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Is there any NEED for a physical keyboard?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by kbayer, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. kbayer

    kbayer Android Enthusiast
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    Aside from simply prefering a physical keyboard over a virtual keyboard, is there a reason now or possibly in the future to have one? My wife is trying to decide between getting a Droid herself -- or a Nexus. I know there are good reasons for and against, but this feature seems to be the fork in the road for her right now...
     

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  2. tsaunders

    tsaunders Android Enthusiast
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    It's really a personal preference. I really don't care for the physical keyboards, but I had no choice since I wanted the Droid.

    I think a lot of people will tell you they come in handy for emulators.
     
  3. PerCompLLC

    PerCompLLC Android Enthusiast
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    IMO that depends on the usage. For example, as a programmer, I have a personal need for a physical keyboard so that I can effectively operate in a terminal window (command line). Granted there are emulators that can effectively virtualize this scenario, but the keyboard seems to be more efficient.

    That said, IMO, I don't think that the physical keyboard is necessary for "normal" day to day use - but again, that depends on one's definition of "normal".

    Just my two cents...
     
  4. messenger13

    messenger13 Android Expert
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    Is there really a need for skateboards? I don't ride one ... so there must not be a need for them, right?

    (Get my point?) ;)
     
  5. JoeProcopio

    JoeProcopio Android Enthusiast
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    Yes imperative for emulators...but also if you need precise control over your text for editing purposes.
     
  6. Eugene

    Eugene Android Expert
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    I could go either way. Sometimes I just can't hit the right keys on the on screen so I slide it open and use the physical, other days I just can't seem to use the physical and switch to the onscreen (I have bad coordination). So I think I could live with either.
     
  7. kbayer

    kbayer Android Enthusiast
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    Not really.
    I'm asking if there are situations or applications that arise where having a physical keyboard is required... maybe I should have phrased the queston better. Along the lines of a skateboard, I read somewhere that the next Droid will have little wheels that pop out of the bottom to assist in transporting office equipment, bulk containers, and luggage. They really are thinking out of the box, those Moto guys...
     
  8. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Android Expert
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    Apart from the tactile preference, there's the matter of how it affects the display: the physical keyboard augments your display, while the virtual one replaces it partially or even completely.

    Personally, I have found that I need the larger landscape keyboard in order to do any kind of substantial text entry, and I just hate that that mode completely obscures the application I'm using. I had not anticipated nor fully understood the true effect of this, and it is one of my biggest regrets about coming to Android.
     
  9. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert
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    +1 on that. If you want to see the webpage while you're filling in form data or entering text in a text box, then the keyboard is imperative and highly useful. But if you're used to the virtual keyboard and text box replacing whatever you're seeing, then it won't matter to you. Honestly, I think the PK was made for enterprise users who will likely do text editing in documents, spreadsheets, power points. In that way, it's indispensable. As mentioned, if you want to play on emulators (SNES, NES, Genesis, etc.), you just can't do it with a virtual pad or trackball. Sorry, just not possible.

    Here's the point: When you need a PK, you'll be thankful that you have it.

    But... if you don't have it, you'll learn to live with out it.
     
  10. iPhone2Droid

    iPhone2Droid Well-Known Member
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    I swore after my Blackberry and Sidekick that I'd never be without a physical keyboard. Then I moved to an iPhone, and ultimately, my beloved Droid. I've yet to use the keyboard. So, it's easy enough to ignore. I'm grateful for my Piel Frama flip case though (cases.com - "google & coupons are your friends!!"), as I can still easily get to that keyboard, if and when the mood ever hits (highly doubtful, but ya never know).
     
  11. messenger13

    messenger13 Android Expert
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    Yes, in the Terminal Emulator app. But if one is going to just simply use the DROID as a phone, texting device, and browser, than it would be merely user preference.
     
  12. droidosis

    droidosis Well-Known Member
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    You don't need to use it all the time, but it's good to have. It made entering my really long wifi network key very easy.

    I slide it out from time to time, but you do not have to ever open it at all, so it's only a benefit when needed.

    There is no stigma of a girl using the droid either, the phone has a male personality, Yes. but

    Girls can just think of it as their second husband, boyfriend, or BFF ;)

    And if a guy uses it, it's just a man's man phone. LOL!

    -droidosis-
     
  13. Laxstar785

    Laxstar785 Android Enthusiast
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    I think Swype definetly makes typing with a virtual keyboard MUCH easier, but if I am in a rush I still resort to the physical keyboard because it is just faster....again personal preference.
     
