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[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 Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:16 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sun 17th Nov 2013 10:45 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 Parent Score: 3