Why are There No Good Phones with Physical Keyboards?

Posted Dec 01, 2012 at 6:08 pm in Threads > Smartphones & Tablets

This is something that has had me extremely frustrated recently. I owned the HTC G1 back in the day and absolutely loved the device. For the last two years I have been using a Samsung Alias 2, the one with the e-ink under the keyboard buttons. It totally sucks as a phone, but my parents payed for it and it was better than having nothing. For the past 6 months I have been looking to buy a new phone now that I can actually afford one, but I can’t find anything that I actually want.

I was really looking forward to the Nexus 4, but I am extremely hesitant at this point because of its lack of a physical keyboard. A couple months ago I got a hand-me-down Nexus S and I have been playing around with it. It is a really fun device, and I have really enjoyed rooting it, putting custom ROMs on it, and all that fun stuff. But, I find myself constantly getting completely frustrated at the device because it is so difficult to use the on-screen keyboard.

I went into it knowing that it was going to take a long time to adjust to not using something physical, but it has been two months. I have tried the default keyboard, the new 4.2 keyboard, Swype, and SwiftKey. No matter what software I use, I am constantly mistyping letters and words and it drives me mad and is extremely frustrating. It is so annoying, that I actually still use my Samsung Alias 2 to send text messages and my Nexus S’s only use is to stream Pandora at work.

Anybody else here in a similar situation as me and just really wish they had a physical keyboard on their phone? I know there is the Droid 4, but I won’t pay for Verizon. Outside of that, all the phones that have keyboards are basically crappy 4-row boards, with 2-3 generation old internals.

So, do I just suck it up and get a Nexus 4? Or do I wait for eternity in hopes of somebody coming out with a good phone with a keyboard?

  • spintrex

    They do have cases for the iphone that act as a physical keyboard…. hopefully they make a version for Android but it might not seem too likely since there are so many different shapes for Android as it is..

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matrix/spike-makes-the-iphone-as-easy-to-type-on-as-it-is

    On screen keyboards aren’t AS bad but I will agree that the physical keyboard still caused less headache, I am constantly frustrated with HTC’s Sense keyboard but am looking into getting Swiftkey soon.

    • NamelessTed

      Yeah, I wouldn’t even want something like that keyboard even if it were available for a phone that I would actually use. I don’t like having thick cases on a phone or anything. The keys also look super small since it is forced in portrait and only 3 rows. Don’t get me wrong, it might be better than a touchscreen keyboard, it just isn’t what I would want.

      • spintrex

        Lol yeah same here but it was an alternative. Either way all flagship devices have on-screen keyboards and it looks like that has been the norm for some time.

        • zerosix

          How about Motorola Droid? It has a qwerty.

          • McLovin

            They glued the battery in to make it non-removable!

        • MC_Android

          +1, Hard truth but if you want a “flagship” phone with a physical keyboard, then you’re probably out of luck…Even RIM is moving away from it to appeal to the mainstream consumer in BB10…

          • bear831

            I was quite disappointed when Blackberry (formally RIM) announced they made the “hard choice” to develop their own OS over choosing a preexisting one such as Android. Having a portrait keyboard on a well built device would have greatly intrigued me. A slider portrait keyboard phone with the legendary blackberry keyboard running flagship level specs would have won me over instantly but alas they decided to forge their own path into oblivion. I do hope the company the best, especially in the portrait keyboard market as a manufacturer such as Motorola or HTC might see it as a viable market in the wake of Blackberry carving a market for its own.

          • Sari

            That’s funny, sounds like someone in the company gave a BS answer to justify it. Everyone I know wants a physical physical keyboard. I’m personally debating a life without a smartphone once I’m free of crappy AT&T because I will not pay all that money to get a product that isn’t what I want.

      • http://www.anoop.ch anoopch

        Use the DROID 4 or the Photon Q

    • Gwen

      People who have handicaps still would enjoy the benefit of a larger smart phone screen that still has a sliding keyboard. Think about it. So If one already exist please forward me the name and information on it. I currently have a Drod 4. gilchristgwen@hotmail.com

  • redraider133

    They are moving away from them because it is what people want. I mean look at the sales of the phones and also how the screens are becoming larger and the software keyboards becoming better, most do not even think about needing a physical keyboard anymore.

