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  1. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #81  
    I believe you missed my point. Let me try to explain it further. You are claiming that stylus input is much better than using a small keyboard. I responded by asking why you are assuming that stylus input is desirable? Why don't people use stylus input for desktops instad of keyboards.
    desktop computing traditionally is not set up for that kind of input. User will continue to prefer fullsize standard qwerty in the foreseeable future. Even workstation terminal which can afford much more computing power for UI, continues to use keyboard. Also you neglect to mention mouse.

    Handheld however is totally new computing form factor and it has no space for full size keyboard.


    If handwriting was the preferred input method, it can easily be done with a desktop computer using an input tablet.
    It is faster to input text with ten fingers than a pen. It is NOT considerably faster to input with two thumbs then various alternatives. Hence the real estate sacrifice over larger screen to accomodate thumboard is questionable.


    Please don't switch points. You were saying that keyboards are making us use small screens. We were not talking about resolution.
    2.5, 2.7. 3.0 .. There are bigger screen that treo could have used, also with much higher resolution. What I am trying to say: "TREO has no excuse using tiny screen, for battery, size, or whatever other constrain" those are BS excuse. Look at 505 phones. (or are you saying those Japanese mega corporations don't have a clue about making cellphone and treo600 is the ultimate answer for compact cellphone?

    That was the reply for this:
    "Also the small screen is there for many reasons, not only because the keyboard is there. People want smaller devices, especially when it's a phone. So the sacrifice of the bigger screen is largly because of trying to have a reasonably-sized device that would be easy to carry all day and looks normal when you held to your head. These are important factors to the people who are going to buy and use these devices. "

    What evidence do you have to refute that the Treo has great usability? There are far too many glowing reviews of the Treo. How many bad reviews have you seen? Just claiming that it doesn't have great usability isn't an argument.

    Sales numbers of a product are by no means an indication of its usability. We all know that marketing plays a huge deal in affecting sales. We also know of many great products that failed because of bad marketing and sales. The fact that they failed has no bearing on their usability.
    glowing review doesn't mean jack if people don't go out and buy the gadget. And I certainly don't see widespread glowing review in internet phone sites compared to say Nokias. (eg. it's the same small number of Palm/handspring people doing the glowing review... that plus WSJ's mossberg probably. ) Let's just say treo 180,270,300 aren't exactly 'zesty' gadget that everybody thinks it's the greatest mobile in the world and wants one.

    market share is the ultimate arbiter, why do you think these companies are taking market share and market projection numbers so seriously.

    Handwriting recognition:
    Voice recognition:
    On-screen keypad/keyboard:
    HWR requires 2 hands but TB does not. Vr requires quite background but talking on the phone does not. On screen keyboard is innacurate but TB is absolutely configurable and 100% precise for the target application despite the minute key size.

    whatever the nitpicking points I can pluck, You seem to miss the biggest point. Thumbord is a hardware solution designed to fit everything but not quite, while various soft inputs are configurable and doesn't need to be a perfect global solution. It is enough to be near perfect for particular situation.

    -If you are running calculator the soft input will turn itself into number and exotic math symbols.
    -if you want to "Call dave" you don't need to fibble with keyboard.
    -if you want to sketch and label it with few word, you can have the entire screen for bigger viewing isntead of tiny screen and thumboard.
    -if you just want to read ebook, you can have the entire front surface for viewing area without loosing 30% of area to plastic buttons.
    -Tell the chinese they have to use qwerty or the french they have to use english keyboard. (there goes redesign cost)

    It's the combination of various option that gives the advantage over TB, not how each particular solution against TB.

    First lets make it clear we are not talking about all hand-held devices. We are talking about PDA+phone communicator-type devices. We shouldn't lump all handhelds into this discussion.

    Now, the reason keyboards are not found on many communicator-type devices is that it's a relatively new idea that is expanding in use.

    By the same token, how many email-only devices out there use anything but a keyboard? How many Blackberry immitators are coming out?
    'relatively new idea'? Aren't we optimistic tonite. It takes.... 2YEARS... to reach this level of acceptance. Could it be that thumboard is a totaly niche input form? It only fits RIM type of device but not for smartphones and PDA. It's just another idea in the crowd, nothing to write home about.

    what's more all these devices are about as popular as wenkel engine in detroit autoshow. Their number is very small in larger context. Hell even Hanspring finally gives up and fold because the treo sales aren't exactly barn burner. Anybody remember those cute treo 90? ... eh hmmm...

    bragging about immitating RIM just doesn't have same ring as bragging about successfully immitating DoCoMo or Nokia.

    hell, If thumboard is selling in the range of 200k/Q then I am impressed already, let alone matching DoCoMo or nokia product.

    thumboard is over rated.
  2. #82  
    I think we are getting to the point of diminishing returns in this debate, especially with thelong posts. Let me try to sum up what I think the main points are.

