Where did all the keyboards go?

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by sp0rk, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. sp0rk

    sp0rk New Member

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    Hey guys!

    I'm on the market for a new Android phone. I currently have the first generation Moto Droid (I think I bought it like a week after it came out) with the physical QWERTY keyboard.

    As I'm shopping around, I'm very much disappointed with the lack of physical keyboards on Android smartphones. The new Droid Pro has a Blackberry-esque physical QWERTY (which I would go back to, if the screen wasn't so damned small) and the Droid 2 Global. Everything else is virtual!

    One of the primary reasons I moved to the Droid instead of the iPhone (besides </3 Jobs and Apple's communist reign) was the fact it had a physical keyboard AND virtual. I admit, I use the virtual keyboard often but sometimes it's better (and faster) to use the physical keyboard.

    So, was there a reason for removing the physical keyboards and opting for virtual as the primary? I know I've had to replace my Droid once because the key cover wasn't touching the keys anymore but surely it wasn't due to having to replace those phones.

    - Logan
     
  2. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    A physical keyboard makes the phone thicker and more complicated.

    The iPhone has no physical keyboard. This is a big reason phone mfr's aren't making so many new phones with keyboards. iPhone envy.

    Phone manufacturers have it in their head that a hardware keyboard isn't desirable, yet RIM keeps making them and selling them. Not only that, but how many phones are stressed as "messaging phones" by AT&T and Verizon and Sprint that are dumbphones with a hardware keyboard (and often a secondary LCD screen nowadays)?

    I like having a hardware keyboard as a backup, and I'd love a better one than my D1 has (I have an old injury to my left thumb that makes typing on it very uncomfortable), so it's on my shopping list for my replacement phone in a year. :)
     
  3. sp0rk

    sp0rk New Member

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    I can see thicker and more complicated, because that's exactly what my Droid is in comparison to the iPhone. I've gotten dirt and grit lodged up there there that scratched the hell out of my old phone until I blew it out with some compressed air.

    As for the Blackberry keyboard, I loved being able to type with my thumbs. I could hypothetically drive and text with one hand. It was small and squished, but they had perfected it when it came to my model (I had the World and Curve). However, i guess for you, thumbing your words is out of the question. :)

    I'd sorely disappointed in manufacturers if they're getting rid of physical keyboards just because the iPhone doesn't have one. Where's the creativity and individualism that's gotten us this far in technology? Apple sure as hell has it. It seems like Apple is the IBM of the 1980s: everyone is making clones. I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to this stuff, apparently.

    I suppose if I were a cellphone manufacturer, I'd copy the best selling cellphone on the market just to get a piece of their market share. The Droid was revolutionary, I admit. It was sizable competition for the iPhone--something we had never had.
     
  4. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    True all of that except one thing -- I do type with my thumbs. The keys are just too cramped for long-term use on the hardware keyboard for me. On the virtual keyboard I type just fine because the keys are spaced further apart. :)

    I just use Swype in portrait mode because I have FAT thumbs. :D

    I completely agree. I would LOVE a keyboard similar to the Ally's or any other decent keyboard out there. However, I do kind of like the d-pad...
     
  5. sp0rk

    sp0rk New Member

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    I attempted to use Swype and I wasn't too thrilled about it but I'm still bias to Shapewriter. Especially since it was pulled from the market, I've clinged to it a bit hard since I probably couldn't get it back too easily.

    I remember typing so much on my Blackberry I'd literally get thumb cramps and have to stop for a while. Oh, those were the days. :3

    At any rate, I'll probably give in and buy the Droid X for now. Nothing else is really appealing.
     
  6. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    Swype takes some getting used to. Once you do (and the new version is a lot more accurate) it's a lot better than trying to use the cramped virtual keyboard in portrait mode.

    There's a keyboard over on XDA called the Thumb Keyboard. It moves stuff onto two different levels. I had all kinds of problems with it. Also there's 8pen but that's just nuts.

    As for the phone, the X is a great choice, but if you can hold on for another couple of months the new superphones are due to hit. Those will ship with Gingerbread (reportedly) and sport things like dual-core CPUs and even more RAM (I think I saw a report on that) and all sorts of stuff that are just awesome. :)
     
  7. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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  8. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    Oh, and apparently I was using version 1.01 or something. I may have to try the last Lite version out to see if it improved. I like the new key layout in landscape. :)
     
  9. sp0rk

    sp0rk New Member

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    I may have to hold off for a new more months. I've been using the Droid 1 for a while, why not a little longer. :) I'm just not thrilled about how sluggish apps can get. Plus, I really like my snowing live wallpaper. D:

    I'm going to have to try out the Thumb keyboard. It seems like a really interesting concept! The only thing I can see myself disliking is the real estate the keyboard takes up, but I guess there's honestly no other way of doing it with this sort of keyboard. Hmph.

    Did you ever use Shapewriter?
     
  10. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    No, I didn't. I didn't get my Droid till May and didn't really do anything with it till June except a few games.
     
  11. sp0rk

    sp0rk New Member

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    Ahhh. I'm sure it was off the market by then. It was technology originally developed by IBM, I believe. Pretty nifty stuff.

    Sent from my Droid using DroidForums App
     
  12. furbearingmammal

    furbearingmammal Super Moderator

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    Ah, yes, the company responsible for Shapewriter was bought out and the new parent company wanted to turn it into a paid app, but has done nothing since then. Typical.