CrackBerry Asks: Do you think the Reduced/SureType keyboard should be an available layout on BlackBerry 10 phones?

By Kevin Michaluk on 18 Apr 2012 03:13 pm EDT
SureType/Reduced Keyboard on BlackBerry 10?

As you might well imagine, the topic of BlackBerry 10 gets discussed a lot these days in the CrackBerry offices. What will be there at launch? Will anything be missing? What features do we want to see the most?

In one recent conversation between Adam and myself, we started talking about touchscreen keyboards, and we got to wondering if we'll ever see SureType a.k.a. the Reduced Keyboard option on touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phones. If you're not familiar with SureType, it's a keyboard configuration that was introduced on the BlackBerry 7100 series and popularized by the BlackBerry Pearl, which puts two letters onto a single key and makes heavy use of predictive text to help complete words. It allows you to put a full keyboard into the same space as a T9 keyboard, but type much faster. Believe me, there are a lot of old SureType addicts out there who can type faster and with more accuracy on SureType than they even can on a full physical qwerty.

With the introduction of touchscreen BlackBerry Smartphones, like the Storm and Torch, RIM moved SureType beyond physical keyboards and onto the touchscreen as an optional keyboard layout when typing in portrait. Looking ahead to BlackBerry 10 phones, we're wondering if the reduced keyboard layout will make an appearance, or if this will be phased out with just the full qwerty shown in portrait. Knowing that the keyboard on PlayBook OS 2.0 is powered by SwiftKey, it seems most likely to me that we will not see SureType on BlackBerry 10 phones. For me that's not a big deal, as I typically avoid the reduced keyboard, but I'm not sure how others feel on it. Which brings us to our question of the week...

Question of the Week: Do you think the Reduced/SureType keyboard should be an available keyboard layout on full touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phones? Vote on the poll above and sound off in the comments!

Reader comments

CrackBerry Asks: Do you think the Reduced/SureType keyboard should be an available layout on BlackBerry 10 phones?


Why?? I used to use it when I type in portrait mode, I found it easier to type with than qwerty when in portrait. And also it won't degrade the phone in any way nor will it hurt to keep it.

Exactly, there is NO reason to not have it as an option. Why in gods name would anyone not want to have more options available on the phone? They already have the predictive text technology for both SureType and the QNX system. All they would have to do is merge the two. I know it's easier said than done, but A LOT of people relied on SureType with their Storms.

I know they were talking about suretype on touchscreens, but PLEASE RIM! Release a new Pearl!! I have been using the 8120, 8220, and now the 9100, so all the pearls, for the last 4 years!! I did use suretype on my Amaze, for the short time I had it, and I do not think suretype should be left behind at all!

Yes, the Pearl Flip was great...It was just perfect for going to places without carrying a bulky phone...

Style just combined the worst of both cases....

Some people like me would certainly love an updated Pearl device (preferably flipish) as a weekend device

While I personally disagree that the Pearl Flip was great, I had a lot of technical problems with it after my first year, mainly unexpected sudden loss of charge and dropped calls.

That said, the Pearl Flip was my first BB and I loved it except for the above problems and one of the best things was SureType. I went with it because I wanted a flip style phone and I wasn't sure about the small keys of a normal BB. While now with my 9700 and 9300 I can type fairly fast, I still think I was able to type faster in most cases with the SureType keyboard. It would be awesome for the SureType keyboard to be an option on the BB10 devices after all most full QWERTY virtual keyboards are too small in portrait since there is no tactile feel to the keyboards.

Why not? I, for one, use SureType religiously. Having it as an option isn't going to degrade the phone, only make those who use it happy.

All too true. What needs to be recognized here is that a BlackBerry is supposed to have the BEST keyboards; physical or virtual alike.

Being that it's just an addition in the software, there is absolutely no reason not to allow SureType, or any previous style keyboard available in virtual form.

