Tag Archive | "keyboard"

Motorola Droid 3 Official, Available July 14th–5-row QWERTY Keyboard Excites!

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Solana_FrontHorOpen_1, 3/9/11, 9:48 AM,  8C, 3900x3300 (1147+2393), 100%, bent 6 adjuste,  1/15 s, R63.9, G48.0, B75.7 Though it showed up on the web back in March, the Droid 3 has finally received the official treatment. The phone will make it’s debut on July 14th on Verizon for $199 w/ contract or with an upgrade.

Let’s dig into the specs, shall we:

  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS
  • 4-inch capacitive touchscreen (Gorilla Glass) ‘qHD’ display @ 960×540
  • Sliding 5-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Dual-core CPU @ 1GHz
  • 8MP rear-camera capable of 1080p record and playback (through HDMI-out)
  • 16GB built-in memory
  • MicroSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards
  • World Phone – WCDMA 850/1900/2100, CDMA 800/1900, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 10.2 Mbps (Category 9/10), CDMA EV-DO Release A, EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS & Magnetometer (compass)
  • 3G (HSDPA 10.2 Mbps (Category 9/10), CDMA EV-DO Release A, EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps)
  • Micro HDMI-out
  • 1540 MAh battery
  • 184g
  • 64.1 x 123.3 x 12.9 mm

The processor is unspecified, but considering the dual-core nature and 1080p capture/output support, I think it’s safe to say that we’re looking at Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU.

droid 3 frontThe obvious omission here is 4G LTE which is a bit of a shame, but if you’re the internationally-traveled type, you’ll appreciate the inclusion of global bands.

I’m most excited about the phone’s 5-row QWERTY keyboard. While devices like the Nokia N900 had great keys, the keyboard had only 3 rows! With so few rows, using punctuation and symbols becomes incredibly hectic and really ruins (slows) the typing experience on what would otherwise be a great keyboard.

The Droid 3’s keyboard, on the other hand, has a dedicated number-row which will definitely reduce the amount of modifier-key usage and this will serve to increase the typing speed. I haven’t had a chance to use the keyboard just yet, but they keys are looking improved over the 4-row Motorola Droid 2 that came before it!

Motorola Droid 3 Official, Available July 14th–5-row QWERTY Keyboard Excites!

Tags: , , , ,


Solana_FrontHorOpen_1, 3/9/11, 9:48 AM,  8C, 3900x3300 (1147+2393), 100%, bent 6 adjuste,  1/15 s, R63.9, G48.0, B75.7 Though it showed up on the web back in March, the Droid 3 has finally received the official treatment. The phone will make it’s debut on July 14th on Verizon for $199 w/ contract or with an upgrade.

Let’s dig into the specs, shall we:

  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS
  • 4-inch capacitive touchscreen (Gorilla Glass) ‘qHD’ display @ 960×540
  • Sliding 5-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Dual-core CPU @ 1GHz
  • 8MP rear-camera capable of 1080p record and playback (through HDMI-out)
  • 16GB built-in memory
  • MicroSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards
  • World Phone – WCDMA 850/1900/2100, CDMA 800/1900, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 10.2 Mbps (Category 9/10), CDMA EV-DO Release A, EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS & Magnetometer (compass)
  • 3G (HSDPA 10.2 Mbps (Category 9/10), CDMA EV-DO Release A, EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps)
  • Micro HDMI-out
  • 1540 MAh battery
  • 184g
  • 64.1 x 123.3 x 12.9 mm

The processor is unspecified, but considering the dual-core nature and 1080p capture/output support, I think it’s safe to say that we’re looking at Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU.

droid 3 frontThe obvious omission here is 4G LTE which is a bit of a shame, but if you’re the internationally-traveled type, you’ll appreciate the inclusion of global bands.

I’m most excited about the phone’s 5-row QWERTY keyboard. While devices like the Nokia N900 had great keys, the keyboard had only 3 rows! With so few rows, using punctuation and symbols becomes incredibly hectic and really ruins (slows) the typing experience on what would otherwise be a great keyboard.

