02-14-12 09:16 AM
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  1. Alex_Hong's Avatar
    With smartphones these days mostly being full touch screen devices, devices with physical keyboards are becoming increasingly harder to find. I am sure there are a lot of varied opinion on which is better, Physical or Virtual keyboards. Many BlackBerry fans will no doubt side with physical keyboards, myself included. But i think ultimately its just a matter of personal preferences.

    I can still remember my first full qwerty physical keyboard phone, the Sony Ericsson M600i. To be honest, i never quite got use to the keyboard. For those who know which phone i'm talking about, you would know it has this weird, 2 sided button keyboard. It looks rather nice, but not as nice to type on. I eventually moved on a few other physical keyboard phones and finally into an iphone, and to be honest the virtual keyboard was nice to type on. It was quick too. But eventually i gave that up and bought my first BlackBerry, the Bold 9000. At that point i finally experience what i could only describe as the best physical keyboard on a phone, at least until the 9900 came out.

    There have been a few arguments i've seen on this forums that argue that physical keyboards are faster to type on than virtual ones. I'm not so sure on that though. I know for sure i could type faster on an iphone as compared to my Bold 9900. Without the need to physically depress a button, typing can be faster on the iphone if you are accurate enough. (or maybe i have not been using the 9900 long enough to get used to it.) But anyway, its not all about typing speed though. For me, if you were to look at the overall picture, inputting text the Bold 9900 will be faster than the iphone or any virtual keyboard phones.

    1. If you had made any mistake or want to change something a few sentences ago, editing it on a touch screen device only is a b**ch. Apple has this magnifying thing going on to select text, but still, using the trackpad will be more precise and faster.

    2. Keyboard shortcuts. I think i need no explanation for this. Copy and paste. its not even remotely debatable. It makes editing text so much more easier. There is not full touch screen phones that can do it any quicker than the BlackBerry Bold. Not even iPad or PlayBook. (aside from inputting text, keyboard shortcuts can make using the phone more efficient as well. For eg, at the end of a very very long website, pressing T to get to the top will definitely be faster then swiping the screen.)

    3. Selection of text. The holy "shift" button on the Bold is King. No touch screen phone can come close as well. i can select text easily from anywhere i want, and it will be precise and fast.

    4. Flexibility. On touch screen devices, to ensure you are inputting the right alphabet, you have to look at the keyboard consistently. Whereas on a phone with physical keys, once you get used to it, often you can type the correct alphabet without looking at the keyboard.

    with the above points, yes, the iphone or some virtual keyboards (swype) might be faster at just inputting text. But that doesn't mean that it's the best way of input. Overall, physical keys are still faster at texting (inputting, selecting and editing) than virtual. But who knows, maybe in the future there will be better implementation of virtual keyboards. but until then, my choice is still physical keyboards. Some may be willing to sacrifice a physical keyboard for a larger screen, but i am not one of them.

    There is just some sort of gratifying feeling from typing on a physical keyboard. Especially on one that is as good as the Bold 9900. My overall view is that physical keyboards will not be dying out anytime soon. It is always good for the consumers to have choice. Just like we have different platforms out there, i believe it's good to have different form factors on phone too. Just like how in the automotive industry we have different brand of car makers, each having a different sort of car. Convertible, sedan, super cars, coupe, wagon, hatchback... etc.

    just my 0.02 cents.
    Last edited by Alex_Hong; 02-04-12 at 02:34 PM.
    02-04-12 02:28 PM
  2. Ben1232's Avatar
    No definitely not.

    There will always be the older users who prefer the keyboards, even if they / we are the minority.
    02-04-12 02:45 PM
  3. alnamvet68's Avatar
    Not at all.
    dave1701 likes this.
    02-04-12 02:56 PM
  4. ooklah's Avatar
    Yeah, I don't think keyboards are going anywhere. My first smart phone was a Storm 1 and I came from an LG Voyager so I was hesitant about the touch screen keyboard, but I got used to it and enjoyed it quite a bit. But mostly because of SurePress (I miss you!). I loved my Storm 2 even more, but hated that the keyboard would start lagging after a bit.