    • Tom D

      Keyboards are nice if you are using an emulator (dosbox), a terminal or ssh client, a remote control app, or typing documents. These are things I frequently do.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    The #1 reason hardware keyboards are going away is because the trend is to thinner phones and a keyboard makes a phone MUCH MUCH thicker

    The #2 reason is because they cost quite a bit to add.

    The #3 reason is because the majority of people don’t want them anymore (probably mostly because of #1).

    • Charlong666

      While I agree about #1 and #2, I feel that #3 a result of #1. I believe people are just getting more used to on screen keyboards, and don’t see the point to them as much anymore.

      It doesn’t help that the people that want physical keyboards are an extreme minority.

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Unfortunately, it’s the same thing for people who want a superphone with a 3.7″ screen.

        Fortunately, I like the devices with ~4.75″ screens and as long as I have Swype or the new Nexus 4 keyboard, I’m fine with a virtual keyboard. Without Swype, I HATE virtual keyboards.

        So yeah, I’m lucky here. But this is a bummer for those who like those things.

        • Charlong666

          I think most people can deal with a 4″ ish screen, I think they still make those haha.

    • gmaninvan

      Add in durability. In the case of a slider the mechanical mechanisms are prone to breaking.

  • DroidPower

    if a super nice keyboard means that much to you, get a blackberry (in all seriousness).

    RIM was the only company to really bet on the physical keyboards (hence the reason why they didn’t have a good touchscreen phone until … hopefully sometime in the near future).

    like the other users have said, the trend is moving away from physical keys, so it’ll be harder and harder to find a device with that. i think any of the new android phones with the best specs will definitely not have a keyboard. You should probably reconsider why the keyboard is this important to you.

    • redraider133

      Well it seems like moto still makes a phone once a year with a keyboard with their droid line so I am sure they will keep doing that. I mean it doesn’t give you many choices but at least it keeps you on android.

      • NamelessTed

        Yeah, my brother has the Droid 4. He actually waited several months when they delayed it again and again just so he could get the physical keyboard. If the phone weren’t locked to Verizon I would almost certainly get one.

        I am really hoping since Google owns Motorola Mobile now they might extend their phones to other carriers or maybe come out with a Nexus Keyboard phone. Though I could be waiting for eternity.

    • NamelessTed

      IMO the Blackberry keyboards suck. The keys are just crammed in way too close together. A touchscreen keyboard on a 4.7″ display is going to be bigger than those stupid little blackberries.

      I also don’t think I need to reconsider why the keyboard is important to me. It is simple, it makes typing WAY easier. I want to use my phone to send text messages, emails, and talk on gtalk in addition to searching things on the web. All of these things require typing words. A good physical keyboard is essential to typing better. It is the same reason that I use a $150 mechanical keyboard on my computer and not some shitty $10 rubber dome piece of shit.

      • DroidPower

        ah, got cha. well then, i think it’ll be pretty hard to find a good phone with a good keyboard.

        here’s a total tangent: http://www.brookstone.com/laser-projection-virtual-keyboard

        it def is not what you’re looking for, but just thought i’d share it cuz it looks so damn cool.

        • Cookies700

          Whilst the laser keyboard is really cool, some companies spend ALOT of time, money, and market research, on the touch, feel, recoil pressure, spacing, activating pressures, and overall ergonomics of a physical keyboard and their buttons. I am glad they do, because I dont want to type on one any longer than I have to, so when I do, I dont want to walk away from the keyboard with my fingers having a physical reaction to it whether it be short or long term. Just for fun, try typing without any keyboard on a hard surface such as your desk for a brief amount of time. Try 2minutes or even 30 seconds and tell me your finger tips dont feel any different.

      • bjhats@yahoo..com

        I use my G2 at home for wifi ( don’t need a sim card). Hate obscured only keyboards. The T-mobile relay camera and screen resolution poor.

