The Last QWERTY Bender

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BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

In the last few weeks, all the articles that I have written and published here on Mobility blog were all typed out on the Blackberry Bold Touch 9900. I cranked out article after article without stress and without typos, formatted them, and published them all from that single device.

I have been active on Twitter like never before, with my average daily tweets climbing to over 40.

As a matter of fact, since the arrival of that Blackberry, every other smartphone in my collection became less important. Yes; each has its strengths and use case scenarios, but none made me as productive as the 9900.

Reason: the hardware QWERTY keyboard in the handy bar form factor.

Hell Is Two Touchscreen Smartphones

Last Thursday, I ended up with two touchscreen-only devices in my hands – the Samsung Galaxy S II and the BlackBerry 9380 (a review device that RIM loaned us for two weeks). Immediately, my tweeting went down the hill, and I found myself unable to type out my articles until I get to a PC – laptop or desktop.

Life has been hell this long weekend without a mobile that has a hardware QWERTY keyboard.

Have you watched the movie, The Last Air Bender? If you haven’t, go watch it. If you have, you know exactly what I mean when I say that you can call me the last QWERTY bender. I will wear that tag with pride.

From Sliding QWERTY To QWERTY Messenger

The slider QWERTY (and communicator) form factor used to be my preferred. Now, I think that I’m totally in love with the bar form factor that Nokia and BlackBerry have made popular. Every manufacturer is churning out devices in that form now too. I think they are on to something.

Yes; you lose the large display, but you gain lots of convenience, comfort and some usability. QWERTY messengers are just convenient to carry and use.

To Infinity And Beyond!

Till manufacturers actually stop producing hardware QWERTY messengers, I will always have at least one in my arsenal.

Signed.

The Last QWERTY Bender

41 comments

  1. if nt QWERTY 4get it,… Thats why i stick wit my beloved nokia E6 it gives me convinence and comfort typing on…

    Signed: another qwerty bender…

  2. Hmm. This promises to be an elongated, bloodbath battle in the comment section with most guys drawing a Line on the sand and taking sides.

    Yes I use a Barform QWERTY device. Yes, the QWERTY keypad IS GOOD. No, for better productivity, I prefer my only-Touch screen device. That’s just me. I wouldn’t enumerate all the merits of a touchscreen device over a hardware one so as not to to be the first to draw this inevitable battle. However, apart from the tactile buttons and typing in the dark, I couldn’t think of any other advantage of the Hardware QWERTY.

    Yes, Nokia and Blackberry have done a lot popularise the Hardware QWERTY Candy bar form factor! However I prefer the mix of touchscreen and hardware key combination as implemented on the Nokia E6 and Blackberry Bold 9900. I call them the Zenith. There are at the very sweet spot where Hardware QWERTY Meets Touchscreen. A best of both worlds, if you ask me. That’s the way of the world. That should be where Tech should go. At least for my peace of mind!

  3. I’m pretty happy the Bold 9900 comes with both touchscreen and qwerty ’cause I sincerely wouldn’t know what to do on an all touch screen device. Typing on those things is mega – awkward for me.

    One advantage does stand out for me when both text input forms are combined on a device. In the event that the trackpad dies on me again, like my curve 3 did after 9months, I can easily switch to clicking with the touchscreen until I can fix the damn trackpad 😀

  4. ”However I prefer the mix
    of touchscreen and
    hardware key
    combination as
    implemented on the
    Nokia E6 and Blackberry
    Bold 9900. I call them
    the Zenith.”

    You know one problem with your Zeniths? Less screen space! If something is at its zenith i don’t expect it to have flaws again, but since this one does, i guess its not yet the zenith…

  5. I prefer touchscreen.

    (
    and I found myself unable to type out my articles until I get to a PC – laptop or desktop.
    )

    hmm. That mental block!

    What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve – dale carnegie

    Like faith, you can not convince anybody of what they have a mental block against.

    You can not teach a Mr Mobility new tricks. (Now-why did the phrase ‘old dog’ come to my mind?)

    The film ‘the last of the Mohicans’ is a film i have never watched. But – Mr Mobility may well be ‘the last of the Qwertians’ – as the world is almost totally abandoning QWERTy…

  6. true talk. portability is the main reason why i still use my nokia e63 and kinda prefer it to the slider qwerty. As for the bb clique i’m still waiting for someone to ‘dash’ me one. Cant wait for unlimited data on etisalat.

