I don’t know if you’ve ever used a blackberry, but I personaly don’t find the keypad very user friendly. The arrangement of tiny QWERTY keys is painstakingly difficult to type with and my messages are littered with errors. I’m not a regular Blackberry user, and I’m sure some people will disagree, but the simple fact is that the QWERTY keypad was desgined to be comfortable for a person to use at a desktop computer over a span of about twenty centimetres with hands spaced a little distance apart, using separate fingers for individual keys.
I’m sure you won’t thank me for the history lesson.
The Blackberry’s QWERTY keypad makes sense from a familiarity point of view, everyone knows where the keys are supposed to be, but in terms of comfort, they are hopeless. Far too much thumb twiddling for my liking!
From the looks of this new patent application though, Blackberry makers RIM are tackling the matter head-on. The keypad in the sketch consists of symmetrical diagonally aligned keys that follow the curve of the two thumbs. It’s a bit difficult to tell what is key and what is space but I reckon there are twenty-nine keys including the space bar.
It’ll be interesting to see the thought that RIM put into the layout of the keys, whether or not they will just split the keys as they are on a QWERTY keypad or will they devise their own layout that counters the lopsided left to right balance of the QWERTY keypad that means there are far more left-handed words than right.
There are rumours that the new keypad could be incorporated into Blackberry’s forthcoming touchscreen device as well.