I have been a fan of suretype since my Storm, and it is one of the primary reasons I was sticking with blackberry. (Truthfully, BBM and suretype are probably the only reasons I was sticking with BB)

I waited FOREVER for the Torch 9850 to come out. While I was waiting, I picked up a Bold 9900, but my giant sausage fingers made it challenging to type on the full QWERTY keypad. I am sure I could have gotten used to it, but it was frustrating and the Torch was released on VZW 2-3 weeks later, so I gave it to my Wife.

I don't see why the option for suretype should be removed from touchscreen BB's, its an option that some of us prefer. With BB losing users to Android and iOS, I see limited value in excluding an option that users can choose from, especially when its inclusion doesn't effect the phones functionality otherwise.

Just my two cents

+1 Agree! Just let default be the non-SureType format, but leave the option for us in there.

I am frankly totally disappointed with SureType on the 9850--it is inaccurate and error-prone compared the awesome abilities of Storm and Storm 2. But I think it's generally acknowledged that RIM's touchscreen keyboards are not up to par--hopefully with PlayBook quality in BB10 phones, the keyboard will be a dream and SureType will shine again.

Hey--we know it's not for everyone, but a lot of us are addicted to it so what's the big deal with including it?

I totally agree with you. The Storm series iteration of SureType was far more accurate. Hell, while they're at it, bring back SurePress with an on/off option.

I am 95% positive the problem resides in the plastic screen. I have used SureType in all its iterations (Pearl, Storm, Torch 9860).

Trying to type on the Torch when my fingers/screen are/is cold is almost torture. As soon as it warms up, the typing is smooth as butter.

Never had this issue on my Storm with its glass screen...

I would have to agree with you. Sometimes I typo crap because I'm typing very quickly and the screen picks up inputs from my fingers just from being very close to the screen. That's not normal.

+1000! I love SureType and SurePress through and through, and your idea is brilliant! That would be sooo sweet! *wipes drool from mouth

+1 Totally agree and glad I'm not the only one who was frustrated with the Torch! I could not believe the gibberish that showed up when I tried to type!

Spent 2.5 hours on the phone w/ Blackberry Tech Support trying to figure out a work-around, with no luck. Printed out a copy of a BBM and showed the Verizon store manager and she couldn't believe how messed up it was. Needless to say, I returned it and went back to my Storm with its perfect SureType and SurePress. It's getting creaky, but still working fine!

I personally love suretype! I started using it on the BB storm 1 and even use it it from time to time on my unlocked torch 9800. Why kill it? I think the more keyboard options available to the consumer is better for all. LEAVE suretype and any other style keyboard on our BB phones. Let the consumer decide which keyboard layout they want and continue to allow us to change it at our own free will, under the options menu.

i think that this survey should not include the option of "what's suretype" the picture on the side pretty much explains it and if you dont know then why would u vote anyway?

I'm going to stick my two enormous thumbs (think Megan Fox) way up and say Keep SureType!

Evidently, my superpower seems to be "Able to cover 5 Qwerty keys in a single press", so SureType, with its larger keys, is the ONLY way I type. I would hate to see that go away. I can't use the Qwerty in either portrait or landscape. The buttons are too dang small. This is also why I can't use a phone with a physical keyboard.

Don't users still have the option of whether they want Qwerty or SureType in portrait mode? It wouldn't take anything away from the phone's capabilities to keep the SureType option, would it? Leave the choice up to the end user. If you don't want SureType, you don't have to have it. But leave it there for those of us who legitimately need to use it!

It should be an option for users in my opinion. I could fly on that keyboard on my Storm2. It was great for one handed typing too!

Give users the option to use which ever portrait keyboard they prefer.