        I would get the new Droid if not for Verizon.
        Might get an unlocked from another country.

      • Deter

        have you tried playing with the speech recognition? it takes a little for the phone to learn your voice and speech patterns, but after the sub-par keyboard on my Moto Droid I’ve really come to love it. Occasionally i use the swype, but for the most part i just talk to my phone.

        • emmi

          You really don’t care if everyone around you hears your email? I don’t think I could do that. Also, that must annoy the snot out of people. I’m texting BECAUSE I want to be quiet.

    • emmi

      RIM wasn’t the only one. Sidekick bet the farm as well. Too bad microsoft decided to destroy them in a douche move to light a fire under their own internal OS developers.

      There is an android version of the sidekick, which has been the phone of choice for the deaf due to it’s good keyboard. It’s sadly in need of an upgrade now at 2 years old (or so, you’d have to check). But it could be rooted and it does have a excellent keyboard.

      • James

        I have a Sidekick 4G. It has the best keyboard of any phone I’ve seen. Five rows, with a dedicated number row. The keyboard on the G1 which I had previously was pretty good, but this one is even better. The software stability of it wasn’t too good with stock, but some of the custom ROMs are better.

        Sadly, the phone is approaching 2 years old now, with no updated Sidekick. I don’t need so much in an upgrade, just a bigger screen and faster processor. I’d be fine with them keeping the same form factor, if they could reduce the border around the screen to make it a little bigger.

  • kazahani

    Samsung Stratosphere II is a great device with a slide out QWERTY. Motorola Photon Q is pretty good as well.

    • emmi

      Have you actually used that phone? Actual good keyboards do not have the keys in perfect columns up and down. Look at the keyboard on your computer for an example. Significantly reduces the likelihood of hitting the wrong key to have them offset by half a key width. The sort of keyboard on the stratosphere makes me think a graphic artist did the design instead of an ergonomic expert.

      At least they had the sense to put space between the keys on this one. Some phone designers don’t even have the sense to do that.

      Like the author, I’m desperate for a new phone so I will try it out at the store. Thanks for the reference.

  • johna9999

    So, why not go the obvious route and get a bluetooth keyboard that will work with any phone? Just did a quick search and found this one: http://www.amazon.com/Stowaway-Ultra-Slim-Bluetooth-Blackberry-Handhelds/dp/B0002OKCXE It folds up to a reasonably small package and gives you a good sized board. And, like you said, you use a $150 keyboard on your computer, so why not a $70 one for your phone?

    • AFP

      That keyboard looks handy, but it wouldn’t be very convenience for the way most folks use a smartphone. I’d rather someone create a smaller keyboard that I could attach to the base of an Android phone. As someone else mentioned though, the wide variety of Android form factors makes that pretty unlikely.

    • Sari

      Yes why would a person act like an informed consumer and ask why he/she can’t get the product he/she really wanted for a similar price to the one he/she doesn’t want, when one simply has to shake more money off his/her money tree and buy yet another expensive device that takes away from the convienience of using the product in the first place? …hmmm <_<

    • Max

      Totally. Let me just whip out this ultra large keyboard to type on a 4 inch device. >_>

  • johna9999

    Just looked a little deeper at the Amazon page and see that the prices start at $70 for a used unit. $70-110 for used, $130-150 for refurb, and $240 and up for new. I would have thought these deices would be a lot cheaper by now, but the couple of reviews I read are really favorable. That could explain the price. Great quality is almost always worth paying for.