    Anyway, my first "real" BlackBerry keyboard is my 9930 and using anything else to type can be infuriating now. If my friends were observant enough (they aren't) they would be able to tell when I was using my Bold or Nexus by all the mistakes (or lack thereof) in my texts.

    So when the BB10 devices hit, I will be holding out for the keyboard variant.

    Sent from my Bold 9930 using Tapatalk
    02-04-12 03:15 PM
  5. monotok's Avatar
    I have always had sliders (Android & WP7) and mostly used the virtual because the slider was not that nice but the virtual annoyed me loads, on WP7 i went to hit the delete key because i made a mistake and constantly hit the enter key which entered a new line

    The Bold 9900 keyboard is awesome and so is the trackpad, most people seem to say oh you get used to a virtual but I DON'T WANT TO!

    I would have gotten the Torch 9810 cos the slider is the best of both worlds but the Bold 9900 has 5ghz wireless and NFC.
    recompile likes this.
    02-04-12 03:27 PM
  6. cntrydncr223's Avatar
    I had a love affair with the bold as well. It was, by far, the nicest phone I'd had to date.
    And I probably would still be with it, if it weren't for the touchscreen option on the 9800, then the improvements to the 9810.

    I love having both, though I prefer the physical keyboard. Hitting the keys is much more precise.

    Then, I got a playbook, which only has the virtual keyboard. So I got a wifi keyboard.
    recompile likes this.
    02-04-12 03:40 PM
  7. SRR500's Avatar
    It's not just us old timers that like the physical keys. My 14 year old daughter loves her Curve because of the keyboard. She takes some grief from her android using friends because her phone isn't "cool" because it doesn't have a full touch screen. Her reply is generally along the lines of "you're stupid here try it".(have to be amused by teenage girl banter) More than once she has gotten the reply back of "oh wow, your phone is really easy to type on".

    Personally, I'm equally proficient on both. I just prefer the physical keyboard.
    02-04-12 03:42 PM
  8. tdawg00's Avatar
    People said the same thing about Nextels direct connect...and the typewriter and the prop engine... and slavery ... and the horse and carriage... lol Im just saying. New things always come along.
    02-04-12 03:56 PM
  9. Economist101's Avatar
    Certainly "dying" in the sense that most smartphones purchased this year will lack them, and they're percentage is trending downward. At the same time, they're clearly not dying as an input method for larger computers.
    02-04-12 03:59 PM
  10. Lead_Express's Avatar
    I think the physical keyboard is only being sacrificed to preserve screen size. I would imagine that most people prefer to type on a physical keypad but also prefer a large screen. Given the popularity of games and multi-media/video on devices, a larger touchscreen is more beneficial than a physical keyboard. Likewise, the bulkiness of sliders makes them less appealing then an all touch, especially since a virtual keypad will work just fine. So, yes, physical keyboards are getting less popular but not because they are defunct.
    Laura Knotek and Mystic205 like this.
    02-04-12 04:52 PM
  11. fourboysplus's Avatar
    ...Depends on who you ask. If you asked me I'd say no they aren't.
    02-04-12 04:55 PM
  12. BlackBerry Guy's Avatar
    I've always been of the opinion that hardware keyboards are like manual transmissions in cars. They offer better precision, control, and an overall better typing experience. They are appreciated and demanded by a minority amount of "purists", but they generally have fallen out of favour with the general public.

    There will always been room for hardware keyboards, but they will never dominate the smartphone market like it did before 2008. The touchscreen is the automatic transmission.
    02-04-12 04:55 PM
  13. palmless's Avatar
    I've always been of the opinion that hardware keyboards are like manual transmissions in cars. They offer better precision, control, and an overall better typing experience. They are appreciated and demanded by a minority amount of "purists", but they generally have fallen out of favour with the general public.

    There will always been room for hardware keyboards, but they will never dominate the smartphone market like it did before 2008. The touchscreen is the automatic transmission.
    EXACTLY.

    People still pick manuals (including me) because in the old days, you could get more performance, control, and fuel economy with a manual. The early automatics weren't very good.

