I’ve always been a fan of physical keyboards. I like to feel rather than look when I type. I like to know I pressed the right key once and only once, the key that I intended, not its nearest neighbor. I like to feel that reassuring click. I like control and accuracy, which is why I also have never bought a car without a clutch and a stick shift.
I like to tell the machine what to do, not have it guess at what I want to do. I don’t want to wait until the “auto” decides it is time to shift (usually too late or by surprise) , I don’t like when word substitution guesses at what I wanted to type, and too often wrong. To me, as a business user, timing and accuracy is far more important than convenience and even speed. With the BlackBerry toolbelt I decided assuredly when I wanted to click a link or menu item, it was never by accident. I decided exactly when to hang up or answer a call, without having to close apps first and swipe etc. I decided precisely when to answer a call or hang up. So I never had any interest in an iPhone. I clung to my Bold and then My Torch.
I like to be in control. I don’t like things that make me lazy and do half as good of a job, purely for the sake of convenience.
But alas, the introduction of BB10 took away this option, took away my tool belt, my manual transmission.
They gave me the choice of the Q10 and the Z10. No toolbelt.
So I waited to see the fall out. When I could wait no more I got a Z30, because the Q10’s display was just too small. The Z30 has the best VKB ever put on the market. I found that I could type faster than ever with word substitution. But not nearly as accurately. In fact much less accurately when it substituted a word I had not typed.
In many situations it was embarrassing, even dangerous, when my message was misinterpreted. I learned that I had to watch what I was typing, proofread every sentence before pressing send, so my typing speed actually decreased instead of increased as I spent time proofreading and correcting the wrong word substitutions.
Admittedly I’ve gotten better at both typing and speed, but I still have to look instead of feel. As a safety measure I have to proof before pressing send. It’s become annoying actually.
And then there are the border letters. The adjacent letters on the keyboard like “i” next to “u”. “d” next to “s” or “f”.
without being able to feel that separation between these adjacent keys, it is VERY easy for word substitution to misinterpret which one you meant if you do not type right in the center of the key. Words such as “put” and “out” seem interchangeable to the Virtual Keyboard, and I have become very put out by that.
No matter how well the keyboard “learns”, no matter how much practice, I have become extremely tired of fixing these adjacent key errors, and they happen often, because both produce valid common words.
Both words are valid, if you type them wrong which is easy to do, they will remain uncorrected.
So, what is my point of all of this?
The point is, many people seem to think that new is always better, that people who still use PKB devices do so because they are “afraid of change” or “have difficulty learning new things”, or are just…old. I have always resented this short sightedness.They don’t get it, but John Chen does. In business just as in aircraft piloting and military operations, communication accuracy is critical to avoid misinterpretation and mistakes. Far more important than communication speed.
In the world of product design, change and “upgrade” of products does not always mean better, it is all too often just change for the sake of change, not necessarily change for the sake of improvement.
I eagerly await the return of the toolbelt and PKB, on the soon to be released BlackBerry Classic along with updated specs and a larger display.
This is my mobile business dream machine, and I know it will be to so many others.
The long wait for what should have been the first BB10 device, is nearly over.