I completely disagree with your math, but even still, why would you encourage that anyone take away the ability to make your own decision?

i have yet to catch up in speed regarding how fast i type on suretype versus full bb bold 9900 keyboard. i miss suretype. i went from pearl 8150, to 9100 because i loved the suretype. i knew which words were going to give me trouble so I could type without even looking at my phone. walk and text while keeping my head held high. now i have to keep looking at the keyboard, hoping, but doubting now, since its been 3 months since i had my 9900 and i still feel i type half as fast i used to on sure type

I'm not that impressed with swiftkey. Suretype is much better. Bring SWYPE to the BB and that'll be a great option for non-keyboard users.

I will be very upset if they remove suretype. It's simply fantastic for accurate one-handed typing.

EVERYONE is faster pressing keys where they can predict the outcome as opposed to relying on a system of AI guessing (or having to select words from a menu above the keyboard.

for the people who say let it die, Why? Why do you care? You clearly aren't using it. So why encourage them to leave out options for people who do?

Kevin, please use whatever power you have to make sure RIM knows the users of suretype really want to keep suretype an option.

Check this video to see what someone who uses SureType can do.

The video is outdated, and the ownage is now irrelevant, but the evidence is still the same. The typing speeds could not be achieved with the full portrait keyboard with that accuracy.

You're right! I dare anyone could possibly beat my accurate and fast typing using any other way than SureType. After a while using it, the system adapts to your manner and habits. I love it over all other phones because of it. When I play with friends who is capable of beat my writing of a certain sentence using their iPhones, Androids Swipes, etc. Everybody laughs and admit: This SureType thing is awesome.

Personally, since I am a "touch typist", I prefer a "QWERTY" keyboard. (In case anyone doesn't know, a "touch typist" is someone who does NOT have to look at the keys when they type). My first BlackBerry was a 7130E which had SureType. After I got used to it, I started to like it, but I still preferred a QWERTY keyboard.

When RIM released the BB 8330 Curve, I couldn't have been happier. And by the way, the keys are well spaced and are a good size on this model, and therefore, it is very easy to type accurately and quickly. After I upgraded to the BB 9800 Torch, I found myself going back to my 8330.

So I hope that RIM drops SureType on the BB10s.

- CB

well, obviously it depends on the screen size which we don't know yet...

But I think RIM will make a sane decision when it comes to keyboard so that's the least of my worry

I am wish the playbook had swype, it would be 100 timed easier for me to type if I had that on this device.

yes yes yes pls keep it forever!!! i never use the full keyboard display on my torch 9850.....suretype is so easy

SureType reduced is whats keeping me on the BB platform.
Don't you dare take it away.
Else. It s big keys/screen Samsung Note I come!!!

WTF... A full physical qwerty keyboard doesnt need suretype... And an iPhone 3 1/2 made by RIM (so called BB10) should go to hell....

not in my opinion... the leaked pics of the full-touch-BB10-device are looking similar gay like the iPhone... A BlackBerry is only a BlackBerry with physical keyboard... My point of view!

Really??? You are using the word "gay" to describe your perceived bad design of this phone? When is using this word as a negative description of something going to end? As a gay guy this really gets my blood going.

It's friggin' idiotic anyway, like the design of the Bold 9900 is "straight"?

It's time to let the old skOOl die. RIM has to stop thinking of the past, cause look where that's got them. On the verge of becoming extinct!

I think it's always good to offer options to your customers. Those who say, let it die are obviously not the type of users who use it right (duh!) but to those who do use it, taking it away might put them off from using future berries.

I know, for me, coming from a total crap dumb-phone to my 9810 was a bit of an adjustment. A good one, but still, I am a Master three-press texter. For me, even going to two-press SureType would have been a major upgrade. Now that I have a choice of full keyboards on the Torch though, I am loving life. I say keep it. It can't be that much of a code bloater.

The one thing I want BB to improve though is their limited RAM use/availability. I realize that their apps are small, but still, it's time to squash this limit once and for all. It's 2012 and time to get with the program...

You're missing out because I don't think you understand SureType.

You don't need to press the key twice to get the second letter. SureType's dictionary figures out what you're typing.

