CrackBerry Poll: How important is it that your smartphone have a physical keyboard?

By Kevin Michaluk on 11 Aug 2010 01:44 pm EDT
BlackBerry Keyboards
BlackBerry Keyboards

With the recent announcement of the BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 last week, BlackBerry has been making headlines everywhere. In addition to the expected reviews and buzz surrounding these new products, I've noticed a common theme emerge in a lot of these stories regarding the smartphone keyboard. Specifically, it's the old debate about physical keyboards vs. touchscreen keyboards. Is the physical keyboard the critical factor that makes a person buy a BlackBerry? Will the demand for physical keyboards continue long term or will they eventually become a piece of history in favor of full touchscreen devices?

RIM is known for making the best physical keyboards in the industry, and for the most part it's one of the key visible attributes that make a BlackBerry easily recognizable. As I told CNN last week in an interview (check out the full story here), I think a lot of people see a phone with a full keyboard and they immediately assume it's a BlackBerry whether it is or isn't. It's almost as if the competition has conceded the physical keyboard market to RIM while most new devices hitting the market are focused on delivering a big touchscreen experience. That's good news for RIM and BlackBerry, so long as that need for a physical keyboard not only continues, but continues to grow along with the growth in the smartphone market.

Personally, I love physical keyboards and think it'll be a long, long time before that changes. The tactile feedback builds a muscle memory you just can't develop to the same extent on a touchscreen (how many of you can type on your berry without even looking at the keys?!) and the rhythm of pushing buttons is just so much more rewarding than having to watch the screen to see that the letters you've tapped have been entered properly. And of course, a physical keyboard allows you to still pound out messages in bumpy enviroments -- while walking, in the back of an NYC taxi cab, etc. -- with much more ease than trying to type on a touchscreen. That's not to say I don't like touchscreens as I definitely do, but I like having a physical keyboard too (hence why I'm liking the Torch). But I'm just one person with one vote in the poll above. So where do you stand up on the keyboard debate? Cast your vote above and be sure to sound off in the comments with your theories on the future of the physical keyboard and BlackBerry's dependence or lack of dependance on it.

Reader comments

CrackBerry Poll: How important is it that your smartphone have a physical keyboard?


Now that the Torch is out, I'd say that at least RIM is giving us a choice, which is pretty nice, but I just can't get over how fast and comfortable typing on my 9650's keyboard is. My friends are starting to question if it's really me texting them back that fast. ;)

The physical keyboard is a must have. Tried the Storm2, and switched back after 30 days only because I committed to trying it that long. The Torch is a nice balance

I never even looked twice at a BlackBerry until the first Storm dropped. Then after a year of unrivaled enjoyment from a phone, I picked up the Storm2 a.k.a. the best phone based device I've ever used. I still cringe anytime I pick up a non Storm BB, and eagerly await the Storm 3 and BB 6 the way it was meant to be used: on an all touchscreen 1GHz device!

This poll is going to be skewed!! Because RIM did such a horrible job implementing a touchscreen phone that those folks who did wanted virtual keyboard have left the BB scene.

If the touchscreen is done right, you can do without one. After using an iPod Touch and an Android device for 6 months now, I type way faster on the iPod Touch than I do a Blackberry. Colleagues are always surprised when they see me typing on the touch since I was already insanely fast with the BB anyways.

I love having a physical keyboard. I think its one reason why I'm so interested in the Torch as I can have the best of both worlds.

I have to use my BlackBerry for email constantly throughout the day, and I Love my physical keyboard. My roommate has the Samsung Captivate and my lil bro has the Evo - I love to navigate the phone with a touchscreen and browsing is awesome too. Can't wait to get the 9800- best of both worlds!!

"Blackberry Keyboard" is a must!! I keep coming back to my tour... after Droid(1), storm, iphone, and droid incredible use... I've been dreaming of a torch for 3 years now! Verizon pick up the slack!

But only because I've never had a touch screen and never was a fan of them either until I put my hand on the Torch!!!!! I could get used to that baby!

i did the iPhone thing for about a year, but a physical keyboard was why i chose my Bold 9000 and why im still here w/ this Bold 9700. i'll never go back to touching any screen. ever!

Same reason I went back and got my Bold 9000. The Torch is a nice balance though, some things I'd rather do with a touchscreen.... but typing is not one of them.