  7. @Eye.bee.kay. You have started again oh. Anyway every man has his own choice. Just because iphone and galaxy phone sells donts mean qwetry is becoming extinct. Just accept you used to your touch screen while other love typing on qwetry(mostly those who type alot not just 100 words a day) Touch screen to me is only good for multimedia.

  8. the last alphanumeric plus traditional navigation keypad bender. t9 input keeps getting better…

  9. QWERTY is still very much alive especially in the business circles where peeps need to be super productive on the go!

    Bros, are u saying we the ‘touchy’ folks are not (cannot be) super productive?

    For almost any QWERTy phone released, you have a lot more touch phones posted into the market. It is a trend that is going to get stronger. People should just flow with it, and not fight a losing battle!

    However, apart from the tactile buttons and typing in the dark, I couldn’t think of any other advantage of the Hardware QWERTY.

    Well, i certainly can type on my touchscreen in the dark, AfewGoodMan! So can U!

    Typing on those things is mega– awkward for me.

    Dok Chux, learning ANYTHING new is almost always awkward @ first. It just needs a mind shift! There are more advantages in being ‘touchy’.

    …the event that the trackpad dies on me again, like my curve 3 did after 9months,

    You see? That is one of the Achille’s Heel of qwerty keypads. My infamous touchscreen is still kicking after more n THREE years of brutal use! My friend’s Nokia e71 (which he bought the same time i bought my Nokia 5800) physi_keypad has gone to pieces!

    Change is the only constant in life, folks!

  10. @EBK: the trackpad and the keypad are two different thingz oh! If I can rubbish my trackpad in less than 9 months, imagine what I would probably do to a touchscreen in less!

    Aside from the iPhone, I’ve found that I sometimes need to press hard on the touchscreen to get letters out.

    Anyway I love the tactile feel of the qwerty pad jor! 😀

  11. I have a feature phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and have been trying, though not so hard to do it the physical QWERTY way without much success.

    For me, the touchscreen keyboard will remain my choice so long as there are still touchscreen devices out there. I’m more productive on touchscreen and the level of mistakes is very acceptable that I can’t guarantee better accuracy on physical QWERTY.

    @Eye.Bee.Kay

    You see ? That is one of the Achille ’s Heel of qwerty keypads . My infamous touchscreen is still kicking after more n THREE years of brutal use ! My friend ’s Nokia e 71 (which he bought the same time i bought my Nokia 5800) physi _keypad has gone to pieces!

    If I still remember, the problems you are having with the device now apart from limitations that are made manifest as a result of advancement in technology and shift in trend, are the few physical buttons on the device, though I understand this article is not about durability but rather about productivity.

  12. @Harry: just like you have iphone touchscreen and other touchscreens, you have blackberry qwerty keypad and other keypads. I dumped the LG x330 for Nokia Asha 200 ’cause the keypad was killing me. Ordinary sms was a chore on that phone as I had to keep pressing hard on the buttons.

    What I’m trying to say is that it depends on the quality of the text input form.

  13. @Chukwudi Udegbunam
    Since I swipe predominantly, I can’t imagine any physical QWERTY keyboard bettering my TouchPal touchscreen keyboard for now no matter how good such a keyboard may be, except a desktop or laptop keyboard.

    Apple iPhone keyboard may be good, but since I’m not likely going to be swiping on it, it just can’t be good enough.

  14. The problem I have with touchscreen keyboards is that some are simply superior than others. Problem is, the superior ones are in a minority. A very minor minority.

    I agree about the Bold 9900 and the Bold 9790. After using a touchscreen phone I found myself automatically touching the screens of the Blackberry. Those two right now are probably the only phones in the lineup I would choose.

  15. Different strokes for different folks..
    I’m loving my touchscreen qwerty…
    moved from my N97 to my SGS2 and cant see myself using any other physical qwerty keyboard..

  16. the trackpad and the keypad are two different thingz oh!

    Sure they are. Just saying that, on ANY DEVICE, touchscreen_based input is better than physical.

    Check out the cockpit of airplanes, the dashboard of modern cars, television sets etc..what do you see? Analogue is being replaced by digital.

    Aside from the iPhone, I’ve found that I sometimes need to press hard on the touchscreen to get letters out.

    You answered that point yourself.