The Droid 3’s keyboard, on the other hand, has a dedicated number-row which will definitely reduce the amount of modifier-key usage and this will serve to increase the typing speed. I haven’t had a chance to use the keyboard just yet, but they keys are looking improved over the 4-row Motorola Droid 2 that came before it!

Eee Pad Transformer Official Launch on Friday

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ASUS-Eee-Pad-Transformer Friday is turning out to be a good day. The iPad 2 launches in Europe (although I still don’t see any official pricing in Germany) and it’s my Birthday. Now, I hear that the Eee Pad Transformer is launching too. Decisions decisions!

The Eee Pad Transformer is an interesting product because it takes the idea of the smartbook one step further. It uses the Honeycomb operating system (which could enable a far superior laptoping experience than 2.x ever did) and it uses a keyboard mechanism that can be un-docked to allow tablet-only usage.

I tested the Transformer out at mobile world congress in February (video below) and wasn’t too impressed with the weight but full USB ports made me wonder if ASUS are building some nice USB hosting capabilities. The weight with the dock also seems a little over the top. With connectors and an additional battery in the keyboard unit, I’m expecting the total weight to tip 1KG. The unit I tested wasn’t running Honeycomb.

Pricing has me a little worried. The price for the tablet seems OK at 399 Euro although confirmation is still needed on storage and 3G capability. 32GB and 3G included is what I’m assuming at this stage. The price of the dock could add 120 Euro to that. The price isn’t too bad when compared with high-end tablets but when compared with the Tegra-2 based Toshiba AC100 smartbook (under 300 Euro with 3G) you get the idea that there’s a huge margin being added here and that the price should come down by at least 100 Euros over time.

The March 25th launch is for Taiwan only at this stage and will only include pre-order. Actual availability around the world is still unknown but we’ll probably hear more on Friday.

VIa Netbooknews

Leaked Droid 3 Photo Shows Improved Keyboard With Dedicated Number Row

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Looks like Motorola is working on the successor to their Droid # phones. A photo of the Droid 3 has been leaked over at Howard Forums (hat tip to GottaBeMobile for pointing it out) and in addition to a design that departs from the Droid 2 — and instead harkens back to the original Droid — we can see that the keyboard has received a lot of work.

droid 3 keyboardThe hardware keyboard on the original Droid was a major selling point for many people. Unfortunately, the keyboard really under-delivered. Motorola made progress with the Droid 2, but typing speed still suffered a lot when you wanted needed to punctuate. Here’s an excerpt about the keyboard from our Droid 2 review published last September:

droid 2

Typing alphabetical characters on the Droid 2’s keyboard is like cruising down the highway – using punctuation is like sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The keyboard is speedy thanks to fairly good tactical feedback, but lack of auto-correction that is commonly found on modern OSKs means that you end up having to do more work than you really should. Things get messy when one key is bound with both a shift- and alt-modifier punctuation. Not to mentioned that in order to access the extended symbols list, you have to press alt, space, then tap your selection from the popup menu (taking your fingers from the keyboard slows down the process even more)

Things are looking up for the Droid 3’s keyboard. The keys closely resemble those on the N900 [keyboard section of our review] (which had great feedback and were very easy to type with), but unlike the N900, the Droid 3 has a dedicated number-row (5 rows total) which is very important for speed. By moving the numbers to their own keys, they can free up some of the punctuation congestion that was an issue on the Droid 2 and N900.

Of course, adding an additional row to the keyboard means that you’ll either need to make the device larger, or shrink the keys. In the photo we have, the number-row keys on the Droid 3 are half the height as the others.

nokia n900 keyboardNokia decided to make nice large keys on the N900, and they felt excellent. Unfortunately, they could only fit three rows of keys on the device, and using symbols and punctuation really slowed things down.

Here’s to hoping that the Droid 3 keyboard will combine the strengths of the great key design on the N900 with the less congested punctuation typing that comes with a dedicated number row.