...Surepress is genius. I don't get why it gets such a bad rap. I can type faster on my 9550 than I ever could on my 8100 (SureType notwithstanding) or on other friends' 'Berries. Yes, it has its issues (wet/sweaty fingers to name my biggest gripe), but the tradeoffs are the larger size screen vs keyboard BBs, and I'm very rarely selecting the wrong thing (which I do all the time anytime I pick up an iPhone).

Just tossing my couple of pennies in the well...

I'd rather have a bigger screen than a physical keyboard. I do like the idea of the torch, but... ...I'm on Verizon. No Torch for me. =(

I have big fingers, i've always struggled with physical keyboards, reason why i've been a long time iPhone user. In fact, i will be replacing my iPhone 3G with the Torch tomorrow because of the virtual keyboard that the Torch now has and obviously the messaging capabilities of these devices (BBs).

I've had touch screens before, and absolutely hate them for texting, Iphone is cool and all for games and apps, but functionally the blackberry is a better choice for me, the Torch is a sweet combo of the two, VERIZON STEP IT UP!!!

Ive have both. I now have just my BB. im goign 4 years strong with my BBerry. The Iphone was ok as far as the keyoard, but the physical keys are better. The torch have a keyboard and touch is nice, but ATT can KMA :-)

I've tried touchscreens before and it just isn't anywhere as good as having a physical keyboard. I really want to see another phone that wields both, but on a form factor like that of the Pixi. I personally dislike Slider phones, specially vertical sliders. For performing actions such as navigation a touchscreen is the way to go, but when it comes to typing (SMS/e-mail/IM) it is much easier for me to do so on a keyboard.

My last handset was a touchscreen - never again.
Got the 9700 specifically for the keyboard.
Next phone something Torchlike (as there will no doubt be a successor by the time I upgrade).

I don't think it is as mandatory to have a physical keyboard so long as it is a good keyboard. Lets face it, there are some physical keyboards out there that truly suck and then there are some touchscreen keyboards that are amazing.

I don't care just so much as it is a great keyboard!

I've been using a Storm 1 for a year and a half, and while I enjoy a touchscreen, deliberately wanted a touchscreen at the time... I want a physical keyboard on my next phone. Maybe not an absolute must if a good touchscreen can convince me but its pretty high priority. I've never had a physical keyboard crackberry and I'm thinking the Torch is the good way to go to keep the touchscreen I'm familiar with while still moving up to the physical that I'd really like.

Anybody who doesnt want a physical keyboard should buy a touchscreen pc that gives up its monitor "landscape" to the keyboard and see how they like it. It's not just about physical keys, its about giving up part of your display to use those keys (especially us old blind coots (over 40) that think the fonts are too small already!)

You do know that with a "virtual" keyboard, the keyboard is only there when you need it... and it takes-up about the same amount of space as the "physical" keyboard.

The difference is that if you do not need the keyboard, it's not there and you have even more real estate to view web-pages, pictures, movies...

I do like Swype on Android, but prefer my blackberry for all things texting/e-mail. I carry two phones just so I don't have to give up a physical keyboard.

I have debated carrying around 2 devices, but not sure I'm ready to make that "leap". I upgraded to a Droid X on release day, but I really miss the messaging of a BB (email is especially bad on the X). I've wondered how people who carry 2 different devices do this? Add a second line? Swap SIM cards (not an option for me on VZW)? Use a Google Voice number? I would have a hard time justifying having to carry around 2 devices all the time and paying for 2 data plans but would also like the best of both worlds. Decisions, decisions...

I've used just about every blackberry that's been made in the last 6 years and I have to say that the keyboard on the Tour or Bold is by far the only way to go. I just switched from the 9530 and I love having a keyboard again. The Torch does look appealing but I'll wait until Verizon gets a version of it.

I've been using touchscreens since my samsung i700 and have had some with slide out keyboards and some strictly touchscreen and as long as I have a decent sized keyboard like the Storm's in landscape mode, I'm fine - the keys on my Storm are a bit small even in landscape but its usable.

Having a real keyboard is important to a lot of people, especially to those still in the feature phone market. I suggest bb to people all the time, and I've heard the "big thumb" excuse more times than I can stomach. RIM really needs to develop a landscape slider to bring these people over. I personally wouldn't want one myself as I'm used to the compact keyboard on the traditional BlackBerry, but they would sell a ton of this form factor.