  • a01venky

    i found that samsung galaxy note 2 keyboard is very handy and comfortable in tablets

  • herbivore83

    Try the absurdly named Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G from T-Mobile. It has the 5-row qwerty keyboard you’re looking for, and doesn’t lock you down to Verizon. T-Mobile sells it for $399.99 off contract.

    http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-phone/Samsung-Galaxy-S-Relay-4G-No-Annual-Contract

  • Zagrash

    I was REAL hesitant about dropping a physical keyboard too (I’ve got big hands). I had a G1 and G2, and finally got frustrated seeing no quality phones with a physical keyboard on T-mob. I bit the bullet and ordered a Galaxy Nexus when they became available on the Play store, and have been pleasantly surprised. There are still certainly times that I miss having a keyboard, but I’ve found that Swype ran like butter (there have been a few hiccups with Swype since I got the 4.2.1 update) and was more than adequate for my needs. I’m rarely typing out huge e-mails, or doing a ton of typing on my phone, usually just quick messages, etc. so YMMV.

  • lou2cool88

    I know someone with a Droid 3. They’re really starting to despise the physical keyboard because almost a few months after purchase, some of the keys required a much firmer press than what is normal or comfortable. She’s ended up using the on-screen keyboard more and more and is now angry that the screen-size on the Droid 3 is so small. She can’t wait till she can upgrade to a bigger screen so that on-screen typing will be easier for her. She loves typing on my Galaxy Nexus.

    I had a Thunderbolt and on-screen typing was pretty atrocious but when I upgraded to a Galaxy Nexus, it became a lot easier. I’m thinking the larger the screen, the less you’ll miss your physical keyboard, especially with things like Swype, the new Android keyboard, and voice-to-text accuracy.

    Having said all that, I do hope they keep making physical keyboards for those who want them! Good luck!

  • Moises Rivera

    i understand your pain. I really want a good phone that has the specs that hold up against other phones but has a good physical keyboard as well. From what we’ve seen, many manufacturers have moved away from this and it sucks because i really want a way to type without having my screen freeze up all the time because I’m either typing too fast or my phone is too old and can’t handle it much anymore. One day i hope they meet our expectations!

  • stephen45003

    I thought I’d never be able to get used to a virtual keyboard but now when I look at my old phones that had a keyboard I don’t know how I used them. It will take time but you’ll adjust to a virtual keyboard especially if you use your phone a lot.

  • MisterLee

    You have to give Swiftkey another shot… Im still using the Galaxy S and i love Swiftkey. It does take a bit of getting used to since you’ve stuck to physical keys for so long but eventually you’ll get the hang of it and swiftkey could help with auto correct that isnt horrible lol

  • eggwolio

    I have the Samsung Captivate Glide on AT&T and love it. It’s not a super cutting-edge device, but it’s plenty capable.

  • ATMOSF3AR

    Physical keyboards might go extinct in the near future.So sad for you :(

  • nipunmehta7

    swype ftw

  • tylerfoy

    Physical keyboards are a get-some, loss-some situation. Most people will agree they are usually easier to type on. The flip side is the massive loss of screen space or a bulky phone. (I.e. blackberry or an LG slider).

    With phone users moving towards games and media, the larger screen is more benificial to most than the small inconvenience of a touch screen keyboard.

    In addition, some tech like the android slide-to-type (ICS +) makes the process much easier and quick, once your used to it.

  • marcus1518

    I dont think you will ever lose physical keyboards….there are a large demographic of people that still like the feel of pressing buttons.

  • dino13

    The best keyboard I ever had was my good old friend Palm Pre. Loved it, it was easy to use with one hand.

  • cainneach

    I don’t understand the fuss over all touch screen phones. I’ve always liked HTC’s Snap and then with the Android phones, during Froyo days, I wanted Desire Z and couldn’t get hold of one back then. Then came Gingerbread and HTC stopped working on phones with keyboards (at least for the rest of the world, while T-Mobile still got the G1 etc). I switched to Blackberry from Gingerbread and absolutely loved it (the keyboard). Hopefully they would again bring in phones with keyboard although HTC’s new designs are beautiful the 8X, the One X.. the Droid DNA!!!! Having a QWERTY keyboard is still different.

  • gp126904

    I loathed having to switched from my OG Droid to a phone without a physical keyboard. But after a few weeks of misspelling and cursing at my phone I got used to and got pretty good at typing quickly. I know it will be painful but go ahead and make the switch to the Nexus 4, phone companies will no longer make a phone with a physical keyboard, there isnt enough demand for them anymore sadly.

  • overclockthesun

    Adding physical keyboards to already huge 4.5 inch and > screens would mean an increase in cost. Besides with something as good as Swype, why would one want a physical keyboard. Especially if you have large fingers, they will dance all over the place. But then again, there are a lot of people who would love it. Largely my guess is that the overall price of a phone would increase. Since onscreen kbs are already doing well, manufacturers see no point in adding to the width of a phone.

    • tkarel

      I’ve used several physical keyboards on smarthphones. I like the first B’berry I had: Curve w/ trackball. The replacement had a different keyboard and track_pad_. The different design and build on that keyboard made me re-think RIM as a platform. The Torch keypad is better than the trackpad Curve, but still it slides UP.
      As a starting line-man in high school my left thumb got dinged during an 8-6 win. I’ve used Swype on an EVO 4G. My large fingers and busted thumb like the slide OUT physical keyboard on the Photon Q more than Swype on the 4G. No, they don’t dance all over the place on it.

  • kookeetree

    I have the Captivate Glide that had full qwerty but did not have LTE. Ended up trading it for the Skyrocket and using “thumb keyboard” app. Unfortunately no app can replace a physical qwerty.

  • MagikalTrev

    I would think that the touchscreens seem a little more fluent on newer devices which leads me to the thought of you enjoying the Nexus 4. Every time I touch a new phone I fall in love with the increase of precision. I hope this is not solely coming from my imagination and need for new things but I feel its not the case. Either way, go test drive a nexus 4 if you can.

    As a side note, it seems swype utility is really starting to take over especially with swiftkey flow coming out soon. It just adds efficiency when you really get over the ‘newness’ of it all. Good luck in your decision!

  • sanjeev

    i agree totally physical keyboard is better , it is time for mobile cos. to rethink, there are lot out there who need quality mob. with physical keyboard,

  • tkarel

    I’ve sung the praises of the Motorola Photon Q in other posts here at A&Me, no need to repeat myself.
    Sprint has made them available “free-of-charge w/ new line” in each of the past two months. I think this month’s offer ends today (25 Dec., 2012) or tomorrow.
    My first physical keyboard was on a B’berry with a trackball. Loved that phone until someone swiped it from me. The replacement had the track_pad_ and it felt plasticky and cheap.
    A couple years ago I heard B’berry had a slider. When I got my hands on one. I couldn’t open it. The owner said, “No, look, it opens like this.” I didn’t say anything, but thought “What was RIM thinking? Who needs a slider that slides UP ?”. Yes, it only takes one hand to text, but…
    I’ve tried Swype and liked it on my EVO 4G, but like the backlit physical keyboard on the Photon Q (w/ excellent predictive text) as much or more.
    I hope Motorola’s product development department has a bot that scours the web looking for “physical keyboard” near “love my”. Not just the geek-heavy sites like A&Me, but other sites as well. I hesitated to post my like for the Photon Q and a physical keyboard. I’m glad to see that others on the site have an interest in a high-quality physical keyboard.

  • sonicdeathmunky

    I think an OEM would do well to make a decent phone with keyboard, if only to be able to supply handsets to people who absolutely need one.

  • McLovin

    I was a hard core keyboard guy but have given up since they are not available anymore. I was raised on G1 and G2. I still prefer a physical keyboard for the followig reasons:

    1. No obscuring of the screen like a soft keyboard has. I hate that 3/4ths of my Note 2 gets covered up with the soft keyboard.
    2. Accuracy of physical buttons over soft keys. I never made mistakes with real keys.

  • gmaninvan

    I’ll be honest. I don’t get it. The phones with keyboards add unneccessary bulk and I bet I could type faster with swype than I could with a physical (I have gotten pretty fast). Not to mention the mechanism is another possible source of failure and dust and grime can get in it.

  • Steve

    I would never get a phone without a physical keyboard. I love having the ability to edit c++ code or edit some office document on my device when im on the go and still able to have an unobstructed/ full screen on my Tmoble Mytouch slide 4G. For simple texting and what not, using swype on the display is fine, but for any document of substance a real keyboard is a godsend (especially for inserting symbols and such).

