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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It's not just about typing speed
by sjeffree on Tue 30th Apr 2013 16:22 UTC
sjeffree
Member since:
2013-03-12

It's not just about the typing speed. It's about confidence, without overloading your visual & cognitive resources.

With a physical keyboard, your fingers can, if you want, touch the key gently *before* you press it, confirming whether you have the right key & whether you are positioned correctly on that key, ready for a successful keypress. Then, when the moment comes to actually press it, you can tell (by feel, without looking) whether the keypress was successful or whether maybe two keys were accidentally pressed at once or whether you perhaps shook, causing a double-press. This all happens in an instant, without any consious thought, so it doesn't interrupt your thinking about the text that you're typing, so you're already going for the delete key by the time you mind catches up & tells your finger to actually press it.

With a virtual touch-screen keyboard, apart from the obvious wasting of screen real-estate, you have to watch the screen to see which key to press & then also whether the correct key actually got pressed. Also, you have to watch the screen to beware of spurious keypresses because it takes such a light touch that you won't feel any spurious presses. For example, if you're hovering over a key, waiting for the right moment to press it (or maybe just thinking) & you get jogged or you just hovered too close. Then, you have to think about whether you missed the right key & whether the key the system chose for you was the key you meant to press & if not, what to do about it. And because a virtual keyboard corrects your mistakes as you go by guessing what word you're building up, you have to think about whether the word it 'thought' you meant was the word you actually meant & if not, what to do about it & whether it's worth bothering to worry about what's in the dictionary & how to edit/add/remove words from the dictionary. This is all stuff that you have to consiously think about instead of just letting your mind 'cruise' in the background while your foreground deals with the text your actually typing.

All this feedback information, comes at you visually through the screen, possibly overloading your visual processing bandwidth momentarily & has to be thought about in an instant, possibly also overloading your cognitive bandwidth.

Also, you have to remember the previous contents of the screen, in case you need to refer to it in your mind, while deciding what to type, because the virtual keyboard has obscured it.

To be honest, it's all just too much for my tiny little mind to easily cope with. The result is that it's just not 'nice'. Just give me real keys to press & let me be responsible for pressing them!

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Do you have any sources for your views? (of course not...) Our senses etc. don't work in logical ways...

BTW, predictive text for physical keyboards also exist.

Reply Parent Score: 2