Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Disadvantage of the Touch Screen Keyboard is Not That It Lacks Keys

After two weeks w/ the iPhone, I thought "Anyone who is worried about not having a keyboard b/c they don't think they'll be able to type just hasn't tried it before."  After 24 hours w/ the T-Mobile/Google/HTC G2 I still agree with that statement, but realized that it misses the point.  The problem w/ typing on the iPhone (or any other phone w/o a physical keyboard) isn't the typing per se ... it's that the keyboard takes up half the screen!  I was perplexed by the decision to include a physical keyboard on the G2 initially, until I started using it and reallized that for applications requiring text imput (which includes web browsing, maps, SMS, twitter, and most other social applications in addition to email) it makes the effective screen size much bigger than the iPhone - or even the mammoth 4.3" Droid X phone.

So, while for short bits of text or applications in which key input is secondary or limited to a lesser number of keys, such as dialing, I use the on screen keyboard with no problem, for longer text writing (including this and my last post), I use the slide out keyboard.  The extra weight is slightly annoying, but I'm willing to put up with it for the best of both input worlds.


Some thoughts for the future:
- I wouldn't be surprised if in the next generation or two of phones we saw phones w/ a slide-out second screen instead of a slide out keyboard, where the OS automatically moved the keyboard to the second screen in typing applications.
- In Korean this probably won't be as much of a problem due to the uniquely fast method of inputting the Hangul alphabet on a feature phone keyboard

Posted via email from SYSTEMS ANALYSIS

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