Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




TECH SPACE
SciTechTalk: The smartphone debate
by Jim Algar
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 29, 2012


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

As modern smartphones begin to look more alike, there is one user preference difference that has kept phone design firmly in two camps: the keyboard -- virtual or physical.

All smartphones offer a virtual keyboard that pops up on screen for texting, e-mailing, entering Web searches and the like, but that doesn't satisfy all users, many of whom feel much more comfortable -- and believe they're faster and more efficient -- with a physical keyboard.

That's why most smartphone makers still give users a choice.

It is not a manufacturing decision to be made lightly since there is a considerable financial penalty in providing a full physical keyboard.

A virtual keyboard on screen is just a few more lines of software code; a sliding keyboard brings significant design and manufacturing costs.

That the demand for a physical keyboard remains strong may boil down to a generational issue. Young smartphone users, who've grown up in a touch-screen world, seem perfectly happy with on-screen keyboards offering no tactile feedback other than perhaps a beep or buzz. In fact, to watch a typical teenager texting furiously with thumbs or fingers dancing across the screen is to marvel at the dexterity involved.

Many older phone users, who may have actually used a typewriter or at least a desktop computer with a full-size typewriter-style keyboard, feel less comfortable with the tiny keys crowded on screen in the typical virtual version.

Phones with physical keyboards have been around for a while, although many of the first ones, like BlackBerry or Palm units, had tiny keyboards sharing space with screens on the front of the phones.

Many men, with larger hands, often complain about the difficulty of hitting the right key or hitting more than one with the resulting gobbledy-gook requiring constant backspacing -- if they can even find the backspace key.

Will one or the other eventually win out? The smart money would probably go with on-screen keyboards, for reasons of economy for manufacturers if nothing else.

Also, as screens get larger -- with some phone models approaching 5-inch screens -- on-screen keys get bigger. Android phones now come with Swype technology that allows the user to just drag a finger across the keyboard and the phone figures out what word is being spelled -- offering choices in case best guess wasn't good enough.

In the meantime, however, every major cellphone manufacturer has opted to continue to give consumers the choice, with all featuring one or more "sliders."

The major exception is, of course, Apple.

And even here the aftermarket has stepped in. Users can purchase a case that affixes to the back of the Apple phone and slides out to reveal -- yes -- a full physical QWERTY keyboard.

Even the most current model lines of phones offer the option.

Motorola offers three of its new flagship DROID phones -- the DROID Razr, the DROID Razr Maxx and the DROID 4 -- that from a distance of 3 feet can't be told one from another.

The difference? Pick up a DROID 4. Hmm, a little thicker. Why is that? Because it slides open to reveal its "PC-like, edge-lit QWERTY keyboard," Motorola is happy to tell prospective buyers.

Fans of touch-typing can rejoice, at least for now. The keyboard with buttons you can actually feel and push is still with us.

.


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Android grabs more tablet market share: survey
Washington (AFP) Jan 26, 2012
Tablet computers powered by Google's Android software are increasing their global market share but Apple's iPad still dominates the category, a research firm said Thursday. Strategy Analytics said Android tablets increased their share of the market to 39 percent in the fourth quarter of the year from 29 percent a year earlier. The iPad accounted for 58 percent of the tablet market in the ... read more


TECH SPACE
U.S. Presidential Hopeful Promises Moon Base by 2020

Moon looms bright over Republican debate

Rocket Man: Gingrich peddles space dreams in Florida

Roscosmos Revives Permanent Moon Base Plans

TECH SPACE
Mars Orbiter Shows Wind's Handiwork

Durable NASA Rover Beginning Ninth Year of Mars Work

Mars Rover Finds New Evidence of Water

U.S. Denies Link to Mars Mission Failure

TECH SPACE
Romney sees launchers fueled by private enterprise

First US chief technology officer stepping down

NASA Moves Closer to Planetary Landing Demo Capability on Earth with Draper's GENIE

Toronto teens send Lego man into space: video

TECH SPACE
China's satellite navigation sector annual output predicted to reach 35 bln USD in 2015

China plans to launch 21 rockets, 30 satellites this year

Shenzhou 9 Behind the Curtain

China Plans to Launch 30 Satellites in 2012

TECH SPACE
Russia to postpone next manned space launches

Russian cargo vessel arrives at space station

Russia Orbits Chibis Microsatellite

Russian Space Freighter to be Buried in Pacific

TECH SPACE
Russia Plans to Launch U.S. Satellite in February

Russian launch of Dutch satellite delayed

MT Aerospace wins contract for operation and maintenance of launch facilities' mechanical systems

Proton-M, Dutch Satellite Taken to Launch Pad

TECH SPACE
NASA's Kepler Announces 11 Planetary Systems Hosting 26 Planets

NASA's Kepler confirms 26 new planets

Earth's Cloudy Past Could Reveal Exoplanet Details

Re-thinking an Alien World

TECH SPACE
Congolese inventor puts African tablet on sale

SciTechTalk: The smartphone debate

Catalyzing new uses for diesel by-products

Supermaterial goes superpermeable




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement