Way back in February Research in Motion published patent of a BlackBerry with a slide-out keyboard. The response to such a device was mixed to say the least. Personally, I’ve wanted BlackBerry Slider for a couple of years now but there are a lot people who think that the slider design is too fragile, flimsy, and will make the device too big.
All that I know is that RIM really needs to come out with a BlackBerry with a slide-out keyboard. There are many reasons why I feel this way, but, one is reason enough for them to do this all by itself.
Apple, inevitably, will come out with an iPhone with a slider.
Even though RIM is not too far off from releasing the BlackBerry Storm, their first BlackBerry with a touchscreen, many BlackBerry diehards won’t move to it for the same reason that they wouldn’t move to the iPhone. No physical keyboard.
RIM must play in Apples sandbox when it comes to the touchscreen and I simply don’t expect their first stab at it, which I believe was in response to an iPhone which had been in development for years, will compare. RIM, however, has the same advantage over Apple when it comes to keyboards. They flat out own this space and need to take all those years of engineering and put it into a device that I think can be game changing for the BlackBerry.
Really? That’s the whole post?
I hope to spark discussion by not writing down every point and opinion that I have hoping that someone else will comment theirs.
I think that I am with Matt on this one. I would hope that RIM would have more reasons than just because Apple will eventually do it.
I couldn’t agree more, Robb. Lets face it, people want big-screened, graphically rich user interfaces on hand held devices (these are barely phones anymore). I think that screen size is so important now as speeds become faster and people are surfing the web and watching video content more frequently. But they also want to be able to input important information into their phones quickly and easily without getting completely frustrated. Most consumers don’t have too many choices when it comes to these devices, but it almost seems that the majority would rather have something pretty over something that is ultimately functional (cough*iphone*cough). The options have been to get something like a bb which is largely one of the most functional phones out there, but isn’t too pretty when it comes to the interface(maybe the new os/bold will change this), or ‘buy’ in to the far less functional iphone but enjoy pretty animated graphics and a large screen. What both manufacturers need to be doing is combining the best of both worlds…
We want a ‘device’ with a touch screen as large as the iPhones.
We want a ‘device’ with a keyboard as functional as the Blackberrys.
We want a ‘device’ that is as stable as a Blackberry.
We want a ‘device’ as pretty as the iPhone.
We wouldn’t want the form factor of this phone to be any larger than a curve, or at absolute most, the iPhone.
As an added bonus, ‘I’ think people want this ‘device’ to be as thin as a… iPod Touch.
Am I way off base?
All that being said, I don’t see how it would be impossible for either company to produce this ‘device’ and have it be a very worthy contender in this inevitable race.
I can’t imagine how big it would be. RIM’s not exactly the posterboy for miniaturization. The Bold is thicker than the iPhone, the Storm is looking to be equally chunky if not more so. A slider version would probably surpass 20mm and be twice as thick as an iPhone.
I thought RIM had a proper solution by instituting a universal landscape keyboard, something Apple failed to do over a year after the iPhone was released. That should make the Storm a more comfortable typing experience (so long as everything else matches up). If Apple gave iPhone users the widescreen keyboard everywhere, which I’m using now to type this post in Safari, the keyboard complaints would drop to a whisper. I would never type something this long with the “skinny keyboard.”
Other than that, I doubt you’ll see a slider from Apple. It makes sense and it’s what I’d do, which means Apple WON’T do it. It adds unnecessary girth. The point of a touch keyboard is having access to a big screen without a fixed keyboard taking up half the real estate. You can accomplish so much more software-wise. You can also have a svelte device when there’s no keyboard to tuck underneath. Samsung’s first answer to the iPhone a year ago was “our product will top it, we’ll have a slide out keyboard!” and now they’ve abandoned that idea with their new touchscreen flagship, the Samsung Omnia. The people have spoken and millions of new iPhone users around the world say the touch keyboard is adequate, a worthy compromise to having either a brick in our pockets (Sony Xperia, HTC Touch Pro) or a cramped screen (BlackBerry Bold).