  14. RadYOacTiVe

    RadYOacTiVe Android Expert
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    I use the physical keyboard when doing business related emails, less likely for mistakes but when replying to quick texts or short emails, the touch keyboard works fine. I've been using shapewriter which is cool but still takes a while to get a hang of doing certain things.
     
  15. vaio

    vaio Well-Known Member
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    Here's my take on having a keyboard.

    - typing in fields are better because you will have the whole screen to view.

    - the dpad comes in very handy for apps and games........

    - and my favorite, makes holding the the phone so much easier/better! Watching movies, web browsing, just basicly using the phone with the screen up is so awesome and fun!

    And if you want to use it like the nexus one with no sliding screen, you simply keep the screen down. I love it!
     
  16. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Android Expert
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    Some are probably like me when I type on a virtual keyboard. Some times I'm just typing so fast that I'm not checking what the predictive text is inputing. For example, I may be replying to a text and put in "LOL," but the predictive engine inserts something like "LION." I think that's the most annoying thing about the virtual keyboard and not recognizing acronyms correctly. Before you catch it, it's already sent!
     
  17. Droidophile

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    Heres a different way of looking at it.

    Does your wife have long fingernails? The virtual keyboard seems to do a better job if she does. The glass screen can take the beating from nails where the membrane of the physical keyboard may fail over time.

    When we went phone shopping last month my wife was hell bent for a real keyboard. Especially coming from a Blackberry Pearl. Nothing was going to change her mind. So she was pretty close to getting something like a TouchPro2 or whatever it's called. But then she walked into a Verizon store and got to touch the phones in person. She absolutely fell in love with the Eris (Oh happy me we get the Droid/Eris deal!). So basically now she's completely used to the virtual keyboard and loves it. And not only that (Get This) she only uses the virtual keyboard in vertical view!!!! And she's fast! (clearly shes got a little blackberry pearl left in those fingertips hehe!) I don't know how she does it.

    Hope that helps.
     
  18. droidosis

    droidosis Well-Known Member
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    I turned off the Auto-complete (Settings, Language & Keyboard, Android keyboard 'onscreen settings')

    I left Quick fixes, and Show suggestions checked, but Auto-complete unchecked, so it doesn't try to fiks my typoss with silly werds.

    I find typing much quicker without it trying to auto guess the word. If I happen to see it on the suggested list before I finish typing, I'll touch it.

    -droidosis-
     
  19. FireChief

    FireChief Well-Known Member
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    I haven't touched the physical keyboard since downloading and installing the aftermarket keyboard program SWYPE.

    And that is saying a LOT... I bought the MotoDroid BECAUSE I wanted an Android Ops system AND a physical keyboard..

    Swype is incredible.. With Swype, you won't need a physical keyboard, IMHO

    FC

    EDIT: I will admit that a part of the reason I have drifted away from the physical keyboard is that it's tactile feel is poor (buttons too flat) and the keyboard position is way off center to the left.. If the physical keyboard was a bit better, I might use it just a bit more, but ONLY a bit more.. Swype is THAT good..
     
  20. Chugworth

    Chugworth Well-Known Member
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    Coming from the Omnia, I'm used to typing without a physical keyboard. On the Droid however, I generally use the software keyboard, but slide out the hardware keyboard when I know I'm going to be typing a lot of text.
     
  21. vincentp

    vincentp Android Expert
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    Need? Well no, I guess not. But on the same token there's no need for a virtual keyboard either when a physical works just as well. There are certainly benefits to a physical keyboard. It's not software, so it works regardless of what's going on with the phone. There have been some occasions on which the virtual keyboard refused to enter anything and the physical worked just fine. It's very useful if you do editing of documents and need all of the screen real estate, since the virtual takes up half of it or more.

    Other benefits to certain people exist as well, of course. The ability to play emulator games for example. Without multitouch you can't use the onscreen for that. Virtual only has the benefit of decreased weight and size, but aside from that I don't see any other advantage to having only the on-screen keyboard.

    Other than that it's really just preference.
     
  22. njKeever

    njKeever Well-Known Member
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    That's interesting because my wife has fake nails and always uses the physical keyboard. She can't stand the onscreen one.
     
  23. djkeller3

    djkeller3 Android Enthusiast
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    I could not agree more. I use Excel on a weekly basis exclusively on my Droid, and the physical keyboard is absolutely ESSENTIAL for accurate navigation. It would be a real pain in the ass to use the soft keyboard for this.
     

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