Pre Owners Want Onscreen Keyboards

Posted: Jul 11 2009, 3:05pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 3:17pm CDT , in Mobile Phones


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Here's some news that's got to have Apple feeling pretty smug. Palm Pre owners have started to complain about the lack of “soft” on-screen keyboards for their smartphones. A new study by Strategy Analytics, released this week, shows that “many users” apparently want to have an on-screen keyboard. The Pre already has a sliding QWERTY keyboard, which was supposed to be one of the big reasons to entice users to it over an iPhone.

This doesn't mean that consumers don't like having a sliding keyboard. It just means that prefer the convenience of having both available to them. Even consumers who picked the Pre for the sliding keyboard stated that they would prefer to have the option of using either. The easy solution to Palm would be to simply add-in an onscreen keyboard (much like was done for the G1).

That could be a difficult task for Palm, though. Electronista states that the Pre was built with a physical keyboard in mind, and that there might not be enough space on the screen for anything else. If this is the case, Pre owners will just have to deal with the inconvenience until Palm either develops a fix, or releases another phone.

As a G1 owner, I have to say that the addition of an on-screen keyboard has made my smartphone substantially more convenient to use. Typing messages or writing notes one-handed is now possible. Being able to do that comes in handy when you're walking to class with your backpack and laptop case in one hand, and your mobile in the other. It must also make things easier for people who text while driving, not that any of you would do such a thing.

The usefulness of an on-screen keyboard doesn't make folding keyboards any less useful. I still prefer having a physical QWERTY to use for note-taking and chatting. What I'd -really- like to see is a smartphone with a folding second touchscreen, that you could either use as a keyboard or another browsing window. Of course, a phone like that would probably be prohibitively expensive and drain battery life at an astronomical rate, so we're probably a couple of years away from seeing one, if we ever do.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
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