updated 02:30 pm EDT, Thu July 9, 2009
Palm Pre Complaints
Palm Pre owners are ironically complaining that their smartphones don't have onscreen keyboards, a study by Strategy Analytics found today. Despite Palm having added the QWERTY keyboard in response to gripes about touch-only devices like the iPhone, many users want a software keyboard like Apple's, as Palm's design gives them no choice but to use the hardware solution. The opinion holds even for those who chose the Pre for the physical input, senior analyst Paul Brown says.
"Although users liked having a physical QWERTY keyboard, they did not want to have to slide it out every time they wanted to type something," he notes.
Adapting the design might be difficult for Palm, which designed the Pre and webOS with the assumption that a physical keyboard would be present and free up space onscreen for more data. The Eos may partially address the problem by including a fixed physical keyboard, although it should shrink the touchscreen as a consequence.
Apple has long insisted on a virtual-only iPhone keyboard as it lets the company adapt to non-English languages with a single phone model and can be updated with new features without having to revamp the hardware at the same time. It also saves users from having to memorize two-key combinations for special characters.
Beyond the keyboard, Strategy Analytics has still encountered many who were "impressed" with other elements of the Pre, including the concept of using cards for real multitasking; it behaves "like a PC," the researchers have been told. They also liked Synergy, the contact management platform that merges data from the phone, Facebook and Google and links it to the calendar and other apps.