Palm Pre users complain about lack of virtual keyboard

Apple Online Store The recent Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab benchmark report, “Mobile Device User Evaluation: Palm Pre,” evaluates the recently launched Palm Pre across a number of features.

The Palm Pre performed well for most tasks, while users were impressed by the ‘activity card’ style user interface. Palm Synergy, which allows users to integrate multiple calendar and contact accounts, was seen to be useful, as long as users could choose which accounts they add.

“The lack of an on-screen virtual keyboard was a concern for many participants,” according to Paul Brown, Senior Analyst in the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice. “Although users liked having a physical QWERTY keyboard, they did not want to have to slide it out every time they wanted to type something.”

More about the US$2,999 report here.

Headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, S. Korea and China, Strategy Analytics, Inc. provides timely and actionable market intelligence focused on opportunities and disruptive forces in the areas of Automotive Electronics and Entertainment, Broadband Connected Home, Mobile & Wireless Intelligent Systems and Virtual Worlds.

Source: Strategy Analytics, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Owners of wannabe iPhones have worse problems than ill-conceived, poorly-implemented, perpetually-stuck-in-portrait-mode, antique mechanical keyboards on devices that supposedly offer landscape viewing. For one not-so-minor example: WTF are the apps?

Pre sufferers, don’t hold your breath for critical mass. It isn’t coming.

As for keyboards, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber said it best:

A hardware keyboard is a significant selling point for only one group of customers: those who already own a phone with a hardware keyboard, and that group is a niche. A nice niche, but a niche nonetheless.

Here’s why. Most normal people have yet to buy their first smartphone. That’s why the stakes are so high — it’s a wide open market frontier, but it won’t remain that way for long. Normal people aren’t planning to do much typing on their new smartphones, and they’re probably right. Any smartphone QWERTY keyboard, software or hardware, is going to be better than what most people are used to, which is pecking things out on a phone with a 0-9 numeric keypad.

I type far better on my iPhone than I expected I’d be able to, and that seems to be true for everyone I know who owns one. The only people who struggle with the iPhone keyboard are those who are already accustomed to a hardware smartphone keyboard.

[Attribution: MacNN. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mike R.” for the heads up.]

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