    I agree with you that the thumb borad is an attempt to have a general solution. Your alternative general solution seems to be a large display + voice dialing.

    I contend that for a communicator type device, the thumb board is more practical. Meaning that it works more effectively for more cases. You do not want your "smart" phone to fail you in basic ways when some free (stupid) phone can do the job. For example, the simple data input example that you didn't address:

    - How do you write a quick email or SMS when you can't use both hands?

    People do this every day with very basic, old phones using the number pad. Please answer this question so that we could continue the debate.

    (This is not to mention the 10's of other uses that require extensive text input.)
  3. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #83  
    what makes you think software solution for those doesn't exist and thumboard is the only best solution? What do you think people are putting in the next batch of smartphones?

    (check full screen soft keyboard. T9, autocomplete, predictive...)
  4. #84  
    Originally posted by purpleX
    what makes you think software solution for those doesn't exist and thumboard is the only best solution? What do you think people are putting in the next batch of smartphones?

    (check full screen soft keyboard. T9, autocomplete, predictive...)
    I didn't assume anything. You are the proponent of the alternatives, so I was expecting you to tell me about the latest and greatest existing solutions.

    Are you saying it is a soft keyboard on a screen? Or a numeric keypad on a screen with predictive text? Please give me a concrete, existing solution not what you think I should expect to be around the corner.
  5. #85  
    I would like to contribute my share in this discussion not from a historical and/or empirical angle of technology introductions and adoption but plain one-user experience.

    I need a smartphone that will allow me to create documents in Word and Excel, write emails, write short notes, not to add basic phone functions such as SMS.

    When I started switching from regular phones to smartphones I was evaluating Ericsson R380 and its on-screen keyboard on how fast I can dot on the screen. Guess what is the problem with this? Accuracy of the hit.

    I work for Compaq. And I evaluated our iPAQs. It was too bulky to be a phone although we have a provision for it. Again, on-screen keyboard and dots or handwriting.

    Until I stumbled on the Nokia 9210 with the keyboard. It changed my lifestyle on the road. I can now write fairly long documents at a shorter period of time than using on-screen keyboard or pen-input approach.

    With my switch to the Treo 270 which supports both pen-input and thumboard, I put myself to a test. I attended a seminar and used the thumboard first. On the next speaker, I switched to the RecoEcho+ pen-input. Guess what? I was lagging behind no matter how quick I make the strokes. I decided to switch to thumboard and was able to catch up to the speaker's ideas.

    The new iPAQ H1910 and H1940 are wonders of pretty technology. But it's all I got for it, admiration. For practical purposes, I remember how difficult it will be for me to use for my needs.

    I waited for so long for the R380s replacement, the P800. But when Sony Ericsson declined keyboard support for it. I have to let go of my desire to have one.

    Thumboard has changed my life on the road and on seminars. I am sure others can confirm this as well.

    Now, if some are Popperian in their approach, they can try to test the falsifiability of this proposition.
  6. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #86  
    Originally posted by silverado


    Are you saying it is a soft keyboard on a screen? Or a numeric keypad on a screen with predictive text? Please give me a concrete, existing solution not what you think I should expect to be around the corner.
    some SIP, input apps for PPC.

    Mathinput,
    the symbol would need a lot of keystroke to emulate with thumboard if at all.
    http://www.handango.com/PlatformProd...0&platformId=2
    http://www2.petzall.com:8080/mathinput/

    Full screen keyboard, for medium amount of writing. (multi lang, skinable)
    http://www.softspb.com/products/fsk/keymaps.html

    Standard SIP, predictive, skinable, multi lang.
    http://pdamill.com/prod4.shtml

    Standard SIP, faceplates
    http://www.resco-net.com/keyboard.asp

    freebie SMS client, SIP independent.
    http://www.primatesys.com/monkey_messenger_ppc.html

    standard SIP, predictive
    http://www.wordlogic.net/index2.html

    full HWR, multi lang, keystroke command
    http://www.paragraph.com/calligrapher/

    phrase inserter
    http://www.biohazardsoftware.com/copytextpro.htm

    simple voice dialer
    http://www.vito-tech.com/products/product_16.html

    rather elaborate speech recognition prog.
    http://www.scansoft.com/naturallyspeaking/

    far east input.
    http://www.wince.ne.jp/snap/ceSnapView.asp?PID=718
    http://www.wince.ne.jp/snap/ceSnapView.asp?PID=1287

    Note: strickly software addition. not mini keyboard attachment, IR/folding keyboard, etc etc...
  7. #87  
    PurpleX,

    Thanks for the elaborate list. I enjoyed browsing through it. There is no denying that these and others are cool technologies.

