Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pushing buttons vs. Tapping pixels: The great keyboard debate - Talk Mobile

If you're reading this on a desktop or laptop computer, more likely than not there's a hardware keyboard sitting between you and the screen. If you're reading this on a smartphone or tablet, chances are there's not a hardware keyboard within the reach of your fingers. There was a time when hardware keyboards dominated the smartphone landscape, but in recent years they’ve been all but pushed out of contention.

What happened? Can we lay the blame entirely at the iPhone's feet? The first Android devices had physical and virtual keyboards, and Windows Phone launched with hardware keyboards in the mix. But browse the shelves at your local smartphone retailer and you'll find but a handful of hardware keyboards in the see of glass-fronted slabs.

So why is the hardware keyboard still around at all? What does it take to make a good one, and why won't people leave it behind? Are virtual keyboards not yet good enough, or are they just some level of refinement away from capturing the last hold-outs?

The keyboard is our primary data entry system on smartphones - it has to be good. And it can always be better - but how?

Let's get the conversation started!

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