Is you Is or Is you Aint my QWERTY?

QWERTY keyboards on cellphones have been a matter of contention since their invention.  You can find thread after thread in dozens of forums that either love or hate them. With few exceptions, its all pretty much subjective.  Everybody has their opinion of what makes a good keyboard.  So here’s mine.

I have had many, many cell phones ever since my first one in 1992.  I’ve been on the smartphone/pda train since my first Palm Pilot.  My first qwerty phone would have been the Palm Treo 650.  I absolutely loved that phone!  If it hadn’t been a “work” phone that I had to turn in when I left, I’d probably still have that brick!  It was bulky, it was heavy, but it worked beautifully! The original “open source” smartphone.  The vertical keyboard was perfect for my large hands.  I could fire off a large email in  no time.  My texting speed was ridiculous.  The keyboard was a decent width and the buttons had just the right amount of movement.  My next favorite was my Helio Ocean.  It was a dual slider phone with a landscape keyboard.  Being landscape oriented, it was a near perfect width.  The movement of the buttons wasnt as tactile as the Treo but still very good.  Then came my Blackberry Curve.  That phone has one of the best vertical keyboards I have ever used.  I dont see how it can get much better than that keyboard without radically changing the shape of the phone.  Good width, tactile, raised buttons, backlit, near perfection.

Now enter the world of touch screen.  My first foray in to on-screen keyboards was with my Ipod Touch.  Took me about 2 weeks to really get the hang of it.  Now, in vertical (portrait) mode, I can type nearly as fast as I could on my Blackberry.  I prefer portrait mode, as in landscape mode I seem to take more time looking for keys.  I like not having to slide out a hard keyboard every time input is need.  Plus its out of the way when not needed.  My experience with my Ipod heavily influenced my decision on the Sprint HTC Hero, once I’d decided to go Android.

The Hero on-screen keyboard is very comparable to that of the Ipod Touch/iPhone.  Now since Android has so many manufacturers and versions, your mileage may very, but I can tell you the Hero touchscreen keyboard is very responsive and easy to calibrate.  To be honest, the Ipod keyboard still gets slightly higher marks, as the layout is spaced a bit better; and the Apple touchscreen is slightly better.  I haven’t missed the hard keyboard hardly at all.  No, that wasnt a bad pun.  Just awkward wording lol.  As with the Ipod keyboard, I prefer the portrait mode as opposed to the landscape.

Swype you say?  The jury is still out on that one.  I dont know if my typing style would transition well to “sliding” as to “tapping”.  I’m debating on loading it up and playing with it, but I think I may wait until I get another Android unit.  Till then…

Ciao!