The keyboard is the reason why I have a blackberry, I'm bored an tired of this craze about touchscreen it's over rated and if it aint broke why fix it! I really hope RIM make many more phsyical keyboard smartphones for years too come.
You don't need to poke everything :)

I love having a keyboard on my phone. I have used the Storm and got use to the touch screen. Really started to like it, but really missed the feel of an actual keyboard!!!
With this Torch phone we will see, best of both worlds, I still haven't made up my mind yet for it guess have to wait and see.

I wish I had more time to type what I feel here, but I am in the middle of a corporate meeting and I can't.

I just want to say that I can type on my SurePress portrait keyboard on my Storm2 9550 with 95% accuracy WITHOUT looking at my device.

I think it really sucks that most (if not all) the Crackberry staff are hardcore physical keyboard defenders (especially you Kevin) and have spent the past week bashing the BlackBerry Storm series. That is something you should never do. Never discredit or lower your own product (or product that your website is dedicated to), even if you do think it sucks. That's poor business practice.

I personally think that RIM removing SurePress from the Torch was a bad move. Finally someone innovated a method to easily have TWO methods to touch the screen with a single finger and people call it a technology "flop"???

I could talk for an hour why a touchscreen keyboard is so much better than a physical keyboard, but as I said, I don't have time.

Kevin, I would love the opportunity to talk with you and explain why I believe you are incorrect in your beliefs.
PIN: 3126B311

not really important. most people haven't giving a touch screen keyboard a chance. use it for about a month on a decent device and typing without looking will being super easy.

I went from a Palm Pre to an HTC EVO 4G, thinking to myself "all these people that talk about how great the auto-correct is on soft keyboards must be onto something, and just think, I get all that extra screen real-estate when I'm not typing". After 3 weeks of truly trying to live with the soft keyboard and realizing that I was getting to the point where I simply didn't even want to pick up my phone, I decided that, for me, a physical keyboard is a must.

The auto-correct of typos was fine for natural language, but completely useless for entering URLs or passwords or anything else that was actually TECHNICAL - somewhat like the slowdown encountered during voice transcription once you leave the realm of 'normal conversational speech'.

I switched to a 9650 and won't be looking back. Now if the Torch was available on Sprint, I'd be delighted to have more screen real-estate - I really liked the vertical slider format from the Pre, and fiddling with a display Torch at an AT&T store, it seems to me RIM did a much more robust job than Palm did with the mechanism.

My left thumb doesn't bend much at the top joint, so navigating a physical keyboards is a huge pain. But with the virtual keyboard on my Storm 2, I get around pretty fast. Predictive texting and automatic correction help in this respect. (Plus, I've actually come to like Sure Press. Call me crazy.)

There is no way anyone could convince me to get a phone without a keyboard ever again! I'd sacrifice the camera and music player before I'd give up the keyboard.

Keyboards forever!

I have an ipod touch, but I'd never want a touchscreen device as my primary one - you just can't type as fast on one. Also my ipod has an irritating thing where the R key can be hard to press, somehow it just doesn't want to type that one. Baffling and annoying.

with two blackberries to date and a third on the horizon. The keyboard is a keeper for all of us. No way any of us is going back to a touch screen when such fine devices with keyboards are available.

I used to think I wanted an iPhone whenever VZW gets it. that was a few years ago. Cue to today on my Bold first smart phone (well, technically my second as it replaced a faulty Tour)....And I don't think I could ever use a touch screen. Tried typing on my F-I-L's iPhone, my Dad's Droid, my Daughter's iTouch......I hate it. hate hate hate.

And are afraid to switch over to a touch screen, they have no idea how easy and captive the screens are now, even better than a lot of cramped Blackberry keyboards.

Its like when everyone didnt know that Blackberry was for everyone, most people were like I dont run a corporation then I dont need a Black berry

You have to try it first and that means more than a week, people just lie and say oh I tried the Iphone and took it back...what they mean is they picked up there friends couldnt unlock it and gave it back

I still side with the physical keyboard. Typing on my 9000 is very easy and I do have a much better sense for where the keys are. However, I recently purchased an ipod touch and have been surprised at the ease with which I've been able to type on it. Comparing the two, I still think the keyboard wins because I think it is better for longer emails and longer stints of typing. I will have to experiment more, but right now it seems that the physical keyboard is a must.