I use both landscape and portrait modes often on my 9850. Landscape for two-handed typing, passwords, and when typing something with a lot of proper nouns. I use suretype quite often for one-handed typing.

Give it a shot. i bet you'll like it.

I hated SureType devices, one of the reasons i got a bold 9000 instead of a iPhone at the time was that i wanted a full qwerty keyboard. I prefer qwerty as opposed to relying on predictive text.

Forget SureType, what we need to see is some Swype action! Yes, Swype! I love it on my Nexus S (guilty). It's an amazing keyboard and easy to use! RIM, get onboard with it for BB10...and don't forget to thank me later!

If it is easy to implement in software and optional, then why not? I can't wait to see if these rumors of the 3D keyboard are true and what that ends up being like.

Hi Kevin:

Is it possible that could also do a poll to see how many people might be interested in a 10" PlayBook.

Thanks and best regards.

SureType was my favorite choice of keyboards. It absolutely rocked for one handed operation. I tried Android for the last 2 years, and absolutely hate it! I am chomping at the bit for the first BB10 touchscreen phone to be released, the sooner the better since my contract is up for renewal in 3 months~!!!! WOOOHOOOOO

Suretype is still the best keyboard I've ever used on a bb. Just too bad they won't make a bold spec pearl.

Hell yeah !!

Suretype is the BEST input method ever. I loved my 7100t and I'm still loking forward on getting it on a newer device again. I would have bought the pearl 3G if it was released on Tmobile Usa.

Of course SureType should be an option, just because some people don't like it / use it, doesn't mean RIM should ignore those people who do - they should try to cater to as much of their consumer base as possible. This coming from a person who's never used SureType before.

Make the EXISTING bold form factor pretty much the same .... (save some money, eh?).... make the changes necessary for OS10.

Keep the physical buttons for the call, menu, trackpad, too. (save money, eh?)

Make it slightly thicker to allow for an auto focus camera and thicker battery.

Why not? One of the advantages of a software keyboard is the flexibility in changing configurations...might as well make it an option. If you don't like it, then don't use it.

I'm sure half of the people who voted to dump it have never even used it before. It is so useful in so may ways like when I am just searching for a contact to make a phone call or do a universal search - usually two or three taps with one hand and there you are.

It can easily be switched to full QWERTY for those who prefer that, so why wouldn't RIM continue to offer both?

My brother is constantly looking for a good suretype keyboard on his droid. He says nothing really compares to the storm's suretype. I for one love suretype. Makes one handed typing a breeze in portrait. If I need to type a word the phone doesn't know I just flip it on its side, type it out, and now the phone knows it. It's simple and easy and it works most of the time. I think with a glass screen and a few minor tweaks it could be much much better. And why get rid of a feature on a phone? It's not doing anyone harm. That's just ludicrous to start removing features like that... It's an option. And options are good.

Whenever a screen keyboard pops up, that's when it's time to slide out the real keyboard. No wimpy screen keyboard for me!

In my own opinion, I would not purchase a BlackBerry or any phone like this. I love having a keyboard - physical for now, maybe virtual later, if that is what I decide - with separate "buttons" for each letter. One reason why I love BlackBerry is because I can press the "C" button once and get "C;" and not press buttons over and over and see if my phone recognizes the word.

I remember once saying to someone via text, "I'll be home in forty minutes or so;" and it came out as "I'll be home in empty minutes or so." My lack of editing aside, I'd rather have a keyboard that will respond to my typing the way I want. I don't have any qualms per se with this phone being launched - I just wouldn't purchase it, is all. :)

I wasn't even aware of what Suretype was until this article. Decided to try it out and so far I quite like it. Already found myself replacing it as the standard VB on my Torch 9810 (QWERTY VB always leaves me dumbfounded on any OS, hence why I went to Blackberry). Handsdown the physical slideout keyboard is practically an extension of my hand, but it never hurts to have the availability of a VB when it finds itself preferable for use, and in my case it will be with SurePress.

