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  1. #1
    You can take it all with you
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    After i550...marry the best of its form and Treo's?

    I have an i500 and look forward to the i550. There are times, though, that I wish the device was more one-hand friendly with respect to input--like the Treo 600. With email, sometimes I wish I had a hard keyboard. But I much prefer the form of the i500.

    But I was looking at my i500 today and thought, hey, there's a lot of keyboard real estate potential there. If you lose the dedicated "draw pad", as is going to happen on the i550, you could probably fit all of the Treo 600 keys there.

    You say, yeah, but they wouldn't be in horizontal QWERTY orientation.

    Then the light bulb went on...who cares? QWERTY makes sense when you can touch type with both hands. I don't think it makes much sense when you can't. Why NOT have a vertical keyboard? Perhaps with an alphabetical orientation, which would be intuitive, or a FITALY orientation, which would have a learning curve but would be faster in the long run (don't know about FITALY? google it).

    This has the additonal advantage of getting rid of the gimmicky and probably break-prone and size-increasing multi-hinge design of that Motorola MPx.

    So you have the solid form of the i500 with the data input flexibility of the 600. Thoughts?

    Caveat: I haven't seen a 600 up close so I can't be sure all the 600 keys would fit in the i500 lower half area. But it seems like they could.
    Last edited by mpermann; 10-09-2004 at 12:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    Tucson, AZ

    I think that trying to get all those keys, in any arrangement, is not really the right approach for a small format Palm phone.

    Below are some comments I made in a thread last year, in which Treo vs. i500 was under discussion:

    Certainly it is interesting to discuss the relative level of integration between the Palm-PDA side and the Phone side of the device. However, it remains true for me that the overriding advantage of the i500 & T600 is simply that both the PDA and phone devices exist - competently - in the same small package. In this regard, the i500's form fits my interests a little better.

    Having said that, I completely agree that the i500 could use a) a higher level of phone to PDA integration, and b) a better thumb-navigatable interface for both modes - but to me that means a better designed and integrated "5-way pad" controller and not a full thumboard like the Treo.

    Attempting to phrase this a little more clealy: Let there be ongoing development of two styles of PDA-phone devices: those which use stylus-centric and those which use thumboard-centric input methods for character input purposes. But, let both styles of devices be equipped with a very well-conceived "5-way pad" or "joy-button" which allows fast stylus-free and thumboard-free navigation for tasks which do not require alpha character input.

    In such a scenario, my personal preference will be the stylus-centric version, for two reasons: First, the device can be smaller and more phone-like (as is the i500). Second, the stylus-centric device, not requring all the alpha keys, can afford to devote an actually larger area to the numeric keypad function - which again is of great benefit for phone use. (My reading is that the cellphone needs to be easy to use in "hurry-up", high-stress and interrupt-driven situations, where neither the stylus nor the fiddly thumboard is convenient.)

    Unfortunately, the i500 does not provide even the elliptical multi-control-button layout of other Samsung phones. Instead it has only an up/down function of the large central button, so even improved software would have a hard time achieving the goal of smooth thumb-navigation.

  3. #3
    boe is offline
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    Short of redesigning it in favor of something more like the upcoming motorola 220, I think the only way to get a usuable keyboard and keep the nice small clamshell design would be to make use of a microkeyboard that could attach over the back battery when you need it. Then remove it and it could communicate via bluetooth.

    I agree that there are two types of users - the stylus user who gets information from their pdaPHONE and the thumb/keyboard user who interactively user their PDAphone.

    I'm on the fence but would rather have the small form-factor over something that uses a lot of pocket space.
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