Posts Tagged ‘Android’

When QWERTY is Really QOneWTwoEThree Etc.

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I have really enjoyed my T-Mobile G1 phone, the first phone on the market featuring Google’s Android operating environment. And I was a big fan of the Sidekick series before T-Mobile and Microsoft screwed those up.

What the Sidekick family and the G1 had in common was a real QWERTY keyboard. The term “QWERTY” stems from the letter sequence which appears on the first line of letters of a typical English language keyboard (other countries have different sequences, like QWERTZ in Germany).

But I have a real issue nowadays with people calling the shrunken key abominations with multiple function key combinations QWERTY keyboards. Case in point is the keyboard on the forthcoming T-Mobile G2 phone (allegedly also known as the HTC Vision). That keyboard combines numbers onto the top row of letters meaning that if you want to type numbers you have to hold down a special shift key to get those numbers to appear – so Alt-Q is a “1”, Alt-W is a “2”, and so on. That’s just plain stupid. And unproductive.

I have a Blackberry phone that I have been using for years on Bonaire because a phone with a real 5-line QWERTY keyboard was simply not available here (and because I rarely ever use my phone on Bonaire, I have never bothered to upgrade). And I hate using that Blackberry because I cannot type numbers directly. I have to use a special alt function key to get to numbers on the Blackberry. Augh!

But when I travel to the U.S. and elsewhere, I use my T-Mobile G1 at present.

However, I am at the point where the things I want to do on my G1 phone are not really viable because its memory capacity for applications is limited, and many new applications need the latest version of Android, and the whole thing has gotten a bit slow.

What complicates the purchase of a replacement phone is that there are sadly few new phones coming out with 5-line QWERTY keyboards such as what I have gotten used to over the last five years or so with Sidekicks and the G1. Instead, the new phones, if they have separate keyboards at all (instead of the even more annoying touch-screen keyboard – don’t get me started on those), they are four line QWERTY keyboards such as that on the new T-Mobile G2 with letters and numbers sharing keys. I hereby dub those fake QWERTY keyboards as “QOneWTwo” keyboards, or simply for better readability “QOneTwo” (pronounced “Quan-too”).

To the phone manufacturers out there – I’d be happy to pay several hundreds of dollars for a new Android phone with a decent processor if it has a true, five-line QWERTY keyboard and can run the latest iteration of Android. I would even switch my service from T-Mobile to another GSM/HSPA carrier in order to gain access to such a phone if I needed to. That may seem like an shallow promise, but I will note that I’ve been a T-Mobile customer (via their U.S. predecessor VoiceStream) since January 2001. With all the carrier hopping most people do these days, I doubt any of the current mobile carriers have many clients who have stuck with them for nine and a half years. But I’m willing to jump ship for a good phone with a real 5-line QWERTY keyboard.

T-Mobile and others can keep those annoying QOneTwo keyboards. Just stop suggesting they are QWERTY keyboards. They aren’t, really.