Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You say Luddite, I say Old School

The "Glee" kids sing songs I've never heard. I only recognize teenage tabloid celebrities if their parents were famous. I google the acronyms my cousins use on Facebook. I read paper books. I'm fine with all of this; I'm no Phil Dunphy, after all. Not only do I doubt my life would be improved if I could pick Justin Bieber out of a lineup, I'm secure in the knowledge that I don't really care.

Technology, though, technology I care about. And admittedly, I was a slow-starter. I didn't know what e-mail was until my freshman year of college. I didn't get a cell phone until 2005. I still have a PC. But oh, how I love the internet. Blogging was the Hall to my Oates, making my [wordy] dreams come true since 2004. Social media was the Dylan to my Brenda, capable of elevating everything I did while also being quite a time-waster when it wanted to be. I didn't get a smart phone until 2008, late for someone who loved being plugged in as much as I did. But as soon as I had a Blackberry, I was hooked. Hooked! And still am, although admittedly ready to upgrade to an internet interface that isn't the phone equivalent of a dot matrix printer.

Vintage Curve. Yeah, it's vintage now.

Here's where I'm going with this: I'm at a technology crossroads. My poor BB is on its last legs - I have to restart the thing multiple times a day or it gets cranky. My contract's been up for months, but I really don't know what I want. On the one hand, waiting for an iPhone (rumored to be coming to Verizon in January) could be fantastic, for lots of reasons. Then there's Camp Droid, which thinks iPhones are becoming passe anyway (T's HTC Incredible certainly makes a strong case there). 

My decision is more ambiguous and a lot more embarrassing. It's all about the keys. I really, really, really like having a keyboard. No, not just because I was the best student in 6th grade typing class and have fingers that can fly like the wind. Not just because my typing exercise at a Boston Globe internship interview in 1997 elicited a "wow." Well okay, kind of. I like texting with the speed of lightning. I like never having to look at what I type, just like Mrs. WhatsHerName Who Never Imagined We'd One Day Type On Phones taught me. I like the sounds and assurances of rapid-fire tweeting. I do not like pressing glass to "type" on elusive square "buttons," then getting the letters wrong, then having to go back and correct them, and then getting frustrated and handing the phone back to T to find his own damn directions. Yes, one gets better at these things with time, but how much better? Future tweets should not all come with a side of pissiness! I am the top typist! The top typist cannot be stymied by a missing keyboard!
So here we go:

Choice A: Overcome the obstacle. Press on. Own the technology. Make that glass screen my bitch.
Choice B: Play to my strengths. Find a phone that brings together the best of both worlds: awesome internet and confident typing. Meditate daily on how owning a Droid 2 doesn't make me a keyboard-dependent Luddite.

Call it as you see it, web-savvy ones.


  1. LOVE my iPhone! You can make the clicky key typing noises with the iPhone and you really get used to the buttons after a week or two. Love it and would definitely recommend the iPhone!!

  2. I have a it! I tried the screen, but much prefer the keyboard....for the same reasons you wrote.

  3. I do love my iPhone. Though I can't stand to have it on silent while typing -- I need to hear that reassuring click of the keys, too.

  4. oh god, my curve is vintage, you're right!! eeesh, that's so sad :( ummm i would have a hard time giving up the keyboard, so i vote for the droid.

  5. I have to take the battery out of my BB pretty much daily. But much to my husband and brother's chagrin, I'm getting another Balckberry. I like them! It performs the functions I need! Let my brother be the "early adopter" of the family. I'll stick with what I know and like, thanks.

  6. I puffy heart love my android (motorola) phone. Touch screen with a wonderful little keyboard that flips out (can youse the querty/screen keyboard but I really prefer a real keyboard personally). And I found the android options to fit my personal requirements. I say go into a store and play with them a bit and see what feels the most comfortable to you.

    And just because it is part of who I am... I like having something other than an iPhone. They are so over the top trendy. :)

  7. I love my iPhone but I see why you might prefer the Droid. Hubby has one and the keyboard feature is handy.

  8. I do love my iPhone and the clicking keys sound is very satisfying (I agree with Emily - I hate typing with it on silent). The learning curve on the typing wasn't too bad. But, I do miss having a keyboard. I like the FEEL of the keys. But the other features make up for it... plus, having something called a Droid near my face freaks me out :)

  9. I'm trading in my Curve this week too! I got it in 2007 - how vintage is that? ;)

    Anyway, dare I bring something else to your attention that is causing me issues - the Blackberry Torch. It too has a touch screen and flip-up key board - the same keyboard I'm used to on my Curve. My husband just got one and I'm so torn between it, the iPhone and the Droid X. And I need a new phone - just can't decide.