    And most of us who buy manuals are humbled to learn that we can't achieve the performance, control or fuel economy of a modern automatic. Very, VERY few drivers can. But by choosing a manual, I can believe I am outperforming an automatic, even though I probably am not.
    02-04-12 05:40 PM
  14. Alex_Hong's Avatar
    I've always been of the opinion that hardware keyboards are like manual transmissions in cars. They offer better precision, control, and an overall better typing experience. They are appreciated and demanded by a minority amount of "purists", but they generally have fallen out of favour with the general public.

    There will always been room for hardware keyboards, but they will never dominate the smartphone market like it did before 2008. The touchscreen is the automatic transmission.
    Brilliant analogy. haha. i prefer physical keyboards on phones, and manual transmission on cars.
    02-04-12 06:00 PM
  15. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    I remember the days of discounting GUI operating systems as they were "dumbing down" the user interface (early 90's). I also remember 2007 when I myself insisted the iPhone would never do well because a touchscreen would be too inconvenient. Today I couldn't imagine using an OS on a PC with anything but a GUI, and shudder at the thought of going back to a physical keyboard on a phone. Long story short... I evolved.
    02-04-12 06:16 PM
  16. anthogag's Avatar
    I love keyboards There's a nice tactile quality when pushing physical keys.

    A slider with a full-size keyboard would be great. I have the 9800 and I prefer the keyboard to typing on the screen.

    But I also like typing on my playbook screen

    If the first BB10 phone has an on-screen keyboard it's quite alright with me

    There is nothing evolved about on-screen keyboards. When you type you're waisting half the screen with the keyboard. When you play games your thumbs block half the screen. It's like watching a movie in a theatre and the person in front of you is tall and you have to move to the side to see the screen

    If iPhone came out with a slider I'm sure Apple heads would go gaga over it.
    Last edited by anthogag; 02-04-12 at 07:14 PM.
    recompile likes this.
    02-04-12 07:10 PM
  17. dave1701's Avatar
    I don't think I'll even be able to type as fast or as accurately on a virtual keyboard, and I'm 17. I will always prefer a blackberry with a keyboard and a trackpad.
    recompile likes this.
    02-04-12 07:19 PM
  18. JAGWIRE's Avatar
    im running a 9550 now but there isn't anything i wouldn't give to go back to my 9000. i love the large screen of my 9550 but i love the physical keyboard of my 9000. its just so easy to type on a physical then a virtual.
    02-04-12 07:51 PM
  19. si_chindo's Avatar
    I love me my physical keyboards. I don't think that will change anytime soon. That is why if first BB10 phones are all touch, I will pass.
    recompile likes this.
    02-04-12 08:09 PM
  20. blue_k's Avatar
    i think they will never be mainstream again, but i don't think they will be going anytime soon.
    02-04-12 08:14 PM
  21. NJPhilliesPhan's Avatar
    I hope for the sake of Blackberry that they eliminate all those antiquated keyboard phones. Touchscreen is the now.
    02-04-12 09:08 PM
  22. Bozarth's Avatar
    I don't think they are going to be gone anytime soon, but virtual keyboards are at the top of the smartphone food chain.

    And I personally disagree with the arguments that physical keyboards are CURRENTLY better than virtual ones; I can change the keyboard on my Android phone and customize it however I wish, which you can't do with a physical keyboard. I have wide thumbs; I have a hard time using most physical keyboards.

    BUT. There's going to be the day that RIM ''gets it right" with a keyboard that makes the ones on the newest model of the Bold seem like garbage (which it is NOT). And that will really open up the debate.
    02-04-12 09:37 PM
  23. NFLPLAYBOOK's Avatar
    The biggest advantage to the BB keyboards is most people can type with one hand and they like that. Even though a Swype type keyboard is faster I still couldn't do that. I perfer the larger screen so I am willing to give up the physical keyboard. Plus there's always the option of a bluetooth keyboard. I think slider keyboards are the best compromise when creating a phone. You can keep the screen size with a slight thickness increase. Bring on the BB10 landscape slider phones.
    02-04-12 10:28 PM
  24. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    Yep, count me in as one of those who said an all-touchscreen would never work. friends still poke fun at me today, even though I don't see myself returning to a physical keyboard.

    I figure there will always be a market for physical keyboards...
    02-04-12 11:01 PM
  25. sashlon's Avatar
    I HATE the touch screen keyboards. I hope BB never drop their keyboard phones.
    02-05-12 03:35 AM
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