Saturday, October 1, 2011

Android devices with physical QWERTY keyboards - for Productivity sake please

I have used Android devices for two years now, all touch screens with virtual  keyboards. Before this, I was a Palm freak and relished the Treo series. Ironically, I am still struggling to achieve the productivity levels I had with my Palm Treo series.

Using touch screen makes me realize that while I have gained on the quality and richness of contents in my hand, I have somehow lost on the productivity portion. This means a lot to me as I use my device as a personal assistance - manage my calendar, tasks, todo, meetings, reminder, grocery, notes, take pictures/videos, quotes, read ebooks, track my activities etc., besides doing the usual phone calls and messaging. Yes my device also reminds me to drink water and track calories?? I sometimes type notes for hours while travelling around.

Now for me, the good part of Android is that it has a very good presentation layer for reading docs or viewing media. The bad part is capturing text. I am finding it difficult to feed data on touch screen. While the virtual keyboards and Word corrections have improved a lot and definitely add to faster inputs, I am still not there with the pace I had on Palm. I prefer looking at the text while my fingers do the capturing. This does not work out very well on touch screens as my gaze has to constantly shift between the keyboard, the word correction bar and the text itself. Adding special characters becomes even more cumbersome as another set of keys pop up for selection. I find myself searching for the home keys (F, J) to position my thumb and start the flow; but then this happens too often.

Physical keyboard also gave the option of having keys assigned for quick launch. For instance I could just press a combination to start capturing a task on my calendar. I did find some quick alternatives on touch screens to somehow make up for this part.

Inadvertently, I also find myself occasionally indulging in endless customization of my device to find the right looks and apps, rather than focus on getting things done.

I might sound stupid to people who are more focussed on media contents and text inputs limited to tweets. I believe most blackberry and Palm folks can relate to this. So in my quest to find the ultimate Android device for my use, I have decided to try my hands on physical QWERTY keyboard based Android devices. Unfortunately, not many to choose from at this time. I am looking for devices that give Portrait QWERTY keyboard and yes with the M aligned under K (not under J). This is how computer keyboards are designed and my thumbs are used to similar alignment on cell phones.

I did find few devices out there to try out.. will update my blog again..

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you, even I wanted a smartphone with qwerty keyboard, but for now I've only seen the convincing Motorola pro. Looks like maybe a windows phone with qwerty, according to me it would not bad.