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592 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597778 20-Mar-2012 16:24
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Kiwipixter:
nzgeek:
Kiwipixter: Android was not designed for qwerty keypads. 

There's a lot of misinformation about what form factor Android was designed to support. The first pics of an Android device showed a Blackberry-like form factory with a non-slideable QWERTY keyboard under the screen. You're one of the first people I've heard say the opposite.

The truth is that Android was designed to work well with both types of input, i.e. physical or virtual keyboards. It needed to remain open, to ensure that any manufacturer could take it and make it work with almost any kind of hardware.


That was in Android 1.0, Google have not added much to it since then. 

This may just be because not a lot needs to be done. After all, how hard is it to support a physical keyboard? You can use a Bluetooth keyboard with pretty much any Android device and it should work just fine. Other devices (e.g. the Asus Transformer tablets) have a dedicated keyboard add-on, so there's obviously some decent level of support there.

There aren't all that many keyboard-packing Android devices because they don't sell all that well. The devices have to be thicker and heavier, the extra parts add to the phone's price, and the on-screen keyboard works well enough for most people most of the time.

2458 posts

Uber Geek


  # 597791 20-Mar-2012 16:52
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nzgeek: 

There aren't all that many keyboard-packing Android devices because they don't sell all that well. The devices have to be thicker and heavier, the extra parts add to the phone's price, and the on-screen keyboard works well enough for most people most of the time.


I guess this is why there's no HTC or samsung qwerty keyboard phones?
Because everyone seems to have a hardon for "OMG our phones must be 1mm thick!!!11oneone"
(And massive screens)
 

 
 
 
 


592 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597799 20-Mar-2012 17:12
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kyhwana2:
nzgeek: There aren't all that many keyboard-packing Android devices because they don't sell all that well. The devices have to be thicker and heavier, the extra parts add to the phone's price, and the on-screen keyboard works well enough for most people most of the time.


I guess this is why there's no HTC or samsung qwerty keyboard phones?
Because everyone seems to have a hardon for "OMG our phones must be 1mm thick!!!11oneone"
(And massive screens)

The iPhone, the single biggest-selling phone in the world, is slim (i.e. pocketable) and has a virtual keyboard. It's the form factor that people want, so it's the form factor that manufacturers are providing.

The screen size thing is a bit of an odd one. You've got to have a screen that's large enough to be usable, but not so large that it's silly. I think that the 4"-4.3" range is just about right, given current bezel sizes. The iPhone's screen is just a little too small, making it hard to use the on-screen keyboard. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note (5" screen) is too big and doesn't fit all that well into a pocket.

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  # 597800 20-Mar-2012 17:16
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There's also the mechanical issue, whereby anything that slides/folds etc is often not as reliable, and is fatter etc.

LG-C660
Motorola MB300
Sony Ericsson X10 MINI PRO

592 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597807 20-Mar-2012 17:32
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Jaxson: There's also the mechanical issue, whereby anything that slides/folds etc is often not as reliable, and is fatter etc.

Another good reason why physical keyboards are becoming rarer. Anything that's mechanical needs to be designed to last several years, otherwise you're going to get a bad name with consumers. You also need space to put it, which makes the phone fatter and heavier.

My N80 was a slider, and I had all sorts of trouble with it. First up the sliding mechanism became loose, and the phone kept on sliding open and unlocking in my pocket. That wasn't too hard to fix. Then the ribbon cable between the two halves got pinched and needed to be replaced. I ended up doing it myself, ordering 2-3 replacement cables, and I used them all over the life of the phone.

It makes a lot more sense for a phone manufacturer to use a capacitive touch screen. All of the necessary components are usually built into the screen itself, which is safely behind a layer of glass/polycarbonate. There are no moving or exposed parts, so there's a lot less to go wrong.

2458 posts

Uber Geek


  # 597816 20-Mar-2012 17:47
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nzgeek:
Jaxson: There's also the mechanical issue, whereby anything that slides/folds etc is often not as reliable, and is fatter etc.

Another good reason why physical keyboards are becoming rarer. Anything that's mechanical needs to be designed to last several years, otherwise you're going to get a bad name with consumers. You also need space to put it, which makes the phone fatter and heavier. .


Hmm, the keyboard/hinge mechanism on my HTC Desire Z has lasted 1.5 years so far and there don't seem to be any problems with it yet..
 

592 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597826 20-Mar-2012 17:57
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kyhwana2: Hmm, the keyboard/hinge mechanism on my HTC Desire Z has lasted 1.5 years so far and there don't seem to be any problems with it yet..

It took about 18 months for my slider to slacken, and about 2.5 years for my ribbon cable problems to start showing. I owned the phone for about 5 years before I finally replaced it.

And to be fair, the N80 had a known issue with the ribbon cable. Its successor, the N95, was supposed to be a lot better. I don't know if this was true or not, because the only person I know who bought one replaced it less than 2 years later.

Every device is different, too. It depends on how much you use the sliding mechanism, how well the device is designed, and any slight manufacturing differences in the parts. I opened/closed my N80 several times a day, every day, while I owned it. I hate to think how many thousands of times it was over those 5 years. My wife's N80 lasted more than 4 years before her ribbon cable started to give way.

