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Thoughts on soft keyboards

Greetings, 'droids.

I'm currently a Palm Treo user looking to migrate to Android this summer on T-Mobile. I'm still eying devices and haven't decided what to move to yet, but one of the big stumbling blocks for me is the keyboard, or rather the common lack thereof.

I really like the thumbboard on my Treo and have gotten quite good with it. However, no one is making vertical keyboards like that anymore aside from Palm (now HP, god knows what's going to happen there) and RIM (and I have no interest in a Blackberry at all). On the Android front, that leaves me with either a landscape keyboard, which I've not cared for in any of my brief experiences with other people's phones, or just the on-screen keyboard, which I've never liked the concept of on any platform and have hated the few times I've borrowed someone's iPhone.

Of course, that's mostly from limited experience with both, and I admittedly used to be a die-hard Palm Graffiti user (I was pretty darned fast with that, too) before moving to the keyboard on the Treo and getting good with that.

So any advice from others who have made a similar transition? Should I be holding out for a phone with a keyboard (a la Motorola Droid or the rumored Samsung Galaxy S Pro), or bite the bullet and go all the way to the "in vogue" softscreen keyboards? I hate not having tactile feedback, but to be fair most of the horizontal keyboards I've used have had crappy tactile feedback as well (no key travel, no border between keys, etc.).

Have other folks had an easy time adapting to on-screen? Or to horizontal buttons?

Is the on-screen keyboard less crappy on a larger screen? Should I therefore only be looking at 4" devices?

Are there alternate input methods (Swype, et al) that alleviate the problem of text input?

While I'd love to hold out for a device with both (on the grounds that its better to have a lame physical keyboard and lame on-screen keyboard than just a lame on-screen keyboard), those seem hard to come by, especially on T-Mobile for good ones. I also don't want to just wait forever, as my deadline is early August since in late August I'm going to Europe for 2 weeks for a tech conference and want to be fully Droidified by then. :)

Any thoughts, experiences, recommendations?

(And before anyone asks why I don't just go with the Pre or Blackberry if they have the keyboards I like, I'm looking at the full platform and neither webOS nor Blackberry have the complete package to compete with Android.)
I cant do it. Like literally cant. I think I have a handicap or some type of mental ******ation..

Ive tried so many times to switch to software keyboard, but everytime I do, I always come back to hardware. Works out since I really dont mind "thicker" devices. Still though, it just sucks that it seems no good qwerty androids come out..I dont like having to have a shitty selection just because I prefer a hardware keyboard.

No disrespect to the droid! Wonderful device, sure, just not for me. The keyboard was so un-useable that it was pointless and the device was much too masculine for me! Im a small female!! So ugly with the boxy rectangle look (imo); I felt like Motorola borrowed the design from a toaster. Reminds me of those ugly square cars!

But anywho, I digress. Long story short, I prefer hardware keyboard over software but I wish I didnt.
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Back to the purpose of this thread. Sorry for the hijack. Dell is making a phone with similar form factor to the Treo/Blackberry but it isn't expected to release til Q4 of this year, it is called the Flash. Also Motorola is making this phone which is a perfect square that had a keyboard which flips out (very different style but has a portrait hard keyboard), it will be called the flipout. You should look those up. Can't think of any others which fit your bill but I am sure other OEMs will release phones of that style as there are many others put there like you.

Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
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Okay sorry if I came out as trying to pass opinion as fact, I apologize. That was not my intent. I should have written "imo" twice but figured saying one thing being better than another would be assumed as opinion. Hell, this thread is based on opinion.

Just saying that swype is very fast and easy to use (imo) to the point where I could never go back to a hard mobile keyboard. You don't even have to lift your finger off the keyboard when typing a word (fact) and this makes a soft keyboard more advantageous than a hard keyboard (imo). It is the easy touchscreen keyboards should be (imo).

