LONDON, England – When it comes to keyboards, I used to be a bit like Adam. For me T9 was where it was at and when it came to texting or typing on the move, there was little I couldn’t type on nine keys. With my eyes shut (or more usually, elsewhere). But then the Nokia E71 launched and everything changed for me. I’ve been hardcore QWERTY ever since.
Of course I’ve tried alternatives. It’s part of the job here on Conversations that we get to play with every new handset. Sometimes for an hour, other times for longer. When we find one we like, we tend to hog it. So it was with the E6 prototype that landed a while back. It’s hardly left my side since (save for a couple of days with a shiny new Finnish-keyboard version, which I’ve got in reserve).
Most of my messages are typed using my right hand whilst my left does something else (usually of its own accord). If I know I’ve got longer messages, I’ll revert to two-thumb typing. My E6 enables me to take either approach effortlessly. Even for my small digits, reaching across the keyboard with a right thumb to hit the Q, A or Z keys is a doddle. The weight and balance of the device, not to mention the camera ridge on the back, help even more.
Pretty much every smartphone released by Nokia has passed through my hands at some stage. Naturally, the bulk of the more recent ones have been touchscreen devices. I’ve tended to swerve the few that have slide out keyboards on the grounds of size (I have small pockets…) or usability (…because I have small hands).
For the touchscreen only devices I’ve never had enough gratification from typing on screen to stick with it. As the bulk of my mobile use involves messaging, it’s difficult to ignore this point. Don’t get me wrong. I like touchscreen, it’s a great way of interacting with a device. But when it comes to messaging, you simply cannot beat solid keys.
When I first heard about the E6 and the introduction of touch and type to a serious business QWERTY, it was like someone had created the perfect device, just for me. Now I get all the benefits of bouncing round the OS with the touchscreen whilst rapid-fire messaging anyone and everyone with a solid keyboard. It’s bliss. And in my book, unbeatable.
Adam might well still prefer T9 but until they come up with a way to read my mind so I don’t have to type anything at all, I’m sticking with a full set of solid QWERTY keys. Who’s with me?