In this never ending quest to find the ultimate mobile device that meets all of our needs while still being portable enough to still be considered a mobile device, one feature that is constantly mentioned as a weak link is the size (or complete lack) of the hardware keyboard. While many people (myself included) hate on the lack of hardware keyboards in different devices, the truth is that it is purely a matter of preference. Obviously though, no software keyboard (or mobile phone based hardware keyboard) can duplicate the usability of a full sized keyboard.
We’ve played with a number of Freedom’s products on this site. Though everything from Keychain GPS receivers to portable Battery Chargers are available from Freedom, their line of Bluetooth Keyboards is their primary niche. The Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard could be considered Freedom’s flagship product. The keyboard folds in half to make it as portable as possible while still giving you as much keyboard real estate as possible.
We also lamented both in print and the podcast about how this is a double edged sword for the little Seattle company: tons of exposure and praise, but peeps are stealing your goods! Then again, we suggested that OEMs may see the great press featuring Swype and see they want that on their devices.
Looks like the latter happened (we won't say told you so). Nokia and Samsung have invested $5.6 million into the fledgling company, which has to have caused a lot of popping of corks this week.
Guess we can look forward to more Swype in official (and unofficial) devices in 2010. Sounds good to us. Speaking of, are you using Swype yet?
You almost have to feel sorry for the companies that dare place their proprietary software onto a Windows phone these days. For if it is good software, the hounds are let loose to rip it out and .cab it for all others to use within moments.
The app is available in .cab form and acts just like another optional input system on your device, so there is no need to only use it while learning its funky moves. It is suppose to work on Touch Pro 2, Diamond 2 (Pure) and other VGA+ devices, though mileage may vary (reports of ROM variation having an effect have been reported).
Our pals at Android Central seem a little stoked that the Swype keyboard is coming to Android. And they should be. They have capacitive screens. (Yeah, we're going thereagain.) That said, we're still not convinced this is going to revolutionize on-screen keyboards, and we're not too crazy about the side-by-side test you see above. But what we do love are options, and Swype certainly presents that. Look for it next week on the Samsung Omnia II. [Techcrunch]
One of the big selling points of Windows Mobile at this point is the amount of choice you have when you are looking to buy a device. Whereas some of Microsoft’s competitors in the Smartphone market are pushing one piece if hardware on one carrier, you can find Windows Mobile phones in all shapes and sizes on your carrier of choice. Honestly it’s kind of ironic that Microsoft is one of the more “open” or “accessible” choices when it comes to buying a handheld.
A priority when choosing a new piece of Windows Mobile hardware is what input method you prefer to use. I think most of us would agree that the software keyboard in Windows Mobile leaves a bad taste in your mouth, especially when compared to what is offered on some of the more popular hardware on the market.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at a small selection of what is available from third party developers in the way of software keyboards.
Typing is one of the first and hardest things to get used to when you are getting started on a mobile platform. One of the biggest decisions when seeking a new device is what style of keyboard fits your personal preference. Many people find the tactile feedback of a hardware keyboard indispensable; while others would prefer a slimmer device, relying on the software keyboard for their text based needs.
Freedom’s Slim Keypad ($69.95) attempts to bridge the gap between these realms. Traditionally, portable Bluetooth keyboards have been designed to fold up into a compact package. Freedom attacks the problem from a different angle by offering a thumb keypad that is about the height and width of a credit card.
To find out how much punch this keypad packs, stick around after the break.
Well if you've been following the whole HTC Touch Diamond release info, you may have noticed the "new" soft keyboard that will be shipping with the device. The keyboard, by most hands-on reviews, has been praised as quite the improvement on the previous Touch keyboard (although perhaps a tad "busy" looking).
Of course one very popular alternative is the TouchPal keyboard (see v3 info), however that one will cost you a modest $13.
But if you're interested in that new HTC Touch Diamond one, seems as if some crafty XDA'ers (namely P1Tater) have scored a copy of that software and .cab'd it up for an easy install.
Couple of notes:
install is a bit slow, but normal
default language is Italian (change to English in settings)
Other than that, feedback has been quite positive. Give it a spin and let us know!