Архив метки: QWERTY

Sony’s Gamer-Friendly Xperia Play Could Have Had A Real QWERTY Keyboard Too

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Sony’s Android-powered Xperia Play debuted to mixed reviews last year, but according to a newly published patent, Sony was apparently toying with the idea of making something much more interesting before settling on the design they ran with.

Not content with a single physical keypad meant strictly for gaming, the images associated with the patent depict a Sony smartphone with two of them — one with the game controls we’ve become familiar with, and another with a full QWERTY keyboard that would slide down over the game pad.

The company first filed for the patent back in October 2010 (back when they were still Sony Ericsson), just days before Engadget first published their spy shots of what we now know as the Xperia Play. There’s no way of knowing how close a device like this got to actual production, but I’d wager it didn’t last too long before Sony Ericsson’s design and production team passed it over because of the problems it could potentially raise.

On a basic level, more moving parts means more things that could potentially break, but there’s an even more pressing issue than that. Practically speaking, this thing would’ve been a chubby little beast — the Xperia Play isn’t a particularly thin device as it is, so who knows how hefty a device with two slide-out keyboards would have been had it ever seen the light of day.

Still, I can’t help but love the concept — though developers are crafting amazing experiences that are well-suited for touchscreens, some games just work better when a physical control scheme is part of the mix (anyone who’s tried playing the recently released Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on their iPhone would probably agree with me). The chances of Sony Mobile bringing a device like this to market aren’t nil though — after all, they already seem set on delivering phones with some wacky features.





Sony’s Gamer-Friendly Xperia Play Could Have Had A Real QWERTY Keyboard Too

Indulge Your Steampunk Urges By Tweeting In Morse Code With Your iPhone

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Google’s promise of bringing morse code to our smartphones may have just been a cleverly crafted joke, but if you’re just tickled by the concept’s delightful sense of anachronism, a new iOS app called TeleTweet should definitely be on your radar.

Released by the team from Shacked Software this past Friday, TeleTweet takes that same concept and runs in a completely different direction. Instead of wrapping morse code in a sleek, modern, more user-friendly interface as Google’s own mockup did, TeleTweet aims to send users straight into the past.

Maybe I’m in the minority here but I have no earthly idea what sequences of dits and dashes can be converted into meaningful thoughts, so being faced with a handsome (albeit digital) replica of a straight key was a bit off-putting for a few moments.

When I realized that I could drag down a full list of letters and their morse equivalents though, that sense of confusion was quickly replaced with a slightly less puzzled sense of amusement. Meanwhile, turning your iDevice to the left or right replaces the straight key with a TeleTweet ticker that slowly scrolls new tweets across the screen. It looks great, but what makes makes the experience stand out is the constant sound of letters being etched onto thin strips of faux-paper.

Of course, there may come a time when your thumb grows weary of pounding out dits and dashes, which is why TeleTweet also includes the standard QWERTY keyboard for some traditional two-thumb tweeting. Frankly, I don’t know why they bothered to include it — if you’re the kind of person who would buy this app, it’s probably not because you wanted an easy way to tell people what you did or didn’t just finish eating.

TeleTweet isn’t a tool for power users to add to their arsenal of social media penetration tools, nor is it meant for first-time Tweeters to cut their teeth on the platform. There really isn’t a compelling reason to use it other than the fact that it’s all a bit of silly, gorgeous, anachronistic fun, but hey — who couldn’t use a little more of that?


Indulge Your Steampunk Urges By Tweeting In Morse Code With Your iPhone

HTC Is Done With QWERTY Keyboard Phones

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Touchscreens killed the keypad star. HTC is reportedly done with physical keypads and will instead focus on better on-screen keypad technology.

The word comes from HTC creative director Claude Zellweger speaking at a Seattle press event. “As a company the QWERTY keyboard we’re moving away from in general.” This likely doesn’t mean HTC won’t release another QWERTY phone in the near future but rather the company is shifting development focus away from physical keys.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The entire smartphone market started moving away physical keys as a response to the iPhone’s rise to the top. Even RIM followed this trend with its line of Storm smartphones. For better or worse, ditching physical buttons in favor for on-screen keyboards allow for thinner more stylish phones.

Mobile Burn quotes Zellweger saying “putting too much effort into that [QWERTY phones] would take away from our devices.” This shows that HTC understands that the company needs a unified brand rather than a gaggle of phones. In previous years HTC seemingly released a new Android handset every three weeks. During Android’s roaring early days, this strategy helped grow the platform by enticing new buyers with fresh phones built on the latest technology. But now, as Samsung and Motorola have slowed their roll, HTC needs to do the same and it seems the QWERTY phones are getting the ax.


HTC Is Done With QWERTY Keyboard Phones

Motorola Droid 4 Review: This Keyboard Rocks, But That’s About It

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Short Version

The Droid 4 doesn’t look much like its other Droid siblings, but it does promise the same stellar keyboard and a solid construction. At $199 it won’t break your wallet, but it will offer most of the same specs we’re seeing go for $300, including a 4G LTE radio. If thin and light is important to you, the Droid 4 probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but keyboard purists should start getting excited… right… now.

