, and pipe, were accessible. CTRL/ALT were even separate hardware keys.


I don't know how many people are doing SSH on their phone, but I'd guess the number is decidedly small. Of course, there should be options for people that want to, but I think a better way to do that would be to have little pegs on the side of the phone where you could not only attach a foldable keyboard, but also maybe a game controller, and whatever else. For most of us, hardware keyboards are going to be a waste of space, and these phones are already big enough as it is.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Antartica_
by NuxRo on Mon 29th Apr 2013 22:04 in reply to "Comment by Antartica_"
NuxRo Member since:
2010-09-25

I should've mentioned I was referring strictly to generic phone stuff, the kind "normal" people do - texting, emailing etc.
For work I do not use a phone or a tablet or anything like that. I have a laptop.

Reply Parent Score: 2