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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RE: Comment by Antartica_
by phoenix on Mon 29th Apr 2013 18:56 UTC 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[3]: Comment by Antartica_
by phoenix on Mon 29th Apr 2013 19:46 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

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.


You do realise that hardware keyboards also include auto-complete support, auto-punctuation, auto-cap, etc, right?

And, it can be faster to type on a hardware keyboard for anything that includes numbers (alt+letter=number vs long-press letter=number) especially on keyboards that include the number row (simple keypress=number). And for anything including punctuation as most of the common ones have their own key. Plus, you can touch-type (as in, not looking at the keyboard or even the auto-correct line) which you can't (easily) do via onscreen keyboards.

Plus, once you leave the world of SMS/e-mail, it becomes exponentially easier/faster to use hardware keyboards (like SSH apps or terminal apps).

Once you start trying to use the computer in your pocket like a pocket computer, you start to realise just how badly they need hardware keyboards. ;)

If you just use your pocket computer like a portable screen, then onscreen keyboards are fine.

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.


There are keyboards that do this, like Hacker's Keyboard which gives you a full keyboard with number row, alt/ctrl/tab, etc. However, they all take up screen real-estate whereas hardware keyboards do not.

For me, that's the biggest bonus of a landscape hardware keyboard: 100% viewable landscape screen. Something that is impossible with an onscreen keyboard.

I sympathies with people who want a hardware keypad, but can't due to the poor selection.


It's too bad Android phone manufacturers didn't simplify their product lines into:
* small, medium, large screens
* candybar and landscape sliders

Small would be around 3.5-3.8" screens; medium around 4.0-4.3" screens; large would be 4.7-6.0" screens. Internals for candybar and slider would be identical, and only change with the size.

IOW, only 3 SoC/memory/screen setups to worry about, and only 6 cases to worry about. Release one size every 4 months, update each on a yearly basis. That way, it looks like you have a lot of phones in the market, always have a new one "just around the corner", can keep the software simple and easily updated.

Thus, combine the "shotgun/spaghetti-on-the-wall" approach of most Android vendors with the simplicity of the iPhone/GalaxyS yearly one-upmanship.

Alas, that will never happen. ;)

That said, don't lecture me about how no software keypad can type as fast as a hardware thumb keypad, it's just BS.


Maybe for you, specifically. But that's not true across the board.

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.


Good for them, they obviously didn't know what they were doing when they bought the phone. What bearing does that have to do with people who do know what they want, and will use it when they get it?

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Comment by Antartica_
by tonny on Tue 30th Apr 2013 03:45 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

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.

Well, they don't know much about themselves I guess ;) .

And I want to still can chat with my friends, face to face, while replying sms/email etc. something rather inconvenience when using software keypad cause you have to focus more on ur screen rather then your friend.

Reply Parent Score: 1

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[3]: Comment by Antartica_
by phoenix on Mon 29th Apr 2013 20:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Antartica_"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

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.



Yes, I know, I've used them. I even mentioned one in my responses above (Hacker's Keyboard). None of that changes the fact that hardware keyboards are easier to use for non-SMS/e-mail situations. Especially considering you don't lose any screen space to the keyboard (transparent keyboard is not a solution to this).

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.


You do realise that phones with hardware keyboards also have onscreen keyboards, right? ;) IOW, your options actually increase when you have a physical keyboard compared to only having onscreen ones:
- unlimited portrait keyboards + unlimited landscape keyboards + physical keyboard
vs.
- unlimited portrait keyboards + unlimited landscape keyboards

Which one has more options? ;)

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