Features:

  • 4-inch 540×960 display
  • Verizon 4G LTE
  • Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 8MP rear camera (1080p video capture)
  • 1.3MP front camera (720p video capture)
  • Sliding 5-row QWERTY keyboard
  • MSRP: $199.99 on-contract

Pros:

  • The backlit QWERTY keyboard is solid and comfortable
  • Much better design than old Droids
  • Highly print resistant, comfortable rear surface

Cons:

  • Low quality photos
  • It chugs a bit if you push it
  • Battery’s a bust

Long Version

Hardware/Design:

The Droid 4 feels great in the hand, and in my honest opinion it sports a far superior design than its predecessors. It actually looks quite a bit like the Razr, save for a textured plastic back panel and the obvious added heft. Still, the same black bezel and boxy metal edges remain.

I wish that both the lock button and the volume rocker had depressed a bit more when pushed, but Moto got it right where port placement is concerned — both the HDMI out and microUSB are on the lower left hand edge. That shouldn’t bother anyone who’s tooling around while plugged in (and trust me, you’ll be plugged in quite a bit (more on that later)).

The removable battery door has a nice feel to it and is surprisingly resistant to prints, though for some odd(/stupid) reason Moto won’t let us get at the battery itself.

The size of the phone didn’t bother me at all. Obviously if thin and light are important to you than you won’t enjoy this, but it felt nice and solid to me. I prefer the 4-inch screen to stuff like the Nexus and Note’s giant displays, and the .5-inch waist line wasn’t that much of a bother either. See, the phone’s weight actually lends itself to a more premium feel in the hand and I wouldn’t have even minded an extra .1 inch if it meant a removable battery (hint hint).

Keyboard:

The Droid 4 keyboard isn’t going to give you any problems on the durability front. It slides in and out nicely and doesn’t seem to bend or crack at all when pressured. There is a little friction there when sliding it back and forth, but after a little getting used to I prefer that more than those ultra slippery sliders — feels a bit sturdier.

The buttons themselves lay nearly flush with the phone, which certainly looks nice, but I’d appreciate just a bit more of a hump or bump to help feel my way around. They’re non-slick keys which is nice on its own, but what’s even better is that they don’t seem to get all grubby and sticky either.

The buttons are placed well, with just enough space in between to at least feel a tiny groove (which is basically necessary since the buttons are so flat). They also offer a nice tapping noise and some solid tactile feedback when pressed, though textaholic teens may have some trouble going unnoticed in a classroom.

I still find the iOS virtual keyboard and Swype to be faster than this physical 5-row QWERTY (for me, at least), but keyboard purists likely won’t find anything better on the market.

Software:

The Droid 4 runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread along with some version of a Motorola overlay. It’s not MotoBlur exactly, but it’s certainly not pure Android.

The UI doesn’t seem terribly obtrusive, but it’s also not very useful either. The apps/widgets have this “flashy” effect when you swipe between home screens, which results in an annoyance at best and a headache at worst. There are social hubs and stuff, which is (how can I put it…) whatever, but the value proposition of the UI just isn’t good enough. Now that Googorola is almost in the bag we might start seeing a few more vanilla devices out of Moto, but that’s probably just a dream.

MotoCast is along for the ride here, which offers up a solid option for any cloud syncing/streaming you may want to do between phone and PC. You’ll also find Netflix, a lite version of Madden NFL 12, Kindle Reader, NFL Mobile, and Mog Music present and accounted for, along with a handful of bloatware apps from Verizon and Motorola.

Camera:

The camera on the Droid 4 didn’t live up to my expectations. The app itself is swell, on the other hand. There’s a little drop-down tab on the side that gives you access to plenty of settings, scenes, and modes. Not all of them are as useful as the others, but they’ll at least make for a good time playing around and taking pictures.

However, none of that really matters if the picture quality itself happens to blow. I tried to give it a few chances, switching between low-light and outdoor settings, but no matter what images just seemed to fall flat. I took the same shot with both my iPhone 4S and the Droid 4 and the difference in image quality is staggering.

Take a look:

Display:

The Droid 4 uses a TFT LCD qHD (960×540) display that measures 4 inches diagonally. Size-wise it feels just right. Since the phone itself is a bit thick, a screen any larger might make one-handed actions more difficult. Serious mobile gamers might be a little peeved at the smaller display, but if you’re a serious mobile gamer the Droid 4 probably isn’t right for you anyway.

In terms of quality I’m not all that impressed. Everything seems a bit fuzzier than it should. On the other hand, the Droid 4 screen allows for a nice wide viewing angle, but with a screen so small it’s doubtful you’ll be gathering around the 4 to watch a flick with friends. Could come in handy for the occasional group visit to YouTube, though.

Performance:

Call quality on the Droid 4 was just fine, though I did have a few issues whenever I tried to use microphone-equipped headphones. The usual Android lag is present, and this custom overlay (albeit lighter than TouchWiz) doesn’t help anything. For example, swiping between home screens packed with widgets and even scrolling in a the browser is choppy most of the time.