Both have their merit, I suppose. I find the Curve keyboards generally too small; Bold is better. Nevertheless, I hate/despise/resent/object-to using the ALT to get numbers or special characters on a Bold keyboard! However, I love the screen space of a touchscreen. This is what gives the Torch slider some appeal! However, I don't like the fact it is so thick. Touchscreens are great if you don't type as much, although I've easily sent 3 page emails using my Storm and I've written some documents while vacationing. I text and type comfortably on my SurePress touchscreen.

Indeed, this is genuinely a question of personal preference. For me, screen space wins easily for apps, browsing, writing documentation and emails, so I'll gladly sacrifice the "convenience" of a physical keyboard... especially if I never have to see another ALT key!

I love the options between touch and physical, but I will use the physical more. I just got my mitts on the Torch and it is nice! Still think the Bold 9000 had the best physical keyboard ever!

I may be a little biased to a touch screen (only) because the Storm2 was my first...first smartphone, first blackberry. :D

I love touchscreens. Not to mention I can type faster with Suretype on my Storm 9530 than all my friends on their iphones, and I'll bet that I can type faster on it than the majority of people with full keyboards.

Why does it seem like BlackBerry users (which I am a part of) seem to be obsessed with the keyboard? Keyboarded smart phones are the Betamax of the smart phone world. Sure, like Betamax, it has some great benefits, but the future is being able to type, talk, etc. in a seamless interface. Our community is becoming a bunch of people waving sticks at kids for walking on our lawns.

The new Torch is another example of RIM's inability to be forward thinking... Very SAD...

Your comment, well, says very little. What exactly do you mean by a "seamless interface"?

Having a physical keyboard right there right then seems to be seamless. I hit Alt and I can access numbers and symbols without 'leaving' my qwerty keyboard. On the iPhone or iPad, I have to press "?123" or "ABC" to switch between keyboards.

On the BlackBerry I can hold a letter to capitalize it. On the iPhone or iPad I have to press the Shift key. Exactly who is forward thinking?

I would be willing to try touchscreen again as technology improves. I've tried touch on Storm 1, iphone 3GS, Droid-always came back to the Blackberry.

I will only use touchscreen only I was not a fan of the keyboard on my Tour. My Droid X or iTouch is nice and fast. I have large hands so BB can be a challenge. I also don't like the function to get to a number.

For me, it's pretty imperative. When it came to purchasing a new phone, I was choosing between either a 9700 or an iPhone. Having had an iPod touch for two years I knew what it was like using an on-screen keyboard, and I hated it. Using two thumbs is awkward, and generally having no tactile response feels clumsy. You also can't use the thing lying in bed because it keeps flipping around the screen to the way it thinks you're facing. Before my Bold, I had an LG ks360, and while the phone is shockingly poor in generally, I appreciated the full QWERTY keyboard, and seeing as RIM makes the best keyboards in the business, I went for the 9700.

I am surrounded at work by both Iphone and BB users. I've noticed the Iphone people type/peck with one finger, while BB users tend to go with two thumbs. I can see how a single finger typist wouldn't care whether it was touch or true keyboard.

I just can't type quickly using my thumbs, without the tactile feedback.

IPhone, Cliq, mytouch, used many others...and IMO nothing beats physical keyboards, especially BB keyboards as they are without question the best around. I just can't type for crap on TS's as my fingers are too big...granted the iPhone isn't too bad and some newer Andriods are getting better and most have swype.(Another thing I can't do for ish!) Torch is the best of both worlds...and I do miss the real estate of the TS for browsing...only main reason I want another TS...but has to be both TS and full QWERTY....Torch is for me, just on wrong carrier. :( Here is hoping one day it comes to the T!

I have purchased and returned both an iPhone and a Captivate and returned both. A touchscreen has lots of positives, but I just cannot type quickly or accurately enough on it. If the Torch ends up looking like it's a well-made, bug-free device, I'll get one.

The keyboard is good. So is the the screen....The Torch is gonna rock!

After a loooong time to switch to the iphone from the Palm Treos, the screen is a one finger endeavor. It is possible to thumb the screen, but it takes some getting used to, and to keep looking up to see that the correct words are on the screen. One finger is clearer to know that the content written is correct.

The Blackberry selling point for me was the (free) BBMessenger. I can message in real time, and some family and friends went Blackberry, so I can be in touch with them easier and quicker.

