Blackberry is bringing back a real, touchable keyboard to the Android ecosystem. Let’s hear it for haptic buttons; give me all the haptic buttons. The Blackberry PRIV is now available for pre-order in the UK, and you can fill out a form to tell the company you are interested here in America. At least one person has signed up for that announcement: this guy.
I held onto a completely garbage HTC phone to the point of jeopardizing my sanity because it included a slide out QWERTY keyboard, and I always knew I’d hate going totally touchscreen.
I hate touchscreens. They are useful in certain ways, but they also always seem to get confused just when I’m in a hurry. And they get dirty. And nothing feels real. And they stink in the cold. And the rain. And if you’ve washed your hands. And if it’s hot and sweat has gotten on the screen. As a writing interface, they are awful.
When I finally relented and gave up on my decrepit mobile, I bought the best Android phone available at that moment, the Moto X. Everyone told me: you’ll get used to writing with touchscreens. You won’t miss the QWERTY keyboard. It will be fine.
No, but seriously: I do miss a QWERTY keyboard. I miss it on my mobile and, as long as we’re on the topic, I miss it on my Kindle, as well, if you are reading this, Jeff Bezos.
I can get pretty wordy with my mobile devices. I take long notes in Google Keep. I send epic texts. I write full emails. I’ve even been known to crack open a new file in Drive on my phone and really start to write. Legitimately write. Even prior to owning a smart phone, when I owned this pre-smart phone “texting phone” that had a full keyboard, but not much in the way of processing power, I’d use the rudimentary text processor and flesh out ideas in full sentences, with periods and everything, on the go.
But a touchscreen doesn’t feel like writing, because I can’t feel buttons. That absence really does seem to be distracting. When I’m tapping away on a touchscreen I just want to get it over with. I think it’s because I’m concentrating so hard on looking to see that I’ve touched the right place and also that the right words are showing up.
When you have a real keyboard, though, you can turn over a lot of the work to your fingers. You can feel the keys. You know you are just touching one thing. You don’t really need to look. You learn a sort of thumb touch typing that works far more naturally.
So I can’t wait to try out the new Blackberry PRIV.
Which is, by the way, also designed from the hardware out for privacy. You would think that I would be the most excited about that since I’ve been going on recently about using PGP for email, better passwords and how the head of the CIA doesn’t even use two-factor authentication like a grown-up. Encryption is, of course, very cool.
And Android is due for proper security. The PRIV purports to tattle on apps digging into your personal info, and it has Blackberry’s security expertise built in, including authentication keys wired into the very guts of the hardware (I’ll be honest here and say I’m not sure why that’s different, but it sounds impressive).
Read more about its security features at ZDNet.
For me, for now, I’m just jazzed to hear that proper keyboard is coming back to mobile. My current cell phone plan is month-to-month, so I’ll just hold out and wait until the new Blackberry becomes available. Sorry, little Moto X, but your days are numbered.