As high-tech as it is, Nokia’s new “disruptive” N9 is, in one significant way, not very disruptive at all. Like the N8 before it, a whole slew of Android phones and of course Apple’s locked-down iAppliance the N9 is yet another touch-screen monoblock handset that I personally can’t stand.
The problem for me boils down to text entry. I’ll let Steve Litchfield of The Phones Show explain:
Steve makes some great points here, though I myself prefer portrait qwertys over anything else. Point is, text entry for desktop, laptop and netbook computers has been more or less standardized because the five-row qwerty keyboard with optional numberpad and extra row of function keys works. Can you really say the same about on-screen software equivalents?
Last week Electricpig.co.uk made the rather bold claim that they had tested every single Android keyboard app in existence. I haven’t tried all of them but the ones I have all suck. Even Swype, the go-to keypad app on my Nexus S, feels like skidding around on black ice when compared to the physical qwerty on my Motorola Spice.
The tablet-style slab is great for reading and other forms of consumption, but for text entry I’m of the continuing opinion that nothing beats a physical qwerty keypad. The continuing popularity of BlackBerries in my country will attest to this.
It’s been great fun following the evolving design of mobile phones over the years, and while the industry may have decided on a standardized form factor I don’t think the users have just yet. Am I right?