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The Beginning of the End for Physical Keyboards

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Stuntman, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I saw this article this week regarding HTC discontinuing phones with physical keyboards: HTC exec claims that users prefer thinness over battery life, says company will discontinue devices with hardware keyboards | MobileSyrup.com

    I personally prefer using a physical keyboard over a touch screen. My first smartphone was a Nokia N97 and I currently use an HTC Desire Z. Even my tablet has a physical keyboard (Asus Eee Pad Transformer).

    Over the past few years, it seems most major smartphone manufacturers have a model with a physical keyboard every year. Looks like HTC will no longer come out with one. I was hoping they would have a One Z model with a keyboard mechanism similar to the Desire Z. I just happened to be notified today that I was eligible for a hardware upgrade. Although I have no intention of upgrading my phone, I would consider switching to a new landscape slider keyboard phone.

    I think I can get used to using the touch screen keyboard on a phone. I have tried it for a week on my phone and it felt OK, but my choice would be to use the physical keyboard. I want that tactile feeling. I learned to type using my tactile feel of my computer keyboard. So far touch screen technology on phones today does not offer a way for me to feel which key I am pressing or about to press. If the physical keyboard is going away, I hope that newer touch screen technology becomes available to allow me to feel which keys I am about to press before I press it.

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  2. blackepoxy

    blackepoxy Android Expert

    I hate typing on a physical keyboard!

    Swype here!
    I have been hooked ever since trying it a year ago and it has only gotten so much better!
    I guess I just don't like the peck peck style of typing anymore.
    Swype is so fluid.

    I am really surprised at not seeing capacitive touch screen keyboards (usb peripherals) for desktops using Swype. I guess no one would buy something so expensive to make or there is no market for it with tablets and all...
  3. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic

    As the OS and technology progresses the onscreen keyboards get better and better...I had the OG droid and droid 2 global then after that I ditched the physical keyboard and would have no intention on switching back as I found myself using the onscreen keyboard with more ease.
  4. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog

    It really doesnt matter to me. I like the touch screen keyboard. I like the fact that there is not a physical keyboard there to catch dirt and other garbage that can cause problems
  5. AntimonyER


    HTC exec is dead wrong about thinness vs. battery life. But that is for another thread I suppose. My wife and mother-in-law swear by physical keyboards. They want something that actually moves when you push it. I personally can't stand them. But I do believe there will be a market for them as more people move from multimedia phones to smartphones.
  6. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Extreme Android User
    VIP Member

    I am a fan of the keyboard, I just really like it. I'm sure I could muddle through without one, but I would never really be happy about it.
    If HTC does stop making them then I certainly hope Moto doesn't follow suit. I tend to get Moto phones and it would be a sad, sorry day if I had to go keyboard-less.
    It may not be a huge market but there is a market for a keyboard phone, hopefully at least one manufacturer realizes that and provides a good quality physical keyboard forever.
  7. breadnatty08

    breadnatty08 pain rustique

    My first smartphone was an HTC WinMo with a resistive screen and a stylus. It was an awful typing experience. I was so excited when the OG Droid came out since it had a keyboard and got it immediately. Despite having a keyboard, I rarely used it since it was so horrible. I tried Swype and hated it. When Swiftkey first came out in beta, I gave it a shot and it's the only keyboard I've used ever since (the Beta 3 is AMAZING).
    I say that unless I'm pounding out a long email, then onscreen keyboards are the way to go.
  8. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire

    Couldn't care less. I hated them anyways, but HTC has got it all twisted. We definitely don't want thinness over battery life. I surely hope they were joking when that was said.
    B2L likes this.
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I don't think they were :(

    Now I don't want to go back to phones that were over 2cm thick, but give me a choice between 2mm thinner or 1.5*battery life and it's a no-brainer, and that's realistically what we're talking about right now.
  10. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User

    I have been saying for a couple years that people might as well go ahead and get used to just touch screen because keyboards are going away. Most people never listened to me or would just argue that they weren't going anywhere because people wanted them.