 
 
 
 


827 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597828 20-Mar-2012 18:05
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What about the Sony Xperia Pro, or the Droid 4 if you can source one down here

2458 posts

Uber Geek


  # 597883 20-Mar-2012 20:03
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P1n3apqlExpr3ss: What about the Sony Xperia Pro, or the Droid 4 if you can source one down here


The droid 4 will be bootloader locked/SIM locked to verizon and might not even work here. (I'm not sure if it'll actually do UMTS or GSM. If it does, it's only 900/2100mhz).
You'll need to wait for the milestone, which is the "Rest of the world" version of the droid 4.


272 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 597979 20-Mar-2012 22:53
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Just brought the wife a moto fire cost she hates touch screen keyboards too. She went from a Nokia 53?? to this and loves it for calls/text/Facebook.

I was concerned getting a moto as I've seen the crapware that bloats devices like the defy but this seems light and relatively clean.

- Runs 2.3
- Physical keyboard
- Under $300
- Works on Voda + 2 Degrees out of the box

635 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 598350 21-Mar-2012 19:32
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nzgeek:
And to be fair, the N80 had a known issue with the ribbon cable. Its successor, the N95, was supposed to be a lot better. I don't know if this was true or not, because the only person I know who bought one replaced it less than 2 years later.


I got my N95 in 2007 (can't remember what month) and replaced it in March last year, so about 4 years. No problems with the slider, but the clips on the battery cover had broken and I had to use tape to stop the battery falling out. I guess with a new battery cover and battery I could have kept using it, but replaced it with a N8-00.





#include <standard.disclaimer>


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 598360 21-Mar-2012 19:59
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aionwannabe: I'm looking for a new phone and I hate touchscreen keyboards with a passion.
http://www.parallelimported.co.nz/mobile-phones/latest-mobile-phones/sony-ericsson-mk16-xperia-pro-black-mobile-phone.html

that's the one I'm looking at right now but if there is another handset that's more relevant(or updated) I'm all ears.
Id like it to be under $400 and have both physical QWERTY and MicroSD slot


I would easily recommend the HTC Desire Z, because of the better software, higher internal memory (1.5GB vs 1GB) and more importantly, better community support. (Note that the Xperia has a slightly better camera..)

There are already ICS ROMs available for the Desire Z and from what I hear they run really smooth - smoother than Gingerbread. And since it's an HTC you can be rest assured that you'll get ROM updates from the community, for many many years to come. Also, the build quality is pretty good, and my personal opinion is that it's better than the Xperia pro.

3292 posts

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  # 598408 21-Mar-2012 21:50
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I've got a Nokia E7 running the latest Belle software and it does a pretty good job. The recent software updates to Anna and then Belle have made big changes to the operation of Symbian Nokias.

The reason I bought it was for the physical keyboard.  Unlike many other flip out keyboards the screen sits up at a nice angle for viewing whether it be for typing or watching a movie.  It's easy to hold in the hand while typing but it also sits very nicely on a table while you're typing. The keyboard is excellent and very nice to use.

It fits in the pocket well and isn't too bulky. The flip out mechanism works very well and is as robust as any I've seen.  Mine got the drop test from over a metre onto concrete on day two without any damage other than a small blemish on one edge. I fully expected the screen to be broken and the flip out mechanism to be trashed

It's not Android, but with the Nokia Belle platform the E7 is certainly worth consideration.




Sony Xperia X running Sailfish OS. https://sailfishos.org The true independent open source mobile OS 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Nokia N1
Dell Inspiron 14z i5


592 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 598448 22-Mar-2012 00:49
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Technofreak: The recent software updates to Anna and then Belle have made big changes to the operation of Symbian Nokias.

It's just a pity that it took Nokia so long to get there. If Anna or Belle had come out back in 08 or 09, Symbian might still be around today.

The fall of Symbian didn't take all that long either. In the space of just over 4 years, it went from the dominant smartphone platform (>60% globally) to being relegated to the scrapheap. Now the smartphone market is owned by Android (about 1/2) and Apple (about 1/3). Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone have to fight for the rest.



147 posts

Master Geek


  # 598574 22-Mar-2012 10:50
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d3Xt3r:
aionwannabe: I'm looking for a new phone and I hate touchscreen keyboards with a passion.
http://www.parallelimported.co.nz/mobile-phones/latest-mobile-phones/sony-ericsson-mk16-xperia-pro-black-mobile-phone.html

that's the one I'm looking at right now but if there is another handset that's more relevant(or updated) I'm all ears.
Id like it to be under $400 and have both physical QWERTY and MicroSD slot


I would easily recommend the HTC Desire Z, because of the better software, higher internal memory (1.5GB vs 1GB) and more importantly, better community support. (Note that the Xperia has a slightly better camera..)

There are already ICS ROMs available for the Desire Z and from what I hear they run really smooth - smoother than Gingerbread. And since it's an HTC you can be rest assured that you'll get ROM updates from the community, for many many years to come. Also, the build quality is pretty good, and my personal opinion is that it's better than the Xperia pro.


It does however retail for atleast $600 so you are definitely paying for that build quality but ICS is a big draw. Do you think i can get one for about $400 from trademe theres one listed right now?

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