Galaxy Tab Keyboard Case

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There are rows and rows of accessory manufacturers at every computing expo and much of it is the same stuff over and over again. This Bluetooth keyboard case for the Galaxy Tab stood out though.

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (6) Galaxy Tab Keyboard

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (2)

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (3).jpg Galaxy Tab Keyboard (4).jpg Galaxy Tab Keyboard (5).jpg

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (1).jpg

The keyboard was a rubber membrane design and in my short test I recon it was faster than thumb typing but you do need to concentrate hard. Still, it’s a nice little compact solution if you’re looking to assemble a smart-book-like device.

Rosen Groups, Shenzen, China are the people you need to contact if you fancy importing a box of these at $27.50 a piece. If you do, put me down for one please!

You’ll also find a few other images in the gallery and check out their website for more info and stay tuned because we might be popping back to check out their Galaxy Tab stands and chargers too

Soft Keyboard Wins Thanks To Galaxy Tab

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Hard vs Soft

I didn’t expect this to happen but I’ve reached the point where an on-screen keyboards is better than hardware keyboards on my mobile devices. The soft keyboard on the Galaxy Tab is now my fastest mobile text-input device.

Can you remember the on-screen keyboard delivered that was delivered with XP? Oh….my…God!

image

It was meant for accessibility and emergency use and it was basic, to say the least. The XP Tablet Edition keyboard wasn’t much better so it’s no wonder many of us went for hardware keyboards on our mobile devices. I went for quite a few of them.

IMG_6159

The appeal of a weightless on-screen keyboard was always there but in practice, the execution was terrible. Either the devices were too heavy or the keyboards just weren’t responsive enough. Resistive touchscreens, screen sizes,  lack of haptics and dumb software didn’t help. Sure, the hardware keyboards were often poor too, Using long-throw keys for thumb-typing isn’t optimal but there were some good ones out there.

With the introduction of capacitive screens and intelligent on-screen keyboards, things started to change. The iPhone led and my own experience hit a peak with the HTC Desire. Still, portrait mode isn’t easy on these single-hand devices and landscape mode was blocking most of the screen so I still longed for something that slides-out but when I got the Galaxy Tab, the crossover point was reached. I am now faster on the Tab than on any other hard or soft mobile keyboard. With concentration, I can reach 80% of the speed I have on a full size keyboard and without, an easy 70% and I still have over 50% of my screen free when I’m using it.

How am I using it?

See this article with video demo. I’m using the device in portrait mode and thumbing on the Samsung keyboard with about 30% haptic feedback strength. Since that video was made, I’m even faster.

The low weight means that device doesn’t get top heavy. The width means the thumbs can cross-over across the keyboard.

The capacitive screen and haptics work quickly and give the feeling of real physics although the OSK can get held back occasionally meaning you have to type ahead and hope it buffers. It usually does but that problem definitely needs sorting out.

The intelligence in the Samsung Keyboard is great. I have to assume they are using variable hit-patches. (e.g. the hit area of the U increases if you type a Q and so on) and XT9 predictive text is more value than hindrance once you get used to it. I don’t use word completion but you’ll see the settings I do use below…

xt9

That combination of virtual physics, size/weight and intelligence has me using the Tab for far more than I thought possible. I’ve written 5 reasonable sized blog posts and a ton of emails, Tweets, IM’s, comments and annotations. I’ll be taking it to CES and I bet I use it a lot. Thank goodness the battery life is good!

Landscape mode is a problem for the on-screen keyboard but I rarely use the device in that mode. Video playback usually forces it along with the occasional rotate needed for photos.

Could it be improved? Yes. I mentioned the occasional pause above and I think there’s scope for a wider screen with 800 pixels width. I’d also  like to see an option for a dedicated number row. Haptics can always be improved too but right now I’m very happy and importantly, no longer lusting after hardware keyboards on my mobile devices.

Anyone else experienced this cross-over point with a mobile on-screen keyboard?