    I hate keyboards anyways. The only phone I have had in the last 5 years with a keyboard since the day the original iPhone launched was the original Droid. I opened the keyboard maybe twice the whole year I had it.
  11. AntimonyER


    Right, I think most phones are thin enough. The RAZR was too thin when you consider the battery difference between it and the MAXX.
  12. brotherswing

    brotherswing Android Expert

    I bought an external Bluetooth keyboard for my Optimus V, and the only time I use it is for games that require hardware controls.
  13. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User

    I thought the Razr was too thin also. Really I don't want anything thinner than the GSII which is borderline too thin. I think mine is perfect with my extended battery and I love the battery life on it
  14. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    I don't care what people say, no software keyboard will ever match the speed of a physical qwerty. I hit 60+ wpm(ACCURATELY!) on my Evo Shift, try that on swype.

    120 WPM on a real keyboard.

    I'm going to miss my keyboard phones.
  15. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    I never understood...

    How some people.. Ohhhed and awwed.. Over thin phones..

    Then they would bitch about battery life???????
  16. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire

    I still type fast and accurately with the touch screen only. No issues whatsoever. Swype sucks and so do physical keyboards on phones lol. :vroam:
  17. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'm not against newer technology making older technology obsolete. However, the newer technology has to be better. If you offer me a better input method than a physical keyboard, I will say good-bye to my physical keyboard. So far, I don't think a touch screen keyboard is better yet. I just feel the reason for the push to remove physical keyboards is that the manufacturer is trying to cut costs rather than giving a better experience for everyone.

    I have tried using Swype for a week. My issue with Swype is that if you do not use common words, Swype is a pain as it guesses the wrong word and is not even close. I use uncommon words, abbreviations and such that may be specific in context to certain subjects. Swype just sucks at those and causes bigger inconvenience having to peck the correct word again.

    So far, all of the touch screen input methods is a step down from a physical keyboard. I lose a significant part of the screen because the keyboard covers it up. Sometimes, it covers up the entire screen. The touch screen keyboard forces me to actually change the way I type. I have to actually look at the keyboard instead of where I am typing, so I miss any mistake I make until later or I miss it completely.

    I've chosen my current phone knowing that there would be other compromises I would have to make. I'm willing to make the trade off of having a slower processor or smaller screen or having other features scaled back for a physical keyboard.

    I'll likely have a dilema when it comes time to purchase a new phone. I currently have the HTC Desire Z and I really like it for many reasons over and above a physical keyboard. I would be willing to purchase another HTC device in the future. When it comes time to upgrade, I may end up going with another manufacturer if they come out with a phone with a physical keyboard. We'll see. I expect to keep my phone for another year as it does everything I want it to do so far and I do not find it lacking in any major aspect at the moment.
  18. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I think the thinness is what sells the phones. Then after they used it for a while and it dies, it's too late because they bought it already. It's easy to test out features and functions on a phone at the store. It's impossible to test out battery life there because they have it plugged in constantly.
  19. Satires

    Satires Android Expert

    Same as some of the other posters here, I prefer the on screen keyboard. That's why I went from the droid 2 to the droid x over a year ago and now have the bionic.

    It is a shame to discontinue the physical keyboards though because I understand people have personal preferences.
    IOWA likes this.
  20. AntimonyER


    So stuntman makes an excellent point, about how thinness can sell phones at first, because people don't understand the battery life aspects until after they buy it. But honestly that only works once, so to continue to market phones using that philosophy will eventually backfire.
  21. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User

    Exactly what I think!
  22. TxGoat

    TxGoat Guest

    I'm waiting for a bluetooth device that will allow you to enter text based on your thoughts, and a mass bannage of members that don't proofread their posts shortly thereafter....
  23. cashariff

    cashariff Newbie

    see guys ? that's what we call technology. the limit is even too close. just like dot matrix printers that still alive now after tens of years. There are things that techno can't go with.
  24. brotherswing

    brotherswing Android Expert

    I've found FlexT9 to be the best onscreen keyboard. It's like Swype, SwiftKey, old Palm style graffiti, and voice to text all in one. It's word predictions aren't the best I've tried, but the overall real world performance of FlexT9 makes it my first choice when I don't want to use my Bluetooth keyboard.

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