    It would be cool if the industry got together to make standard phone sizes/shapes so a universal aftermarket keyboard can be snapped on to one phone or another, as not all people need a full keyboard, but its sad to see there are no real options available for people like myself who want a miniature laptop in their pocket, rather than some tablet.

    Samsung, Please, Please make a version of the galaxy note 2 with a hardware keyboard!! :)

    • Doc

      I agree with this entirely: I’m an electronic and mechanical engineer and tech, so my priority in selecting a device is as follows:

      Physical Keyboard
      Touchscreen over 3″
      SD Slot (or microSD)
      USB Port
      Android (Open OS)
      Relatively Acceptable Speed and RAM

      I don’t play *any* games on my mobile. If I wanted to play games on a mobile device, I’d use a Gameboy, or something exotic like the Tapwave Zodiac. If the android had a built-in joypad and buttons, then it’d be usable to me as such.

      My primary uses are for web browsing, writing, taking notes, doing technical writing, sending e-mail and SMS, and such; this means I use the keyboard until it falls apart,. and then replace it.

      Because of the lacklustre options on the market, I’m stuck using the crippled Samsung Intercept (M-910), so I would love to see a giant-screen device with a physical keyboard that slides out, and operates in horizontal mode. I don’t care if it is 4-6cm thick. No-one who does any kind of industrial labour cares if a mobile is bulky, as long as it works for everything they need…

      That said, drop the capacitive touchscreen too. Try working one of these things in a lab or workshoppe without the correct type of stylus. Oy…

      I’d buy a good device with a sliding KB and a whopping big screen with lots of RAM and NAND space coupled with a fast CPU for a grand if it was on the market. Loads of professional users would do the same. I don’t need to upgrade every two years; I used a Treo 700 until about a year ago as my primary mobile Internet device, tethered to an Inspiron 910 for application net access.

      I would love something big and chunky that is hard to break on top of it all. I actually designed devices like that for the industrial market that were never produced because there wasn’t enough ‘consumer demand’, and it really irks me that if a company made even as few as 25,000 units, that they would sell-out and still profit from it, but that they won’t bother producing such a small quantity because they want to devote their ‘marketing resources’ to inferior rubbish like this Intercept.

      Sadly, I don’t have the productive capability to manufacture my own designs, and they’re antiquated now as well, despite being technically superior to what is on the market, so it would cost even more to make then due to parts unavailability… How laughable is that?

  • Denise

    I switched to Sprint because I can’t type for crap on a virtual keyboard and I wanted a Palm Pre rather than an iPhone for that very reason. They discontinued Pre, of course, and when it died I went to HTC Evo Shift, the best physical keyboard phone they had at the time. Time to get my next phone…Android has no decent one with physical keyboard. Blackberry plans to ditch it so why bother getting used to them for one generation of a physical keyboard? Guess what I got? iPhone5. I still can’t type for crap and auto correct sucks, but since any phone now will make me look like I have severe dyslexia, I might as well have cool apps.

  • chestont

    I had an Epic 4G that I loved and have a backup Blackberry I keep I am case my main phone goes down. I have found that as hardware has gotten faster and bigger, the soft keyboards have become much more usable. My favorite combo is using SwiftKey, in portrait mode like a blackberry and pecking away with two thumbs. SwiftKey flow makes it nice for the ability to type out messages one handed as well.

  • Avary Kent

    WOW I feel your pain.

    I recently lost my LG MyTouch Q, which I found to have the best keyboard on the market, a good screen, ok processing etc. When I went to the store and was excited to hear I was eligible for a new phone – I went to see the MyTouch Q and THEY CHANGED THE KEYBOARD AND MADE IT WORSE! Why?! I dont understand – no other keyboard came close. I could take ver batem notes in a meeting on my phone. I could send epic emails for work with almost no typos at all.