  10. You know what's killing the reputation of touch screen typing? Twitter. The number of tweets correcting a just-tweeted predictive text mistake is pretty staggering. Or maybe that's just what people blame it on...

  11. I have a Droid, and apart from the weird angles the keyboard forces onto your poor thumbs, I like it. It works for me. And this is all about my ego, but I happen to work in a division in which everyone except me has an iPhone. They all sit at meetings with their heads crooked down, scrolling and scrolling for -- what? I don't know. It gives me faint pleasure to not be one of those people, although it is of course possible to scroll and scroll on a Droid. Maybe because I'm not terribly fascinated by the technology of it, I am able to put it down when OTHERS ARE TALKING. However -- the camera is not the greatest, if that matters to you.

  12. I have the Droid X and I *love* it (and I came to Droid from my trusty pink BB Curve! I loved that keyboard so much. However, before my X, I had the original Droid, which is just like the Droid 2 and found the typing on the touchscreen so easy that I never used the slide of keyboard. I have an iPhone keyboard (which you can get in the market) on my X, so it makes that great clicking noise! I admit, I was intrigued by the iPhone, but ATT service is virtually non-existent at my apartment. The internet UI on the X is amazing! I don't think you would go wrong with either choice, iPhone or Droid. Good luck!

  13. If you're vintage, I'm Dark Ages! I still don't have a smart phone. Although I did upgrade to a phone with a QWERTY keyboard which makes all the difference for texting. I wish I had an answer for you but as one of the other commenters suggested, just go and play around with some at the Verizon store. I'm partial to a keyboard, too.

  14. Wall St Journal online, 45 minutes ago:

    "Apple Inc. plans to begin mass producing a new iPhone by the end of 2010 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the smartphone early next year, said people briefed by Apple.

    The new iPhone would be similar in design to the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T Inc. but would be based on an alternative wireless technology called CDMA used by Verizon, these people said. The phone, for which Qualcomm Inc. is providing a key chip, is expected to be released in the first quarter of next year, according to the same people."

  15. I live my life surrounded by deep geeks. 5 years ago they were all Windows cheerleaders. One by one they have all fallen by the iWayside. Somehow they are willing to deal with the iPhone lack of keyboard. They even have iPads for god's sake. And these are people who used to replatform software from Unix to Windows.

    The keyboarding, however, is suboptimal. You have to know what the use case is you really want to support.

  16. I see your Dark Ages PC and raise you a landline with rotary dial telephone.

    I suppose you could maybe, kind of, sort of, go play around with the phones and see which you like. Though you shouldn't take my advice, I still have to have my BlackBerry forcibly removed from my death grip for very reluctant upgrades.

    Switching brands all together? You are a very brave person.

  17. I really, truly love the phrase "...Dylan to my Brenda." YES.

    Oh, and I'm an Apple convert who also feared the loss of the keyboard but made the iPhone (3G) switch regardless. Glad I did so, though if they (1) made a slideout keyboard for the iPhone and (2) let Verizon sell them, I could die happily. OK, I could likely do that anyways, but you know what I mean.

  18. I could have written your first paragraph. I never know what the Glee kids are singing. And U2 is classic rock?! What year am I in?

    All that to say, I have the LG Ally. First cousin to the Droid or whatever, and I love it. I need a keyboard. The touchscreen literally makes me need padded walls.

  19. I'm like you - I like the keyboards. They're just easier to navigate for me... I just say I'm playing to my strengths! So, I'd go for a phone that maybe has both - on screen touch + a keyboard. That way you can try it out before you commit.
    I have an HTC Snap - which is a Windows platform. I love being able to check my email, as well as connect online. My PPC Geek of a husband (who advises me on such decisions) is a total Windows platform user, although he really likes the Droids too. He has an HTC Touch Pro 2 (which has both touch screen and keyboard), and he likes having both. He also thinks the keyboard is easier to use.


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