A virtual landscape keyboard is not a worthy compromise for people who who actually type on their phones. It’s a worthy compromise for people who WANT it to be a worthy compromise (i.e. people who invested money in any form-over-function touch screen only device).
“A virtual landscape keyboard is not a worthy compromise for people who who actually type on their phones.”
I type on my phone all the time, more so than your average user considering I type full e-mails and blog posts rthr thn txt msgs. I typed my previous post on an iPhone so what is the “actual typing” you do that I can’t, Ryan?
God damn iPhone fanboys! Relax and read my post again…
A. I never said you can’t type on a device without a full keyboard, ever – not once. What I said is that it’s not a worthy compromise for a full keyboard. Maybe it is for you, but it absolutely isn’t for 90% of people. You will never see a legitimate company hand out physical keyboard-less phones to their employees. Why do companies give out smartphones? So that employees can stay in touch via e-mail. It’s not new news that virtual keyboards are less adequate for data input than tactile keyboards, you can’t argue that. That being said, “A virtual landscape keyboard is not a worthy compromise for people who who actually type on their phones.” If you need me to clarify the latter half of my statement, I’m referring to people who find it critical to stay in touch with other people (personally or professionally) via they keyboard input on their phone. The majority (and that’s who I’m talking about here) of people who use smartphones prefer a physical keyboard. If virtual keyboards really were better for data entry, or even comparable, we would be typing on flat surfaces at our desktop computers. It would be better on the wrists and much more ergonomic than conventional tactile keys. But nobody would get anything done, because they are more difficult to use. The technology exists, it would probably be cheaper to produce keyless keyboards too, without any moving parts; but you don’t see them around.
B. What the hell are you doing on this Blackberry forum?
“What I said is that it’s not a worthy compromise for a full keyboard. Maybe it is for you, but it absolutely isn’t for 90% of people.”
Who anointed you to speak for 90% of people?
“You will never see a legitimate company hand out physical keyboard-less phones to their employees”
Does Apple issue iphones to their employees? Do you consider it a legitimate company?
BTW……i don’t own an iphone or BB. will be purchasing one in the near future.
Maybe 90% was too arbitrary for you.
“””Two-thirds of silicon.com’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they prefer the QWERTY keyboard over the latest touch-screen interfaces, such as the iPhone.
David Supple, head of IT at Ecotec Research and Consulting, said: “Even my ham-fisted fingers can cope with the keys of a BlackBerry Curve. Touch screens are just too fiddly and have no tactile feedback.”
Nic Evans, European IT director at Key Equipment Finance, agreed: “Keyboard for typing every time–would you play a piano with the keyboard lid closed?”
RIM’s BlackBerry 8800 keyboard wins hands down over the iPhone touch screen for usability, according to Spencer Steel, IT manager at Informatiq.
He said: “As good as the iPhone virtual keyboard is–the best I’ve seen of its genre–I would take on a speed typing race on my BlackBerry 8800 against any iPhone user who was up for the challenge. The iPhone has the ‘best of breed’ in its genre and may look cooler, but get involved in a lengthy email tirade and chuck in a few non-alpha characters into the mix and the BlackBerry ‘full-sized’ keyboard comes out tops every time.”
And really?… Apple is the company you chose to “counter-argue” with? They invented the iPhone. I would HOPE they issue iPhones to their employees!
Amen to that! I’m visually impaired but not “tech-impaired” and I want a big-ass screen and full qwerty keyboard with all the bells and whistles in productivity, internet, media (streaming video, audio books, etc), wifi, telecommunications, GPS, entertainment, camera and video. Why can’t ANY company come out with a smart phone or pocket PC like this? I would pay between $800 and $1500 for just such a device! These telecoms and device manufacturers need to consider the size of the boomer population, our special needs (i.e. decreased vision capabilities), and reject the stereotype that we are all techno-phobes (how old are Gates, Jobs, et al??) I don’t CARE how big it is (maybe all the gen x-ers and millenials do, but WE don’t!)