On the other hand the Droid 4 handled its benchmark testing rather well. Quadrant, which tests just about everything, gave it a score of 2430 on average. It scored an average of 86,544 on Browsermark, which benchmarks browser performance based on hardware. For some perspective, the Galaxy Note scored an averages of 2703 and 48,610 on Quadrant and Browsermark respectively.

Battery:

Unfortunately, the Droid 4 falls short in the battery life department. We test battery life on phones by running them through a program that simply performs a Google Image search each time a page loads. At any time we can pop out of that program and do other things, but the phone is always in use without sleeping from 100 percent battery life until it dies.

The Droid 4 lasted just three hours and forty-five minutes. For some perspective, the Droid Razr gave me a solid four and a half hours, while the Razr Maxx lasted for an impressive eight hours and fifteen minutes. Now, the Droid 4 didn’t seem to have such awful battery life when I let it breathe every once in a while, and the Razr Maxx’s main feature is its massive battery, but this Droid 4 battery life just isn’t adequate.

Head-To-Head With The Droid 3 And iPhone 4S:

Check out our thoughts on this match-up here.

Hands-On Video: Initial Impressions

Conclusion

Here’s the deal.

If you absolutely, 100 percent, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt must have a physical keyboard on your phone, then yes, the Droid 4 is probably the best phone you’ll find. It’s far superior to any BlackBerry or QWERTY-sporting Android that I’ve ever come into contact with. But (and this is a big but)… I wouldn’t recommend the Droid 4 to just about anyone else.

The screen’s not all that impressive, the camera can’t hang, and the battery life won’t get you through the day. It’s pretty, that’s for sure, but simply not good enough unless your insistence on a keyboard is worth more than having a solid smartphone.

Remember, this is the next two years of your life. Who knows how awesome the virtual keyboards will be by then (or if we’ll even be typing with our fingers anymore)? Do you really want to be not one, but (probably) two steps behind everyone else?













Check out all of our Droid 4 review posts here.


Motorola Droid 4 Review: This Keyboard Rocks, But That’s About It

Motorola, You Screwed Up. The Droid 4 Alienates (And Pisses Off) Your Core Demographic.

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Droid 4 reviews are popping up everywhere. We’re doing ours a little different. Instead of posting a “review” after spending just 24 hours with the phone like other sites, we’re living with it for a week, publishing several articles on it and then concluding with a full review after actually living with the phone for a while. But one thing was clear even before the phone launched: Motorola messed up forgoing a removable battery for a meaningless reduction in thickness.

The original Droid started the Android revolution. It was the anti-iPhone: an open OS, sliding QWERTY keyboard, available on Verizon and featured a removable battery and expandable memory. Now many of those advantages are moot points. Android is no longer viewed as open, most people are sold on virtual keyboards, the iPhone is available everywhere, and now, thanks to Motorola, the Droid 4 features a built-in battery. Sorry, power users.

You see, Motorola, like every other phone maker is racing to produce the thinnest phone possible. Apparently they feel thinner phones will result in more sales and/or street cred. I don’t know. But it’s silly. Phones are already thin enough — I know how that sounds. But think about it: The Droid 3 is 12.9mm thick where the Droid 4 is 12.7mm thick. Even the Droid RAZR MAXX, with it’s extra-large battery, is still a slim phone in my opinion. It’s 9mm thick verses 7.1mm of the standard RAZR. The difference is hardly noticeable even when the phones are sitting next to each other. You’ll never notice it when it’s in your pocket.

The Droid 4 does feature a larger battery than its older counterpart. The phone is also more powerful and packs a slightly larger screen. But none of those things counter the mistake of not including a removable battery even if the Droid 4 is a marvelous piece of hardware. The new keypad is fantastic and so is the updated sliding action. It’s completely possible that Moto engineers decided to permanently affix the battery to allow for the improved sliding mechanism or something else critical to the redesigned phone. But in doing so, the phone loses a major selling point even if it’s an under-utilized feature.

I’d venture to say that the vast majority of users never buy extended batteries for their phones. But it’s likely a large portion of owners like the idea, and it’s certainly a nice option to have. There are light users who will probably coast along with the non-removable battery and never experience a problem, while people who lean on their devices more than others could be left in the lurch. I don’t think Motorola made the decision lightly, but the move almost feels like Motorola is trading their power users for wider adoption.

The Android landscape is filled with copycats. Motorola (and others) need to do something to make their phones stand apart. So what are the Droid 4′s selling points? Just the QWERTY keypad and that’s not enough to compete. Sadly the days of the swappable battery are probably numbered. I’d bet my dog Ferrari that the Samsung Galaxy S III and most of 2012′s flagship phones will not have a removable battery.

Bring back the swappable battery for the next Droid, Motorola. A millimeter or two is well worth having a legitimate selling point over the iPhone and other Android phones.


Motorola, You Screwed Up. The Droid 4 Alienates (And Pisses Off) Your Core Demographic.