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Android Displays Handhelds Input Devices Hardware

Will Touch Screens Kill the Keyboard? 332

Posted by timothy
from the really-cold-really-dead-fingers dept.
CWmike writes "Next-generation touch-screen devices will embed more haptics, or touch-based feedback, into virtual keyboards. 'A lot of companies are really getting into haptics, [using] source feedback and a sense of touch to try to replicate a keyboard on a display,' says Bruce Gant, a mechanical engineer at Product Development Technologies, which integrates touch screens into cell phones and other devices for manufacturers. 'If people really get that down and nail that experience, [virtual keyboards] could replace mechanical keyboards on laptops.' Don't tell that to Motorola, which just introduced the Atrix 4G, and dual-core 4.3-inch smartphone that docks to a laptop with, you guessed it, a physical keyboard."
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Will Touch Screens Kill the Keyboard?

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheL0ser (1955440) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:33PM (#34782072)
    Keyboard is a lot cheaper, more easily repaired if something goes wrong.
  • Answer: no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Senes (928228) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:33PM (#34782078)
    Big media: quit saying "XYZ is dead" every time you're starved for attention.

    No matter how good a smartphone gets, that doesn't mean that old technology people still benefit from should suddenly disappear. My phone has a built-in keyboard; I can text so fast it startles people and any flashy features my phone doesn't have would be all the better with it. Give us more functionality, not tell us we should settle for less.
  • by gilgongo (57446) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:34PM (#34782098) Homepage Journal

    Keyboard ON the screen == bad: http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/G/gorilla-arm.html [catb.org]

    Keyboard away from the screen and horizontal, no problem. But then, what's the point in virtualizing it?

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:36PM (#34782130) Journal

    If touchscreens do kill the keyboard (and I am very doubtful), then it'll just be another milestone for the trend of crappier and crappier keyboard input devices. Back in the day, the mechanical switch and the buckler keyboards were fantastic. They had the weight, they had the tactile response, they had the satisfying click you get when you press down a key, plus they were nigh indestructible. Then, everyone moved to the quiet keyboards that use the rubber sheet and the dielectric, and it had less of a tactical response. Then people started moving towards those awful chiclet keyboards (are they called Island keyboards?) and they make it so frustrating to type something. If touchscreens take over, it'll just be the next logical step towards crappier keyboards.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umuri (897961) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:36PM (#34782144)

    Touch keyboards cannot keep speed with physical keyboards due to a lack of tactile feedback, space requirements, and hand-strain when typing due to jamming your finger into a solid surface repeatedly (guess its not much different than laptop crappy keyboards, but still). That's assuming you've overcome the software limitation of slow processing that plagues most touch keyboards.

    That being said, they will probably replace keyboards for applications(such as mobile phones) where a keyboard would be a waste and inefficient use of space while not being very effective anyway.

    But in a laptop? God no unless you're going for lightweight style rather than a useful work space.

    Disclaimer: Typed on my model-m.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:37PM (#34782158) Journal

    Add to that, the best device for avoiding RSI has a large amount of travel and a gradual resistance in the keys. A touchscreen has no travel and a very sudden resistance. Try spending five hours typing on one and see how much your fingers hurt.

    They're fine for consumer devices (i.e. devices for consuming), but not for devices people use to create anything involving text.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KermodeBear (738243) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:40PM (#34782220) Homepage

    It also keeps my finger smudges out of my line of sight. I hate touch screen anything. They always end up dirty.

  • iPhone and iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:43PM (#34782274) Journal

    If there's anything Apple have taught us, it's that an awful lot of people don't do any real work on their computers.

    For those who do, real computers with real I/O devices will remain.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I8TheWorm (645702) * on Thursday January 06, 2011 @04:44PM (#34782296) Journal

    And....

    You simply can't type on a touchscreen without looking, at least not for any usable amount of time. I love my Galaxy-S with the Swype keyboard, but even that is no replacement for a physical one.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skids (119237) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:00PM (#34782586) Homepage

    I just don't understand how anyone could do any serious typing on the same screen they are looking at. Sure, causual keying in google search terms is easy that way, but when the screen is at an angle suitable for viewing there's no way I could bend my wrists back far enough to type efficiently -- and even in a compromise between the two positions, I'm sure it would kill my hands. I suppose I could put the screen flat down and lean over it, but only if I want to look like Quasimodo in a decade or so.

    Plus my fingernails tend to be kept long (unlike many I actually use them in my job) so I doubt a touchscreen would stand up to my abuse very long.

  • Yes, mostly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joh (27088) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @06:25PM (#34783820)

    For all the users who don't type much (that is for about 95% of all users) the touchscreen will replace the keyboard, no doubt. Devices without keyboards have less buttons (good), you can press, drag and touch where you're looking (good), there are no moving parts (good), the devices are much easier to clean (good) and the devices look better (good). For the typical user a real keyboard is ugly, complex and hard to use. Most people just forget all the effort they had to invest to learn to use it.

    Those who type much and fast will still use keyboards. They're a minority, but a loud one.

    Next question please.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Friday January 07, 2011 @12:05AM (#34787322)

    For all the users who don't type much (that is for about 95% of all users)

    Try 0.95%.

    The average user types quite a bit. This is why QWERTY keybards came about on phones and why the BB/Nokia E71's are so popular with users who do a lot of emailing and messaging.

    On computers it's even worse. Just typing out this comment would be painful, if not impossible. Touchscreens are slower, more inefficient and error prone than keyboards and this is readily evident to the average user.

    Devices without keyboards have less buttons (good),

    Quick explain.

    Thought not. Just because Steve says it's better does not make it so.

    Physical buttons provide many advantages over on screen buttons. they are tactile, responsive, don't move and their function never changes. The last one is important, on my PC the Delete button does what it needs to, the F1 key too. On my Android phone the back button always takes me back to the last application/page I used and terminates the application as opposed to backgrounding it (which is what the home button does). Believe it or not, but such simple things are not beyond the capacity of the average user to figure out on their own.

    you can press, drag and touch where you're looking (good)

    Ye gads,

    Where did you learn to type, The ministry of silly computing habits.

    All typing tutors and instruction I have received tells me you're meant look at the screen (output) not where your hands are. This does make typing faster and allows you to pick up on those annoying typo's so much earlier.

    Typing at 30 WPM+, moving keys are not a feature anyone will find useful.

    there are no moving parts (good),

    Because mechanical KB's are breaking left, right and centre. NOT.

    My keyboard has to be the most reliable one of things in my house. I have a 20 yr old KB's that are still in perfect working order (albeit not AT ports on my gaming rig). My last KB died after 9 years of service, a victim of a poorly placed Jacks and Coke.

    Moving parts != unreliable. On the other hand software frequently breaks due to bad code.

    For the typical user

    A physical keyboard is much easier to use, faster, more ergonomic, more responsive and a lot more accurate. Considerably less stress on the users wrists and not having to look at the keyboard to find a key makes typing much faster.

    Where do you get your idea's about HCI and HMI from?

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