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Thoughts on soft keyboards

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Crell, May 22, 2010.

  1. Crell

    Crell Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Greetings, 'droids.

    I'm currently a Palm Treo user looking to migrate to Android this summer on T-Mobile. I'm still eying devices and haven't decided what to move to yet, but one of the big stumbling blocks for me is the keyboard, or rather the common lack thereof.

    I really like the thumbboard on my Treo and have gotten quite good with it. However, no one is making vertical keyboards like that anymore aside from Palm (now HP, god knows what's going to happen there) and RIM (and I have no interest in a Blackberry at all). On the Android front, that leaves me with either a landscape keyboard, which I've not cared for in any of my brief experiences with other people's phones, or just the on-screen keyboard, which I've never liked the concept of on any platform and have hated the few times I've borrowed someone's iPhone.

    Of course, that's mostly from limited experience with both, and I admittedly used to be a die-hard Palm Graffiti user (I was pretty darned fast with that, too) before moving to the keyboard on the Treo and getting good with that.

    So any advice from others who have made a similar transition? Should I be holding out for a phone with a keyboard (a la Motorola Droid or the rumored Samsung Galaxy S Pro), or bite the bullet and go all the way to the "in vogue" softscreen keyboards? I hate not having tactile feedback, but to be fair most of the horizontal keyboards I've used have had crappy tactile feedback as well (no key travel, no border between keys, etc.).

    Have other folks had an easy time adapting to on-screen? Or to horizontal buttons?

    Is the on-screen keyboard less crappy on a larger screen? Should I therefore only be looking at 4" devices?

    Are there alternate input methods (Swype, et al) that alleviate the problem of text input?

    While I'd love to hold out for a device with both (on the grounds that its better to have a lame physical keyboard and lame on-screen keyboard than just a lame on-screen keyboard), those seem hard to come by, especially on T-Mobile for good ones. I also don't want to just wait forever, as my deadline is early August since in late August I'm going to Europe for 2 weeks for a tech conference and want to be fully Droidified by then. :)

    Any thoughts, experiences, recommendations?

    (And before anyone asks why I don't just go with the Pre or Blackberry if they have the keyboards I like, I'm looking at the full platform and neither webOS nor Blackberry have the complete package to compete with Android.)

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  2. yellowfrizbee

    yellowfrizbee Member

    I cant do it. Like literally cant. I think I have a handicap or some type of mental ******ation..

    Ive tried so many times to switch to software keyboard, but everytime I do, I always come back to hardware. Works out since I really dont mind "thicker" devices. Still though, it just sucks that it seems no good qwerty androids come out..I dont like having to have a shitty selection just because I prefer a hardware keyboard.

    No disrespect to the droid! Wonderful device, sure, just not for me. The keyboard was so un-useable that it was pointless and the device was much too masculine for me! Im a small female!! So ugly with the boxy rectangle look (imo); I felt like Motorola borrowed the design from a toaster. Reminds me of those ugly square cars!

    But anywho, I digress. Long story short, I prefer hardware keyboard over software but I wish I didnt.
  3. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Swype is better than any hard keyboard and almost as good as an alphanumeric pad (nothing is as good as an alphanumeric pad in terms of texting imo)

    Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
  4. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    Way to pass off opinion as fact :rolleyes:
  5. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Imo= in my opinion. Pretty sure I said that

    Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
  6. mudrock1000

    mudrock1000 Android Enthusiast

    the HTC_IME keyboard imo is much better than swype.
  7. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Yeah it is very good. I have both but find myself using swype. Super fast and easy to type with one finger

    Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
  8. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Back to the purpose of this thread. Sorry for the hijack. Dell is making a phone with similar form factor to the Treo/Blackberry but it isn't expected to release til Q4 of this year, it is called the Flash. Also Motorola is making this phone which is a perfect square that had a keyboard which flips out (very different style but has a portrait hard keyboard), it will be called the flipout. You should look those up. Can't think of any others which fit your bill but I am sure other OEMs will release phones of that style as there are many others put there like you.

    Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
  9. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    You said that in regards to alphanumeric. Not regarding your swype comment.
  10. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Okay sorry if I came out as trying to pass opinion as fact, I apologize. That was not my intent. I should have written "imo" twice but figured saying one thing being better than another would be assumed as opinion. Hell, this thread is based on opinion.