    You said,

    just like you have iphone touchscreen and other touchscreens, you have blackberry qwerty keypad and other keypads. I dumped the LG x330 for Nokia Asha 200 ’cause the keypad was killing me. Ordinary sms was a chore on that phone as I had to keep pressing hard on the buttons.
    What I’m trying to say is that it depends on the qualit/y

    I bet u are refereeing to Chinco phones there!

    My Resistive Nokia 5800 does not need any hard pressing. Certainly not as hard as on a physical QWERTY. Yet another point for the’touchy’ adherents.

  17. @Harry Echemco, sorry but in my opinion, the iPhone keyboard is indeed superior to TouchPal swiping keyboard.

    The TouchPal keyboard is ok but I hated the upgrade (and it seems I wasn’t the only one). I’ve dumped it and found a better non-swipe keyboard which is far more intuitive.

  18. @Noni

    The problem I have with touchscreen keyboards is that some are simply superior than others. Problem is, the superior ones are in a minority. A very minor minority.

    I do not see anything wrong with the superior keyboards being in the minority except there are some serious shortcomings with being in the minority which you did not indicate. All I can deduce from your use of the word superior is that it is very subjective.

    I mean, if it works for you, being in the minority shouldn’t matter so much. It shouldn’t be about the crowd but rather about you and getting your job done.

  19. I prefer the qwerty keyboard cos typing is easier. I once used Nokia N8 the phone was great BUT the touch screen. I always felt lazy to type with it cos of the touch sreen. I also had issues with copy and paste in some apps I used & found myself frustrated at times ,coupled with my large fingers. Now I’m on curve 3, its a great sigh of relief.

  20. if you asked me i think why more people may prefer to use a hardware keyboard is because many phone manufacturers find it hard to stike that delicate balance between a great hardware (capacitative screens) and the software written for the keyboard in the operating system. Very few companies (a good example is Apple, Windows tango’s keyboard has also been praised and so has Nokia’s meego) have both in the devices they push out. While more manufacturers are abandoning the resistive screen for the more responsive capacitative screen, they have refused to go back to the drawing board to write a good software for their keyboard. This is evident in nokia’s latest os – Nokia Belle. The devices are cool but the keyboard still sucks. hopefully these manufacturers will hear our call sooner than later.

    all these you dont worry about if you hardly use the onscreen keyboard or if you have a hardware keyboard.

  21. @Chukwudi

    ” I dumped the LG x330 for Nokia Asha 200 ’cause the keypad was killing me. Ordinary sms was a chore on that phone as I had to keep pressing hard on the buttons. ”

    I did the same my brother. But have you tried the keypad on Samsung Chat? It is far better to use and friendly to the fingers than that on Nokia Asha although the Asha overall is a better phone.

    For functionality, I think qwerty hardware keys are superior. You have more control and you make less mistakes. Also, no software to suggest and insert funny words you don’t intend to use. My last article on my website “Hypertension- The Silent Destroyer (Part 2)” was entirely written on my old trusty BB Curve 8900 while lying on my bed. I only transferred to the laptop to add the thumbnails. Am sure if I had the likes of BB 9900, the laptop would have not been necessary. I could not have done such article lying down face up using my iPad. It’s too heavy and the keypad too wide for such lengthy write up. The iPhone could have been a good alternative but in landscape, the keys are still too closely spaced for a comfortable and error free lengthy work.

    But I must quickly add that a touchscreen phone has my vote any day when you consider overall performance. The big screen to play with, the multimedia, reading ebooks, browsing….. You just can’t beat touchscreen phones.

  22. Also,no software to suggest and insert funny words you don’t intend to use

    Increasingly capable software will, in time, totally address such problems.

    Imagine typing,

    “Lleasexqllme”

    and your soft keyboard being intelligent enough to know that you mean

    “Please call me”

    It has already happened with SwuftKey.

    That is just the beginning of possibilities with touchscreen keyboard software…

  23. @Saidigie You can’t have it all, mate! There’re levels of compromise I’m ready to tolerate! Too much and I’d lose my peace of mind! But don’t dare give me an Only Hardware QWERTY Device!

  24. @Deoladoctor it appears that you do not use the split keyboard functionality on your iPad. If not, that wouldn’t be a problem. And for Gawd’s sakes, Chief, predictive Text input is optional. If you don’t want it, then turn the thing off.

