Blackberry Storm: better than the iPhone?

If you do a lot of typing, it could well be.

the BlackBerry Storm, Research In Motion’s first attempt at a touchscreen device, is a triumph. It’s a really powerful device with plenty of clever features, but let’s set that to one side for the moment and focus on the question people really want to know the answer to: what’s it like to type on?

A revelation, is the short answer. RIM has managed to develop a touch-screen keyboard that’s as close to typing on real buttons as you’re currently likely to get. Every time you touch a key, the whole screen feels like it’s pressing down under the weight of your finger, and a sharp clicking sound is emitted. You can switch between a full Qwerty keyboard layout in portrait or landscape mode, or opt for BlackBerry’s SureType keyboard configuration (where two letters appear in a single Qwerty keyboard button), and best of all, you can copy and paste between applications – a simple feature sorely lacking on Apple’s iPhone and many other touchscreen devices.

9 thoughts on “Blackberry Storm: better than the iPhone?

  1. mupwangle says:

    I’m not convinced by the whole haptic feedback thing. It lets you know that you’ve touched a key – once you’ve pressed it, but the individual keys aren’t differentiated (unless I’ve missed something). You get a little buzz at your fingertip and a click noise, but I can’t imagine that you’d be able to actually type better than the iphone. The same issue with remains – you have to look at the keyboard to type on it.

  2. Squander Two says:

    > you have to look at the keyboard to type on it.

    A lot of us face that issue with all keyboards.

    I think feedack’s important. It’s especially important when the app pauses for a moment and you can’t tell whether you’ve missed the key or you’ve hit it and it’s not going to react for a couple of seconds. Mind you, if the feedback is run by the processor rather than a physical mechanism, that’s still going to be a problem. Possibly.

  3. mupwangle says:

    You’re right, feedback is important with keyboards, however in this instance it seems pointless as it let’s you know you’ve hit a key, but there is no indication as to which one.

  4. mupwangle says:

    Not really. A physical keyboard has other tactile clues. For example, you can rest your finger on a key, not pressing it, and know that you are perfectly aligned with the key as you can feel the edges and the slight indent. Most F and J keys on qwerty keyboards have some sort of bump to let you know, without looking, where you are pressing. If you use a touchscreen you don’t know where your fingers are even in relation to a key (without looking) even if you don’t know which one.

  5. Squander Two says:

    Well, yeah, but it does say “a touch-screen keyboard that’s as close to typing on real buttons as you’re currently likely to get.” I can’t see how the effects you’re describing could be built in to a touch-screen without using force-fields or something. In the meantime, some feedback of this type addresses a real problem with touch-screens (if it works).

    The more important point is probably that, even if this Blackberry is better than an Iphone, Blackberry would never have made it if it weren’t for Apple’s competition giving them a kick up the backside. Much as all PCs would still be beige if it weren’t for Apple.

  6. Gary says:

    Absolutely. The iPhone’s real impact is in the kick up the arse it’s given the mobile market in general. Android could well do the same.

  7. Squander Two says:

    One thing the Iphone demonstrated, I think, was that there was always a much bigger market for the Nokia N800 than anyone realised, Nokia included. And now they may never get to tap into that market. Oops.

    I still want an N810, though.

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