The Keyboard, it’s so, Real

Push up on the bottom of the Pre’s screen and the keyboard awkwardly slides out from under it. You’re supposed to push up from the middle of the Pre’s screen to do it properly apparently. Either way you go about it, what you reveal isn’t any virtual keyboard - it’s a real 35 key QWERTY keyboard:

Hold down the orange button to use the alternate function on each key and hold down the shift button to yell at someone. There are dedicated @ and . keys as well as a Sym key that brings up a software keyboard (gasp) that lets you enter a variety of symbols.

The size of the keyboard means that it does take some getting used to. You can be quick with it, but not right off the bat. It takes some practice but once you get there, it won’t be a limiting factor. In fact, the biggest limit to how fast you can type is the fact that the Pre has no intelligent predictive text engine. It will capitalize new words for you and insert apostrophes when appropriate, but if you misspell a word it won’t correct it on the fly. Coming from the iPhone, this is a huge omission (Apple probably holds the patent on awesome predictive text input, Palm would probably have to clean Jobs‘ toilets weekly to get access to that one).

I must admit: the physical keyboard is nice. I’m not really much quicker with it than I am on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, but it’s not about speed - it’s about feedback. It’s nice to just be able to push buttons, I know what I’m hitting and I don’t have to worry about whether my finger is a millimeter too far to the left or right. And yes, you can type while you’re driving (although it’s still possible on the iPhone, just easier with a real keyboard). And yes, you really shouldn’t be doing that.

Index Oh Hashmir, I’ve Used This Title Too Much Already
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  • OCedHrt - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    My HTC has predictive text input (based on key locality) in case of a miss so I don't think Apple has a patent on it.
  • macs - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Speaking of fast web browsing.... i use opera mini on my google Ion phone (android). It delivers full browsing experience and it's blazing fast. Opera mini loads over my 3g network in just 9 seconds. You should try!
  • imaheadcase - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Thats how apple stays in business right there, everyone thinks throwing money at overpriced products IT will get better eventually.. ZING!

    I don't know why this review is comparing it to a Iphone, Iphone is outclassed by other smartphones as it is, why not compare it to a real phone like a HTC touch or the like? You know, a phone that is popular with regular people and not hollywood hipsters only..

    Downvote if you want, but the FACT of the matter is, the Iphone is a niche market, look at the top phones sold by At&T, the basic flip phone is still the best selling phone in the world, the HTC touch even outsells the iphone 10-1. Like I mentioned before, I know one person who has a iphone and he only got it because parents got it to him as a going away to collage gift.

  • jmaine - Saturday, June 20, 2009 - link

    Where are you coming up with these stats from? Please show me one reliable source that says the HTC Touch outsells the iPhone 10-1. Please leave the bs in your dreams.
  • ltcommanderdata - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    One thing I find funny about arguments that the iPhone lacks basic features found in other phones is that despite this Apple has still sold 21 million iPhones as of March 2009, which is quite a success for a company that wasn't in the cell phone business 2 years ago. The question other phone manufacturers should be thinking about is what happens when the iPhone incorporates many of these lacking hard features in addition to the fluffy pizzaz it already has? How much additional demand will there be for a full featured iPhone?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    The reviews agree, the HTC Touch isn't in the same class of smartphone as the iPhone. Most phones will outsell things like the iPhone; lower prices and lower monthly fees will determine quantities, but the space the iPhone competes in is the high end smartphone market where the stakes/players are a bit different.

    Take care,
  • rudy - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    I cant find any provider which sells an HTC touch cheaper then an iPhone.
  • Stas - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Same. I know 2 ppl that had iPhones. 1 was my techy friend, who took it to the shooting range and unloaded his rifle at it after 5 months of use. The other is my wife's friend who only knows how to call and text on it (not sure WHY she got it... oh, yeah, it's COOL).
    But I can think of at least 8 ppl that have a Blackberry... :)
  • anandtech02148 - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Nokia N97, europe's answer to all american hyped up marketing trash. N97 unlocked, using Fring to escape that other american trash, US cellphone pre-nups.
    Voip, sip account, sweetness. symbian s60 5th is a bit shaky, but then again there isn't a perfect Os for new cellphone model that comes out every 3months, thanks to Taiwan,Korea and China new handset are out every 24hrs. the only win for Apple here is a lot of laid off engineers creating adobe flash games for the iphone, how else would you get 50,000 apps. my hope is Nokia's answer apple in the next 6month with dual cores Arm.

  • snarfbot - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    im glad you're happy with your 700 US dollar phone.

    dumb americans are happy to get a free phone and use the same carrier for a couple of years, probably because almost every network is essentially the same in terms of features/cost.

    on a side note, something needs to be done about the word american.

    america is a big continent, people commonly refer to those living in the USA as "americans".

    it would be more fitting if we were dubbed usa'ians our something so our neighbors dont get insulted by accident.

    which brings me to my last point, in response to the actual article!

    it is odd indeed how the messaging protocol varies regionally, i think the major reason most people in the US use AIM, is because we were all introduced to the splendor of the internet by aol in the 90's, then when broadband became available people switched over and kept their AIM screen names. Those that used a different isp just used AIM because everyone else was on aol, etc.

    Peoples elsewhere probably used icq, until msn/yahoo came along and freed them from oppression.

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