    ( ” But I must quickly add that a touchscreen phone has my vote any day when you consider overall performance. The big screen to play with, the multimedia, reading ebooks, browsing….. You just can’t beat touchscreen phones.” )

    That statement you said last, Oga is from my mind! It appears you stole that statement from my mind. I agree with it totally!

  25. @deola: samsung feature phones are a hot mess! The number of curses they get on their facebook fan page cos of such phones is pretty alarming yet they still keep churning them.

    I do agree that the only enticing thing about all touchscreen phones is the large screen size for gaming and multimedia.

    By the way I player with Sony Xperia today for like 3 minutes and the touchscreen was quite responsive. Typing on it wasn’t so difficult tgough I had to keep looking at the screen so as not to make typos.

  26. Did anyone notice that the flagship phones for all the platforms’re full touchscreens?

    The face of Android, Samsung Galaxy SII-check.

    The ios’ iPhone-check

    The WP7’s Lumia 900-check

    Symbian’s very own Nokia 808 PureVieW-check

    Blackberry’s Bold 9900-che…well, its not news anymore that the new BB 10 OS is rumored to feature a full touchscreen devices.
    So i guess its pertinent to say: Res ipsa loquitur. If these’re supposed to be the role-model, big brother, alpha phones of their platforms(with the exception of Bold 9900) and they don’t have any hardware qwerty keypad, Mister Mobility, do you still think hardware qwerty is still that paramount?

    The fastest typer in the world achieved some over-the-top typing speeds on a SGS II, fancy that.

  27. @Chukwudi

    Yeah! Samsung feature phones suck. But I was referring only to the KEYPAD on Samsung Chat 222. It beats that on the Nokia Asha hands down. Try have a feel of it and see what I mean. It’s almost as smooth as those on BB.

    @afewgoodmen,

    It is ad enough working with a massive keypad on iPad. Splitting it in two only makes things worse. The keypad now becomes two tiny keypad halves and you now have to start doing a dance with your eyes left and right searching for keys that are now in unfamiliar settings. Sorry, it doesn’t quite cut it for me.

  28. I have used T9 more than any other form of input. Used qwerty for a while on a BB Bold 9700. It was good but kept having blisters after few hours of typing. It was good but it had its disadvantage too.now using a full touch phone and have since adjusted again and am loving it everyday. Can type for hours on end without feeling anything.

    @eyebeekay. May I ask whats your favourite input system on ur phone? Alphanumeric T9? Portratit qwerty? Landscape? Swype? What do u use most of the time

  29. Eye.bee.kay:

    Please do not say the touch of your resistive touchscreen is better. I used to own a 5800, you have to punch the screen for the screen to respond. Here you are again saying touch is better. Typing using a resistive screen is the most painful way of typing. It is really frustrating. That is why when we read your comments, it is full of symbols or words that should not be there.

  30. @eyebeekay. May I ask whats your favourite input system on ur phone? Alphanumeric T9? Portratit qwerty? Landscape? Swype?

    Shayman, i predominantly use Swype in portrait mode. I have quickrotate which allows me change screen orientation witha tap. that way, i switch between the two modes effortless without using the sensor

    It was good but kept having blisters after few hours of typing.

    When i was using a Nokia 3250, you need to see the blisters on my thumb. Another ill of physical keypads..

  31. @eyebeekay swype is great sha. Just prefer an input system that allow me enter my words. But I found out Swype is the best way to enter long sentences on touch phones sha. Where did u download the quickrotate app. Can I have a link for symbian belle version pls

  32. @ saiddigge
    On Point!!!
    typing on the SGS 2 and SGNote is awesome..
    effortless. even with my large thumbs, I glide through the keypad without issues.
    RIM just woke up from their slumber to consider providing BB 10 devices with full touchscreen like samsung, HTC,
    its the future…..

  33. It is always awkward @ the beginning when using a touchscreen but the more you use it, the better you get @ using it? Keyboard such as swype and swiftKey X even made it easier. I also think they av the most intelligent copy and paste.

  34. This tactile everyone is talking about as the attraction on hardware keyboard is same as the haptic feedback on touch keyboards. I am a sucker for keyboards, so a single hardware keyboard may not be enough for me. I use Swype /TouchPal whenever single finger is all I can offer to type with and several others (ICS, swiftkey x/ 3 beta, thumb keyboard, better keyboard, e.t.c. I just choose any as it pleases me.

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