    Just saying that swype is very fast and easy to use (imo) to the point where I could never go back to a hard mobile keyboard. You don't even have to lift your finger off the keyboard when typing a word (fact) and this makes a soft keyboard more advantageous than a hard keyboard (imo). It is the easy touchscreen keyboards should be (imo).

    Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
  11. Crell

    Crell Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Are you sure you mean the Flash? It doesn't look like it has a keyboard:
    Dell Flash to offer Android Froyo in a 'dramatic' package -- Engadget

    So it sounds like the answers so far are "sucks to be you, sorry". :-( I was hoping for more positive news given my limited time frame. Has no one had a good transition story from physical keyboard to on-screen keyboard?
  12. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

  13. Crell

    Crell Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Ah ha. Interesting, but yeah, Q4 is longer than I'm able to wait. And as some comments on that page say, the screen size/resolution is pathetic. :-(
  14. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Yeah it is not very good screen. Especially if it will be a touchscreen.

    Dell is making a reallly nice phone with a keyboard also releasing in Q4 but it will be Windows Phone 7- Dell Lightning - Full phone specifications . If this were Android....

    But yeah, I think at this point there is no perfect phone for you. Maybe in one year...
  15. Crell

    Crell Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Damn you HTC: HTC Vision QWERTY Touch Slider Coming Your Way Soon

    Yeah, no perfect phone. I figured that much. :) The question is what is a "good enough" phone to last me through the next 12-18 months. (Yeah yeah 2 year contract, I've been with T-Mobile for 7 years, I doubt I'll be changing any time soon. Not with 3 lines on this plan.)
  16. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert

    Interesting. HTC is also reportedly making the new Sidekick (don't worry, it is NOTHING like previous Sidekicks).

    T-Mobile and HTC team up for Sidekick Twist – Android and Me

  17. lyons238

    lyons238 Android Enthusiast

    honestly dude i used to be used to a landscape keyboard and couldnt type on a virtual keyboard for shit. after using multiple touch screen only phones i became very used to a virtual keyboard. i can now type faster on a virtual keyboard than a physical because all you have to do is tap the screen. the htc phones are really pushing accuracy like the iphone, and with bigger screens like the evo typing is getting even easier.

    i admit you might make a couple more mistakes with a virtual keyboard but you can still type faster so it doesnt have much of an affect. on me anyway. personally i find physical keyboards being a waste of space on the newer touch screens. my friend has the droid and both him and i seem to only use the touch screen.
  18. rwZephyr

    rwZephyr Well-Known Member

    I use the HTC_IME, Its so far the best I've used. Although after using an iPhone for two years you get some muscle memory for it and I've been having some issues with every keyboard since.
  19. Crell

    Crell Newbie
    Thread Starter

    HustlinDaily: Oh I'm going to have to watch that closely. Good question what it is. From the sound of it, though, T-Mobile is doing a major refresh of their line this summer so I should have options, whether I stick with a keyboard or not. I just hope "this summer" means "by end of July at latest". :)
  20. ari-free

    ari-free Android Expert

    the physical keyboard lets you use the whole screen. Not much of a factor for one line sentences but it does matter if you type several paragraphs. Also, I like games that use the keyboard.
  21. rwZephyr

    rwZephyr Well-Known Member

    That is an upside to the keyboard, games. The GBA emulator on my X10 is hell, but I moved it to my Galaxy and it was beauty! (Just because of the face buttons)
  22. zerocool79346

    zerocool79346 Android Expert

    I went from a RAZR straight to the Eris, and have had absolutely no problems adjusting. I can type just as fast if not faster with the Eris, in fact, I'm probably as good with the Eris as with a computer keyboard honestly.
  23. lyons238

    lyons238 Android Enthusiast

    you must not be such a good typer on a computer keyboard then, because anyone knows you can type a good amount faster on a computer keyboard.
  24. ari-free

    ari-free Android Expert

    Another thing that can't be done very well virtually is a trackball for 360 control and hovering. Almost like using a mouse. I like how the G1 combined the keyboard and the trackball and I wish there was a more modern version.
  25. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert

    I went from a Blackberry 8310 to the Droid and Swype really helped. That said, Swype isn't for everyone.

    I only use the Droid's physical keyboard for games these days.

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