Listen, there is no race to type the fastest, or quickest answer wins the prize. It's up to what you want; that fills your needs and fits the job needed.

Now I am back to thumbs and wondering why I ever went away.

The keyboard is good. So is the the screen....The Torch is gonna rock!

After a loooong time to switch to the iphone from the Palm Treos, the screen is a one finger endeavor. It is possible to thumb the screen, but it takes some getting used to, and to keep looking up to see that the correct words are on the screen. One finger is clearer to know that the content written is correct.

The Blackberry selling point for me was the (free) BBMessenger. I can message in real time, and some family and friends went Blackberry, so I can be in touch with them easier and quicker.

Listen, there is no race to type the fastest, or quickest answer wins the prize. It's up to what you want; that fills your needs and fits the job needed.

Now I am back to thumbs and wondering why I ever went away.

I have to say that I really like the tactile feedback of a keyboard. I didn't like typing on my friend's iPhone. I'm sure with practice, I could get better, but I type so much faster already on my Tour's keyboard.

I haven't tried SurePress on the Storm 2, but it is something that interests me. Not having any type of response from the device just bugs me. I'll be interested to see what the Storm 3 comes out with, but for the most part, I'm counting on keeping a physical keyboard around for now.

I don't mind having a physical keyboard, but I HATE the traditional keyboard on the BlackBerry phones - which is why I opted to get a Storm in the first place.

and this among BB's most loyal, loyalists? W/O a keyboard, RIM is out of business before 2011. With the keyboards, they're at least in the game a few more years?

I write more emails on my blackberry than on my laptop, so a physical keyboard is very important because I write very long, detailed emails for work. Easy cut, copy and paste is important too. I do the bulk of my online work on my iPad rather than on my laptop, excluding correspondence which is done on the bb and uploads/downloads/attachments/viewing flash videos which is done on the laptop.

I've noticed that my friends, clients and associates who have iPhones or other touchscreen devices do not write very long replies!

Gotta say for me a physical keyboard is a must. First smartphone was a Curve 8320 and I loved its keyboard; now, I've never purchased a device that was exclusively a touchscreen, but I have used virtual keyboard on previous devices. I had a T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream and tried using both Google's stock Android keyboard and HTC's virtual keyboard and after a day or so of forcing myself to only using it I would get frustrated and start using the physical one. The same thing happened on the HTC Touch Pro2 that I had when I did the same experiment. I've got a friend with a Storm 9530 who let me try out typing on his phone when I was thinking about unlocking one of them, and while SurePress gets the job done, I still wasn't typing as fast on it as I used to on my older physical keyboard devices. So I borrowed another friends Bold 9000, absolutely loved the keyboard on it, and adopted the Bold 9700 since its got the same (albeit a slightly more cramped) keyboard. Also, I have large hands and I have no problem with typing on these devices.

Keyboard for me. I tried the iPhone before buying my BlackBerry, and it annoyed me to no end to do simple things like editing long web addresses, and sending long email messages. I think touch screens are good for navigating the OS, but I need a keyboard to be able to get anything done.

A must for any adult, that uses it for work and email. Tried the whole andriod thing its way to hard to get any real work done in a reasonable amount of time. That's why I love my 9700!!

i definitely need a physical keyboard because with that, i can type without looking, but i do want a touchscreen, thats why the torch would be perfect for me

Got to have a keyboard for me. I like touch screens to play around with.. But hate their touch-boards..but now the torch is out and it has the best of both worlds!! Keyboard to type on and a touch screen to play with(without surepress too!!!) Now I just need to move so I can buy one and get off this CDMA network.
BB kick A$$!! Woooo

Got to have a keyboard for me. I like touch screens to play around with.. But hate their touch-boards..but now the torch is out and it has the best of both worlds!! Keyboard to type on and a touch screen to play with(without surepress too!!!) Now I just need to move so I can buy one and get off this CDMA network.
BB kick A$$!! Woooo

I owned several Palms before my 1st Blackberry 8330 and I have no problems with touch screen phones as long as they have a physical keyboard. There's just something about the assurance that what you are typing is accurate. This is what makes the Torch so appealing. Just haven't experienced a full touchscreen that felt comfortable.

I can use my BB blindfolded and often reply to messages without even looking at the phone... something you CAN NOT do on a touch screen as there is no tactile feeling....