Keyboard / Case for Viewpad 10

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image

I’ve been sent this image of an interesting keyboard / case accessory that the Viewsonic people are an accessory manufacturer is working on and I guess feelings about this are going to be polarized. On one hand you’ll have the people that see it as a netbook and query the total price of the package. On the other you’ll have people interested in the modular and touch aspect of this setup.

Certainly a netbook would be cheaper but what about one that has touch, removable keyboard and auto-rotation and a case?

I hope this is a wired solution though. There’s nothing worse than running out of battery on a Bluetooth keyboard when you’re in the middle of something.

Galaxy Tab – Keyboard Dock Pics

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We’ve just come from a meeting with Samsung where they pulled out a rather nice keyboard accessory…

 

Galaxy Tab Keyboard _3_.JPG Copy of IMG_4711.JPG Copy of IMG_4707.JPG

Full gallery here.

This was a prototype. Pricing not known but we’re guessing it will be well over 50 Euros.

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (6)

Video coming very shortly.

Galaxy Tab – Keyboard Dock Pics

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We’ve just come from a meeting with Samsung where they pulled out a rather nice keyboard accessory…

 

Galaxy Tab Keyboard _3_.JPG Copy of IMG_4711.JPG Copy of IMG_4707.JPG

Full gallery here.

This was a prototype. Pricing not known but we’re guessing it will be well over 50 Euros.

Galaxy Tab Keyboard (6)

Video coming very shortly.

Swype Brings Hope to Those Who Hate Virtual Keyboard’s

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The first Android tablets are soon to hit our stores in what can only be described as the tip of a very large iceberg, every major and not so major manufacturer has a device on the horizon it would seem. Text entry on these Android devices is going to be important as it will be done through a virtual on-screen keyboard and plays a big part in the overall experience of a device.

Swype has a different approach to text entry which involves moving your finger over the letters in the word you require rather than individually pressing each letter. I thought the best way to show this to you is in a video;

Already major manufacturers are recognising the potential of this type of text input and even the upcoming Motorola Droid X [product details] comes with Swype as the standard text input method.

Although the Swype beta is now closed you can still register for the next test and hopefully we should see this Android market soon.

Swype Brings Hope to Those Who Hate Virtual Keyboard’s

Tags: , , ,


The first Android tablets are soon to hit our stores in what can only be described as the tip of a very large iceberg, every major and not so major manufacturer has a device on the horizon it would seem. Text entry on these Android devices is going to be important as it will be done through a virtual on-screen keyboard and plays a big part in the overall experience of a device.

Swype has a different approach to text entry which involves moving your finger over the letters in the word you require rather than individually pressing each letter. I thought the best way to show this to you is in a video;

Already major manufacturers are recognising the potential of this type of text input and even the upcoming Motorola Droid X [product details] comes with Swype as the standard text input method.

Although the Swype beta is now closed you can still register for the next test and hopefully we should see this Android market soon.

I’m Dying for Dial Keys on the iPad – Mockup Video Demo

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photo (2)I was really surprised that Apple didn’t do anything “magical” or “revolutionary” with the iPad’s [Portal page] on-screen-keyboard. The iPhone’s was definitely revolutionary because it was probably the first truly viable OSK – thanks to some intelligent software design and a capacitive screen instead of a resistive one. The iPad’s keyboard has that same inteiilgent software design, and a nice big capacitive screen. The problem is the big part. The iPad’s keyboard works well, but it really only works well if you can set it down on a desk in front of you so that you can touch type on it. If you are walking around with it in your hands, it works quite poorly for thumb typing. This fact alone makes the iPad annoying to use for typing if you don’t have something to set it down on.

dial keys Even since I got the iPad in my hands, I’ve been wishing for a Dial Keys-style keyboard implementation. Dial Keys, if you’ll recall, is a piece of Windows based software that was designed for touchscreen UMPCs. Dial Keys places a split radial keyboard at the corners of the device, which puts keys right in the range of one’s thumbs. If Apple allowed developers to modify the keyboard on the device, I’m sure we would have already seen something similar.

I made some mockup graphics to put on the iPad just to see what Dial Keys on the iPad would look like:

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