Thursday, January 13, 2011

haptic versus standard phone keyboard

It comes down to this: I typed faster on my old BlackBerry than I now do on my Droid X. The Droid's flat-screen, haptic (i.e., touch) keyboard is too sensitive for my overlarge fingers. Despite the predictive software that anticipates the words I'm writing, my typing speed is curtailed by my constant need to stop and correct typos. Big hands and smart phones don't mix.

The major advantage of the haptic keyboard, though, is that, because it's a flat screen, a clever programmer can create graphical keyboards of any shape and size within the limits of practicality. This has real-world implications when you consider the lack of an international standard for keyboards: why force everyone to cleave to one standard when you can simulate all current keyboards, alphabetic (Arabic, English, French, Korean, Russian, etc.) and non-alphabetic (Chinese, Japanese, etc.)?

Of course, being able to interface with your phone in any language on the planet doesn't automatically mean you'll experience no problems. Check out this forum of frustrated folks trying to text in Korean on the Droid. A lot still needs to change before we'll truly have phones that can handle any language.

In all, despite the haptic keyboard's advantages, I'd rather have the standard keyboard. Although the BlackBerry's keyboard was too small for my enormous thumbs, it was decidedly easier to use than the Droid's. I typed out some long blog posts on that BlackBerry during my walk.


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