A while back I bought an LG Dare. Mostly I like it fairly well, but it has a couple of problems — even leaving aside the fact that it’s now restarted spontaneously four times since I bought it.
One is that it’s hard for it to distinguish between scrolling and selecting. Oddly, the browser and the other functions seem to have different prejudices. The browser tends to scroll when I’m trying to select, and the phonebook and menus tend to select when I’m trying to scroll. You get better at it, but it’s still not perfect.
The other is that it hates commas. And apostrophes, in some cases.
I use a lot of commas when I write email, and even when I write texts or notes. I like commas. Unfortunately, the comma is not on the main QWERTY soft keyboard, nor is it the second option on the T9 punctuation softkey like it used to be. Instead, they prefer @. I understand that @ is used in email addresses, but I honestly do not type email addresses very often unless I’m in an address field (which is less common than being in a text field) and I don’t think I’m very unusual in this regard. Certainly not in text messages, and rarely in the browser. And while I like having the .com key occasionally, I’d really rather have a comma.
The extra keys available on the regular QWERTY change depending on context, but the one I really want, the [, ‘] option, is never available. In the text messager, it’s [@’] (so I have to shift for ‘) and [.?] (logical). In the browser, it’s [.com], [.] and [/], so neither , nor ‘ is available in QWERTY and I have to switch into symbols for either and press shift to get to the ‘. Argh. I don’t often need to type a URL when I’m in an input field in the browser, only if I’m in the address bar, which is a totally different thing. Why give me those keys? I need my complex clauses and contractions! With apostrophes. No “its cold outside” for this linguist.
The issue of accessing the symbols keyboard brings me to my second major keyboard complaint. Like the iPhone, the QWERTY soft keyboard on the Dare has a switcher-key that turns it to numbers and symbols. However, unlike the iPhone, it has two keys: one for QWERTY and one for symbols. This is less than ideal. The iPhone guys thought this through and realized: if you’re in symbols already, you don’t need the symbol key. Ditto QWERTY. So they gave just one key, which toggles back and forth.
Unfortunately, LG was not that clever, so there are two keys. The ‘reason’, I think is, that in the browser the QWERTY key can also be used to access accented letters, but there’s gotta be a more clever way of doing that than always taking up precious screen real-estate (the Dare has a smaller screen than the iPhone, although a larger keyboard because the QWERTY goes across the long side) with two keys.
All this makes typing on the Dare a much longer and more complex process than it should be, diminishing the practical usefulness of being able to type faster on the QWERTY.
Give me punctuation or give me a red pen!