A physical keyboard is a must for me, I have had 4 different BB's and an IPhone 3gs, the touch was more... "Fun" for me, until I had to wright a decent email to my boss, and it took for ever. A physical keyboard will always be better in my opinion.

I'm dropping my 3GS for a 9780 just as soon as it goes live. Can't wait.
Primary reason…qwerty!

My husband recently bought me a Droid X when he purchased himself one. I loved the camera on it, loved the video, but each time I used it, I didn't like using it.
Finally, it dawned on me. I hated the touch keyboard most of all. I prefer my Blackberry and we sent the Droid X back to Verizon.
(Also, love the options of having a hidden today, today screen, etc. I didn't find a Droid X set up that fit the same functions that I have grown used to.)

I spent a few months with an iPhone, and while I guess you could say that a virtual keyboard grows on you, I find touch-screen devices to be just a touch (get it?) annoying. The haptic sensors existing on some devices felt tacked on and over-sensitive, the keyboard on the iPhone was horribly cramped, even when in landscape mode, and I found I made more mistakes, even with generally small hands. I feel for anyone who has ginormous hands trying to use that thing.

On the other hand, my bold 9700 also has a pretty cramped keyboard, but the fact that it's an actual tactile keyboard is definitely working for it.

I generally like to be able to use physical buttons on the keyboard, so I don't have to be looking at the keyboard/screen when I'm writing/selecting something. It was for this same reason that I got rid of my iPod Touch and went back to the classic.

I've debated this question after having a Curve and a Storm2 both for several months. I like everything about the Storm2 (big screen, inertia scrolling, buttons all over the screen, reading email and deleting,web browsing, etc. )but I do believe it is harder to type accurately on the Storm2 than on a physical keyboard. I can type just as fast on the Storm2 but not as accurate. For those that use password protection, it is a couple extra strokes to get access to the device on the Storm2 whereas with a physical keyboard, one can just start typing the password without having to get the screen activated and unlocked first.

I'm not sure which way to go in the future. It will be interesting to see the Storm3 and the Torch when they come to Verizon.

BlackBerry wasn't on my radar until the Storm. When it came time to decide on which BB to upgrade when my 2-year contract was up with Verizon, I went and tested out the Bold, Tour, and the Storm2. It was so easy to type on the touchscreen, and I felt like a hen pecking on the physical keyboards of the Tour and Bold. It actually felt as though the keys were too close together. I went with the Storm2, and I look forward to the next generations on the Storm series.

Every time I pick up a friends touch based phone, it has unintended responses. Like every touch opens another app, or switches views, or tries to make a phone call- totally frustrating. Especially the ones that buzz in (false) acknowledgement of the misplaced taps.

What can I say, I like pushing little buttons.

I'm so sick over Apple & HTC shoving virtual keyboards down people's throats.

I had Bold 9000 (best keyboard on a mobile device ever)

Storm 9550 (sure-press is pretty awesome. if I had to have another touchscreen phone, it'd need sure-press)

..and also a Bold 9700 (second best keyboard after the 9000)

Keyboards are a must for me.. I had the storm for 3 months, and gave up on touchscreen. It was the best touchscreen keyboard because of sure-press, but nothing beats a real keyboard. BTW, I also own an iPod Touch so I know what the keyboard is like.

I hate touch screens. I think they're gross, and I can't use them without looking. I have an ipod touch and it's the most irritating thing in the world that I have to be touching it all the time. I hate it.

Not only do I need a keyboard, I need a smaller phone with a crunched, SureType keyboard. The full-size berries are too much for me and as a result I'm still carrying my 2+ year old, arthritic 8130. I'm a girl, and a girly girl at that with long, manicured nails, but damn it I'm good with tech and damn it I want a small, powerful phone with a crunched keyboard.

(And for any of you who don't get how small my fingers are- my hands are only 6" long, I'm a size 4.5 on my left ring finger, and I'm 5'2" so clearly not a midget, just petite. But petite people need smartphones, too).

My first ever blackberry was a 9550. I still have it and love the interface. Don't know about physical keyboards. Sure press/sure type = boss!

First phone was an HTC touch, and by the end would take me 20-30 minutes to enter a phone number. Scared me off touch screens for good. We have a iPod touch for the kids to watch movies on. I've used that a bit, but I like being able to rest my thumbs on the keys without selecting letters.