    I dont care how thick the phone is – its actually easier to hold when it has a little weight to it. And I have a purse, so what do I care how big it is. The truth is – my phone was just as much my work computer as my 11in air. So a QWERTY keyboard with just the right pressure, just the right spacing, just the right hotkeys (“.com” and “@” were perfect) is invaluable if you use your phone or any real work.

    What if one could make an attachable keyboard for Android that had an adjustable connection to fit with whichever sized form factor you are working with?

  • Joel

    I hear you and I feel your pain. The last phone I had with a decent keyboard was the epic 4g (SGS1) on Sprint. Consider though, theres so much different ways of input now. Id say try and get the nexus 4 OFF contract. (in case a phone with a board comes out later u can transition hassle free) 4.2 and google now voice input are EXTREMELY fluid,accurate, and simple. I used it and using a board/screen was the last thing on my mind.

  • two iron

    Here is the android-world’s best kept secret: virtual keyboards make mistakes only because they inaccurately interpret keystrokes–due to touch tone limitations, not just because the user can’t feel the keys. After two years of going batty with my Samsung virtual keyboard, I began to see that I was often hitting predominately the intended key (80% on), but the neighboring key was being activated. This often happens, for instance, on the “I” key, which is interpreted as the “o” key if my finger is leaning in that direction! But only some times! Its excentric! Maybe this is due to certain key combinations. Not sure.

    Alas, I have done the store demo with various physical keyboards, and find that I don’t fly along with them either, like I did with my.pre-curve Blackberry (Curve is too small in my male hand.) And none of this is quibbling. I used to type 5-6 times as fast with my old Blackberry.

    Its time to face it: The king of cell phones, the android, has no clothes when it comes to speed of typing. That’s kids the kids use abbreviations and acronyms rather than actual words. Takes too long to type the real word!

  • two iron

    Here is the android-world’s best kept secret: virtual keyboards make mistake because they inaccurately interpret keystrokes–due to touch tone limitations, not just because the user can’t feel the keys. After two years of going batty with my Samsung virtual keyboard, I began to see that I was often hitting predominately the intended key (80% on), but the neighboring key was being activated. This often happens, for instance, on the “I” key, which is interpreted as the “o” key if my finger is leaning in that direction! But only some times! Its excentric! Maybe this is due to certain key combinations. Not sure.

    Alas, I have done the store demo with various physical keyboards, and find that I don’t fly along with them either, like I did with my.pre-curve Blackberry (Curve is too small in my male hand.) And none of this is quibbling. I used to type 5-6 times as fast with my old Blackberry.

    Its time to face it: The king of cell phones, the android, has no clothes when it comes to speed of typing. That’s why the kids use abbreviations and acronyms rather than actual words. Takes too long to type the real word accurately!

  • irishrally

    … because most people have figured out that soft keyboards are faster to type on, and offer a much more mass efficient device.

  • pliu.2014

    because the general populous wants thinner phones and bulk of a keyboard is not needed

  • josh
    • Melanie

      The problem wth these is that theyre only made for upright (smaller keys) view, not sideways. if they had one of those for sideways than i could see myself using it!

  • Melanie

    I am actually, just now (may 2013) considering getting the samsung galaxy ace Q. why? physical qwerty! i have an ipod touch (mainly for games) that ive tried typing on. a word or 2 is okay, but i would never be able to engage in a full conversation with it. between lack of buttons, and autocorrect, i could never get my message across!

  • Paul

    I couldn’t agree more, my theory is that they don’t want to give us what we want because once we all have tablet phones with slide out keyboards on a 4g network, we won’t buy any more devices. As we all know corporate models mandate unsustainable growth, I think they are just squeezing us for every nickel they can until we all get what we want, then the device craze will be over and theyll go on to the next technology like brain implant phones or some such thing…..

    • Melanie

      my thought process is that if they are creating bluetooth devices that enable a hardware keyboard. clearly enough people desire them if they are making separate products. so, just include them already!

  • Jorge Eslava

    I used to think the same way but then got used to the touch screen keyboards. Is your issue related to size, feedback or both? If it’s a size issue you can try a galaxy note 1 or 2. If you just like the feel of a physical keyboard you are out of luck since most people have been able to adapt just fine I don’t see manufacturers going back.