_who cares if suretype is there, it isn't like a person has to enable it. Some people do like it, so leave it as a feature, seriously - why remove something that is not really even that bad, when it's just an option somebody is never forced to enable.___________________________________________________________
So leave it.
in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

My question is, what is it harming? Why take away features that really won't affect anyone if they are present? If you don't like it, don't use it, but for those that do like it they'll be upset when it's gone. Don't take shortcuts! I mean really, how hard is it to program another keyboard layout into bb10? Not very, I'm presuming.

So don't get rid of it because there is NO reason to. Keep it, even for the small demographic of people that use it.

Definitely, I actually like the keyboard on the Pearl better than any other BlackBerry. I would expect to like a touch keyboard like that better too.

Sure, SureType, Swype, all of them, even keyboards that haven't been invented yet. The keyboard shoud be a "plug-in" type system, with the possibility of choosing any keyboard that RIM provides as an option or that shows up in RIM's app world. Unleash the world's creativity on touchscreen keyboards and offer users the largest possible choice.

Whaaaaat? SureType is totally awesome! I was lightning fast texting with SureType in my Pearl, Storm, Storm2 and Torch!!!! Specially in my Storm2 hahaha. It's the only keyboard that lets you use the phone one handed. Of course that RIM should put SureType in BlackBerry 10 devices. How you people can say no? You're mean hahaha.

Hate Sure Type and would never use it - hated the Pearl because of it. As long as full QWERTY is available, I don't care if RIM makes Sure Type an option.

As long as it is an option, not a requirement, then what's the harm? I always went with SureType with my Storm 9530. With a touchscreen I personally feel like I need bigger buttons so it is better than a full QWERTY with little keys. Of course, I also intend to wait for a physical keyboard device.

1. Only If they make the keys in the old bigger Storm size. I am a user buy the Torch 98xx size a a bit too short.

2. If you haven't owned a Torch or Storm, you don't hve any business posting an answer to this question.

what i dont like about suretype is they cannot turn off the prediction thingy. Since i'm in Indonesia, every day i chat using bbm on Indonesian language. If there's a way to turn off the prediction, please send me a PM.

Having used it on my 7105, 9530, and 9550, I wouldn't mind seeing it make a return on any Portrait orientation BlackBerry smartphone.

I really hope the option of the SureType keyboard is in BlackBerry 10 touch phones and even tablets as it's the fastest one-handed touch screen way to type I have ever seen. I love being able to type single handedly more quickly than with two hands, that's why I chose the Curve 9380 as well as for its pocketable size. I suppose there would have to be some clever work put in to rework the current and next word prediction display on-screen while you type to give it the Blackberry 10 look and feel but it's not impossible.

An iphone wielding colleague of mine's jaw dropped when after seeing him have to put things he was carrying down so he could reply to a message on his crApple gadget I asked him what sentences he was trying to type and then showed him how much more quickly I could type them on my Curve 9380 with the reduced keyboard option (SureType) while still sipping my mug of peppermint green tea using my other hand. I was finished a minute before him and he had a head start. He was speechless as he realised my BlackBerry doesn't just multitask, it lets ME multitask too.

Later I caught him Googleing blackberry phones and looking at his iphone with displeasure as he wondered why he had been such a sucker allowing Apple to waste so much of his time slowing him down. I felt like I had shown him the light, he is now waiting for a blackberry 10 touch phone as his next mobile. My work there is done.

It's been quite some time since this column was written. Has anyone else seen or heard an answer if suretype is an option?

Absolutely keep the sure type. I only switched to the Torch when it came out because it had that option. I won't switch to an android because they don't have it.
If the Z10 does not have that option, I will not switch to it!

Keep it optional - but keep it! I had it on the 71series first and then for many years on Perl, STORM and Torch. One hand typing coulndt be easier.