How is it that BlackBerry Storm 2 did not make it onto the picture you used to go along with the article. It would make sense that your asking a question about physical keyboards. On a BlackBerry site. Yet, i see no touch screen BlackBerry device pictured. You throw in a HTC EVO in the mix? Im just not quite grasping the fact that it is not shown in your article. Its like if a professional sports columnist or writer for a reputable MLB (Major League Baseball) magazine wrote this exact same article but the topic "How important is it to have a left handed or right handed pitcher close in the 9th inning?" Then in the pictures it shows 3 pitchers and a fullback? It just doesn't make sense to me.

I have to have a physical keyboard. I switched from an 8330m to the HTC Hero and after 2 weeks I switched to the Tour. I would even go so far as to say my phone must be a BlackBerry.

Haha! i can type on my 9700 without looking too! and i must say: "WE CAN BE PRETTY DAMN FAST!" and that just CAN NOT be done on a touch screen. THAT'S why the 9800 (especially the torch 2) will end up being BIGGER than anyone expected. except me. i knew.

I definetely prefer the physical keypad since it feels a lot like the real keyboard than the touchscreen. I have tried iphone and storm but they just don't give me the feel. I keep mistype using the touchscreen. With Torch, I thing RIM give us the choice to use the keypad to type and the touchscreen to navigate the phone.

I agree with my brethren. A physical keyboard is a must. I've tried touchscreen only phones but have always come back to BB. A good phone can be made great with a BB keyboard.

While teaching my brother th Crackberry way when he purchased his first BB (9650) I realized how much I love my touch screen on my storm. Just couldn't get the hang of a actual keyboard. To small for my fingers. Kept hitting the wrong buttons. (This made me look stupid) with that said I could care less about a physical keyboard. Give me touch screen all day long.

I can't live without a keyboard. I have tried the iphone and went right back to a blackberry. Now I would be totally down for a blackberry like the palm pixi with the touchscreen top and actual keyboard (it would have to be larger than the pixi though)as far as a slider not really sure how I feel about them. I had an lg f9100 that was amazing when I was 15 but now who knows

touchscreen keyboards are crap on small portable devices like mobile phones! at least to me it. I find that im accidentally touching something else and causing some other menu to pop up instead.

physical keys, you're less likely too. I feel like its mandatory but I probably wouldn't enjoy not having one on a mobile phone.

A bigger phone like the EVO could work a little better but anything bigger just becomes ridiculous.

I agree about the memory-muscles thing too :P

I want a blackberry because they are the only company doing keyboards well... not a big fan of landscape keyboards on phones.

I read that anthropologists are saying humans never used the thumb like they do now with technology.

I have been interested in what people who have truly used touch and physical keyboards for a decent length of time have to say. They are the only one providing useful information in this discussion, so thanks for that. I have only used a touch screen and feel like I am fast (but I have to look and am so impressed with those of you who don't). I have always wondered about a physical keyboard, but also know I would need to spend some serious time getting used to it before I could form a valid opinion.

Many (don't know actual stats) current BB users were Palm users in the past. My fastest data entry was using Graffiti with a stylus. It was natural and fluid. But since all current devices shy away from stylus use my second choice is keyboard. I agree with multiple posts that said that the large Bold 9000 was the best keyboard. My 9700 is slower for me (and I have small hands) than the 9000 was.
I'll look forward to trying the keyboard and touchscreen on the 9800.


And the layout should be such that the phone is held in the portrait orientation rather than the landscape orientation so I don't have to reach too far with my thumbs. A landscape keyboard on my T-Mobile G1 caused a repetitive stress injury.

The Torch and Palm Pre are good examples of how a full-face screen should be done.

That does not have a physical keyboard. It's part of the reason why the iPhone has never appealed to me.
I have used my brother's Storm before, and I find it too hard to type with a touch screen. My Bold's keyboard is perfect for my little girl fingers. :p I pretty much have most of the keys memorized and can type without even looking at the keyboard, that is why I must physically be able to feel the buttons. I wouldn't be able to do that with a touch screen.

While I have had problems with the Storm 2 locking up on me (I am on my third one in almost a year) I love it. I love the touch screen keyboard. This was a strong selling point for me. The BB keyboards seem to small for me. I use the touch screen horizontally and use it fairly efficient.