Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 30, 2009

Our New Family Members: Blackberry Blue and Blackie Red

My wife is over the moon. You’d think she stepped out of the year 1325, a King Arthur Yankee in a Connecticut court (or classroom), with the way she’s so impressed by what her new smartphone can do. She may or may not be changing jobs/getting a promotion within the next month or so, which meant that she was finally ready to step up from her pay-as-you-go Tracfone (a basically decent, inexpensive option for several years, as she was not a heavy cell user).

Yet now the woman who shelved her new (and first) mp3 player, leaving it basically unused after her birthday last year, is all of a sudden excited about putting music on her phone, and is asking all these techie questions that I can only answer about half of.

Meanwhile, since I’ve used a Palm Treo 720 for several years, I’m already used to having email, browsing, etc. on my phone. And I use my phone extensively to create documents. I’ve practically written 50 pages of a novel on that little screen, and with those faithful little Treo thumb buttons.

Which is why the virtual keyboard on my new Blackberry Storm (9530) is driving me absolutely NUTS. The heat-sensitive touchscreen ends up pressing the wrong letter as often as not, or not registering a letter, and then I have to backspace and correct if it’s a web address (okay, I am also a spelling Nazi with my own writing… so I correct lots of other stuff too). And the word-completion suggestions by RIM’s various programs are not very helpful. Worst of all, if you’re needing to input text or numbers on a web page or an internal phone-related screen, you have to use the menu to show the keyboard EVERY TIME, and often have to scroll down a long menu full of other items before even seeing “Show Keyboard”. It’s not even intuitive enough to know when I need the keyboard for its OWN interface/input purposes. Or at least I have yet to find out how to make it lock in position, or come at the push of a physical button.

A friend responded to my facebook complaint, saying he dislikes virtual keyboards as well.

Now the tough question: do I step DOWN to a Blackberry Curve and accept slower speed and fewer features overall, just cuz I want those doggone buttons and real mechanical keys?!


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