  • Scruffy Mom

    There IS an android phone with a beautiful keyboard!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGR9NajME9c
    I can’t figure out (yet) where to buy it in the US and/or if it will work in the US. But that phone looks beautiful.

  • Chad

    20140112 why I like sidekick

    I used to have a sidekick that had an unbelievably good keyboard, jump shortcuts that drop you of of what you are in and put you into whatever you want in under half a second. You never need to learn them, because you set them yourself. Also, unbelievable text-expansion / auto-text, hundreds of entries so that I could type faster on my SK than on my computer. I never needed to learn them since I set them up out of need. The ability to roll a ball to highlight each weblink without clicking on it is a HUGE advantage. It had an app called FileManager for storing my personal, quick access info like Fedex acct numbers or item numbers and equivalent item numbers for ordering supplies etc.
    It had an app called LinkPad where you could nest subnotes that could i in turn nest subnotes so each bullet point itself could become a folder, so your collected info became an expanding / collapsible tree.
    And of course, web search, except it was MUCH easier to punch into a page and grab text (and only the text you want) or a picture.

    You may think you have some version of each of these features with a touch keyboard android phone, or iPhone, but you don’t.
    The SideKick pulled off each of these features : ROBUSTLY.
    I could see a piece of information and have it written down and my SK back in my pocket before you’d unlock your android screen.
    I’m not boasting.
    I’m saying the SK zipped through movements like a kung fu movie. Agile, fast, efficient, robust. Not glossy, not semi-transparent with custom background and scratch-and-sniff.
    Comparatively, watching people fumble around with android touch screens is like watching a golf ball being pushed across the floor with a knitting needle.

    So what did I have with the SK? A machine that was always on, didn’t require a lap (like a laptop) that was small enough that I wouldn’t regret bringing it if I didn’t need it. (I’m looking at you laptop and tablet).

    It was an information machine of every kind.
    It could look up anything about me that was important to access quickly, just being me (see FileManager above)
    It could take down information as it happens in front of me, play by play, without knowing which details would expand into more details and which would not (see LinkPad above).
    And of course, I could web search anything I wanted or needed to know wherever I was (google search etc.)

    I hope everyone experiences the reverie of being struck by a great thought worth recording on a beautiful day and the flowing stream of consciousness. I don’t want a paper journal because I don’t think linearly. I generally don’t think in ideas that fit into one sentence. And I live experiencing things that can’t be put into words at all. So.. You slip your phone with physical keyboard out of your pocket and type as fast you can, effortlessly with a loose gaze, softly focused, maybe skimming your text as you write it, but probably staring somewhere between the t and the y key and the ideas just flow.
    You are worth it. Your ideas are worth it. When you are writing down exactly what you mean to say (and all this accelerated by auto-text you designed), whether a turn of phrase, describing a new invention, or expressing yourself in a message to the most important person in your life, why the hell would you break your chain of thought at all, no less to look up to see if the word you want is the same word your phone is guessing for you ?

    Here’s the deal. If you are about ideas and fleshing them out, text-wise, you need a physical keyboard. I used to be walking somewhere and would have an awesome idea and just snap open the sidekick and walk and breath and type and reword and walk and revise and expand, until I had 3 tall paragraphs of stuff I could hardly believe came from me. If you are into facile updates, and bumper sticker length insights and netflix, and generally using your phone as a superficial passive conduit for someone else’s content, then onscreen keyboards are fine for you.

  • Alec

    I’ve been a pocket Computer fan for a long time, I refuse to have one with out a (hard wired) physical QWERTY Board.I have been waiting for Droid 5 for 2 years now..and about ready to leave the wonderfull world of android for a smaller screen on the Blackberry Q20..The Stratosphere 3 came out with out one..why?? Its because the dont want us to have so much power in our pockets and are systematicaly dumbing us down by relieving us of our tectile senses..I want to look at my scree, not touch it all the time!