    However, IMO, the fact remains that hitting virtual buttons with your fingers is hard. Add that to wanting to carry a smallish device, the problem is so much bigger. I don't think people would be comfortable hitting virtual keyboard buttons with their fingers if you fit them on a small screen, say the size of the one current treo one. I know it drove me crazy and I expect it to be the case for most people.

    Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and the buyers choice in the end will be made based on a large number of factors based on device size, practicality, suitability to the tasks, etc. The bottom line is that it will come down to personal preference. The market, as always, will decide.

    It is obvious what the ultimate solution is though. It is "thought command" . Unfortunately, I don't think I'll see it in my life time so I have to make do with what's available.
  8. #88  
    I have to caveat my comments by saying I've never used one of those soft input pads, so remember that my thinking is based on what I <think> I'd find with one of those. So here we go:

    I can't see any siituation where trying to tap a virtual keypad, with no tactile feedback (right? - they don't have that, do they? They're not a plastic overlay on the screen, surely?) with your thumbs, along the lines of a Treo or RIM keypad, would work, AT ALL. I saw the one image of the iPaq being held in landscape mode, with the soft input pad thing showing with the persons thumbs poised over the keypad, with the one or two words of viewable text on the tiny top portion of the screen. You gotta be kidding me - that's just not usable.

    So here are my summary thoughts (again, with no basis of experience, just assumptions):

    1. This approach is simply not workable - no feedback for correctly hitting the right keys, other than the very small amount of text.

    2. The whole concept of a soft input pad validates the ENTIRE thumboard approach - if you buy into the soft input pad method, you're saying that yes, people want to use keys to enter text. But the SIP thing doesn't go all the way - it's a workaround, a kluge for not having a hard thumbboard designed into the product from the ground up.

    The bottom line is that there are different devices designed for different applications and target users. The Treo family presumes a fairly heavy amount of data entry - messaging, email, and the like. iPaqs and similar (and you could also throw in older Palm OS devices without thumbboards as well) presume a less-intense amount of data entry, and that's why Graffiti and the recognizer that PPC devices use (whatever it's called) should work fine for that lesser amount of data entry.

    The soft input pad is an attempt to deliver heavier data entry to a device that never had that as a capability out the door. That's why that isn't as elegant a solution as a thumbboard. Not everyone needs or wants a thumbboard - that's why we have so many devices out there.
    Flame on, purpleX.
    Last edited by nrosser; 07/01/2003 at 12:17 PM.
  9. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #89  
    1. It has sound feedback. (speaker is mandatory in PPC )

    2. It's about screen real estate, not if qwerty should reign supreme or not. Heck fitaly is even more efficient when it come to keyboard arrangment.

    SIP is about configurability. It's flexible, not all applications need Qwerty.

    intense/less intense. It's all about option isn't it?

    would you rather do your- phd thesis on a treo or a iPAQ with landscape view and folding keyboard?

    thumboard performs best for inputting "Plain english alphabets" in a paragraphs or so.

    If you are playing hangman or drawing a quick sketch with words, thumboard is overkill. If you are doing phd Thesis in sanskrit, thumboard is too limited.

    Is this huge piece of rather inflexible piece of hardware belongs in a handheld where real estate is premium and high quality large screen can do more? I don't think so, unless the company name is RIM and the gadget main function is beeper on steroid.

    thumboard is overrated.
  10. #90  
    I think I sense agreement here. I think we all agree that thumb boards are good for certain uses. I think we also all agree that having a larger screen without a fixed hardware thumb board is good for certain uses. The disagreements are in whether one approves of another's notion of the degree to which either of these models are suitable for those uses. This is quite silly, IMO.

    There are devices on the market for all of us. Let's buy what we like and enjoy it.

    I love my treo (as I'm sure you've guessed) and I'm an avid Palm enthusiast. I have owned a palm device since the early Pilot, have programmed Palm OS and really "get" its simplicity, elegence and power. In addition, I might also have a case of the anti-MS spirit that many in the software industry have, although it never stopped me from using good MS products (or ones that become defacto standards despite their inferiority).

    Having said all this, I am really looking forward to the opportunity that I'll have next week to try the XDA/QTEK (which my father of all people just bought) and see how I would like it. No need to be dogmatic here -- I'm always looking for the best solution for my uses. I want to see where that technology is and whether it can now serve me better.