Sent from my Liquid using Tapatalk
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Are you sure you mean the Flash? It doesn't look like it has a keyboard:
Dell Flash to offer Android Froyo in a 'dramatic' package -- Engadget

So it sounds like the answers so far are "sucks to be you, sorry". :-( I was hoping for more positive news given my limited time frame. Has no one had a good transition story from physical keyboard to on-screen keyboard?
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My bad. Not the Flash, the DELL SMOKE. Sorry-

Dell Smoke - Full phone specifications

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Interesting. HTC is also reportedly making the new Sidekick (don't worry, it is NOTHING like previous Sidekicks).

T-Mobile and HTC team up for Sidekick Twist – Android and Me

New details have emerged about T-Mobile’s “Project Emerald”. Initially said to be a “Nexus One-like device”, we now learn that T-Mobile is passing the Sidekick torch to HTC for their next high-end Android phone. T-Mobile customers have long been waiting for a true high-end successor to the G1 and it sounds like this could be the device they were hoping for.

TmoNews is reporting a tip that claims the Sidekick “Twist” will boast “Android 2.1, a 1 GHz Processor (Snapdragon?), with a front facing Camera, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, and 16 GB onboard storage“. I’m quoting their rumored specs exactly so we can break them down.

For the operating system, Android 2.1 with Sense UI is likely. We know Android 2.2 is coming soon, but it might be a couple of months before HTC updates their custom Sense UI. T-Mobile has invested a lot in their own version of Sense (called Espresso) and we already know it’s coming to other devices like the MT3G and Slide.

A 1 GHz processor is no surprise. Every Android phone from HTC with a 1 GHz CPU is using the Qualcomm Snapdragon and that is the best bet. However, T-Mobile is releasing an Android phone with full HSPA+ support sometime this year and that could feature the newer Qualcomm MSM8260. That 1.2 GHz chipset started sampling in late 2009 and was expected to arrive in smartphones this year, but it might be too early for this device.

Front facing cameras are the new trend for high-end Android phones. We finally have the faster networks to support video chat and it’s going to be in a lot of new phones like the Sprint EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy S.

The 4.3 inch display is the new standard for high-end HTC smartphones. We have seen this on the HD2 and upcoming EVO 4G. Both those devices had TFT displays, but new HTC phones like the Nexus One, Desire, and Legend are now using AMOLED displays. “Super AMOLED” is a marketing term being used by Samsung and they have only gone up to 4 inches, so I’m not sure how that was included with this rumor.

Finally, the 16 GB of onboard storage is sorely needed for high-end Android devices. We finally saw the HTC Incredible ship with 8 GB, but that is still pretty far behind the industry leader iPhone 3G S which offers a 32 GB version.

Overall I would say the rumor is fairly believable. T-Mobile has been late to launch an Android superphone, but no one expected them to just ignore their high-end customers. Speculation suggest the Sidekick Twist will launch this summer, which is the same time AT&T and Sprint will have their 1 GHz offerings.

It almost sounds too good to be true if you are a T-Mobile customer. Are you satisfied with these rumored specs or are they leaving off some extra feature you had hoped for?
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honestly dude i used to be used to a landscape keyboard and couldnt type on a virtual keyboard for shit. after using multiple touch screen only phones i became very used to a virtual keyboard. i can now type faster on a virtual keyboard than a physical because all you have to do is tap the screen. the htc phones are really pushing accuracy like the iphone, and with bigger screens like the evo typing is getting even easier.

i admit you might make a couple more mistakes with a virtual keyboard but you can still type faster so it doesnt have much of an affect. on me anyway. personally i find physical keyboards being a waste of space on the newer touch screens. my friend has the droid and both him and i seem to only use the touch screen.
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So it sounds like the answers so far are "sucks to be you, sorry". :-( I was hoping for more positive news given my limited time frame. Has no one had a good transition story from physical keyboard to on-screen keyboard?

I went from a RAZR straight to the Eris, and have had absolutely no problems adjusting. I can type just as fast if not faster with the Eris, in fact, I'm probably as good with the Eris as with a computer keyboard honestly.
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I went from a RAZR straight to the Eris, and have had absolutely no problems adjusting. I can type just as fast if not faster with the Eris, in fact, I'm probably as good with the Eris as with a computer keyboard honestly.

you must not be such a good typer on a computer keyboard then, because anyone knows you can type a good amount faster on a computer keyboard.
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