    Since is no god pusing this stuff, so there should be no urge to convert the others
    Last edited by silverado; 07/01/2003 at 01:46 PM.
  11. #91  
    Stating an opinion as fact is over-rated.
  12. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #92  
    Originally posted by silverado
    I think I sense agreement here. I think we all agree that thumb boards are good for certain uses. I think we also all agree that having a larger screen without a fixed hardware thumb board is good for certain uses. The disagreements are in whether one approves of another's notion of the degree to which either of these models are suitable for those uses. This is quite silly, IMO.
    ....
    Sure if you believe RIM like smartphone will reign the phone landscape. But I think people will use their smarphones in very different ways where thumboards is downright clumsy.

    Is the future of smartphone about SMS messaging or playing RPG online and emailing pictures over the network? The Japanese teens think the later are way cooler and Docomo complies.

    treo600 thumboard is more emblematic about how stodgy and inflexible the product is. This is a product that suppose to last until at least mid 2004.

    . maybe Handspring got it right with treo600 and thumboard...

    .. or maybe not.
  13. #93  
    Originally posted by purpleX


    Sure if you believe RIM like smartphone will reign the phone landscape. But I think people will use their smarphones in very different ways where thumboards is downright clumsy.

    Is the future of smartphone about SMS messaging or playing RPG online and emailing pictures over the network? The Japanese teens think the later are way cooler and Docomo complies.

    treo600 thumboard is more emblematic about how stodgy and inflexible the product is. This is a product that suppose to last until at least mid 2004.

    . maybe Handspring got it right with treo600 and thumboard...

    .. or maybe not.
    What does a device like the Treo have to do with Japanese teens?! I guarantee you Handspring wasn't aiming for that segment I think you keep lumping devices together. Treo and devices like it are not aiming for everyone. Handspring is/was not Nokia or Docomo and they never tried to be.
  14. #94  
    Originally posted by nrosser

    I can't see any siituation where trying to tap a virtual keypad, with no tactile feedback (right? - they don't have that, do they? They're not a plastic overlay on the screen, surely?) with your thumbs, along the lines of a Treo or RIM keypad, would work, AT ALL.
    Actually Sony is working on a new technology that gives tactile feel to virtual buttons on a screen:

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9991

    AN LCD SCREEN THAT will let you feel and push virtual buttons is under development by the Sony Corporation, it has emerged.
    A report on nikkei.net said that the firm is producing the panel as a breakthrough next generation device that may be so sophisticated it will be able to replace keyboards and certainly touch panels.

    And the wire reports that the first products may appear in personal digital assistants (PDAs) by the end of the year.

    The technology uses piezo effect vibrations and Sony has cracked the problem of the high voltages normally required. The piezo effect can be subtly altered to create a number of different vibratory effects, allowing humans to get the sensation that their fingers are actually touching real buttons on a screen.
    If indeed they can come out with something like this by the end of the year, I would be suprised! Very cool technology...
  15. #95  
    Originally posted by gfunkmagic


    Actually Sony is working on a new technology that gives tactile feel to virtual buttons on a screen:

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9991



    If indeed they can come out with something like this by the end of the year, I would be suprised! Very cool technology...
    Wow! That would be absolutely awesome!
  16. dsdxp's Avatar
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    #96  
    Hey, I work at a Sprint Store and we just got some of these in, so I brought an actual brick to work and sure enough, it's the same size! Also, its only SINGLE band.
    Not all treasure is silver and gold.
  17. #97  
    Originally posted by purpleX


    The Japanese teens think the later are way cooler and Docomo complies.

    treo600 thumboard is more emblematic about how stodgy and inflexible the product is. This is a product that suppose to last until at least mid 2004.

    . maybe Handspring got it right with treo600 and thumboard...

    .. or maybe not.
    Does this PurpleX (or Purple"S" is probably a better name) own a Treo at all?
    Ed
    Visor Deluxe, Prism, Visorphone, Treo 270, Treo 600, Treo 650, and am eagerly waiting for the next generation Treo...but wait...is that the iPhone????
  18. #98  
    Originally posted by DSDxp
    Hey, I work at a Sprint Store and we just got some of these in, so I brought an actual brick to work and sure enough, it's the same size! Also, its only SINGLE band.
    The brick or the phone?
  19. dsdxp's Avatar
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    183 Posts
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    244 Global Posts
    #99  
    The brick or the phone?
    The phone is the same size as the brick. Its not as thick obviously, but other than that its a very close match. It almost even weighs the same!!! Well, kind of..
    Not all treasure is silver and gold.
  20. #100  
    re: input methods.

    Read this from zdnet.

    David Coursey writes about keeping in contact will ppl using his IM software and PDA.

    Mr. Coursey in PPC fan. He gets into input methods of the ppc. After writing about how it handles input, he points out that one of his canned responses is:

    "I am on my PDA and unable to give more than 'yes' or 'no' answers at this time. If that isn't OK, I will message you later."

    If virtual KB work, why can he only give yes/no responses?
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
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