T-Mobile G1 has a much better QWERTY keyboard than the Palm Pre

Summary:I was reading through Jason Hiner's take on the Palm Pre and I do hope that Palm can compete with the device and new OS since I am a Palm fan from the good old days dating back to 1997. Jason posted five reasons to expect a homerun, but I have to take issue with a couple of them and say that the G1 already does these so they are not unique to the Palm Pre. Reason number 4, carriers want an iPhone competitor, is debatable because I think we are going to see many more Android devices that do just that. Since there is nothing solid as far as announcements go I will leave that one alone. However, I disagree with his reasons number 1 and 2.

I was reading through Jason Hiner's take on the Palm Pre and I do hope that Palm can compete with the device and new OS since I am a Palm fan from the good old days dating back to 1997. Jason posted five reasons to expect a homerun, but I have to take issue with a couple of them and say that the G1 already does these so they are not unique to the Palm Pre. Reason number 4, carriers want an iPhone competitor, is debatable because I think we are going to see many more Android devices that do just that. Since there is nothing solid as far as announcements go I will leave that one alone. However, I disagree with his reasons number 1 and 2.

Reason 2: In reason 2 Jason states the following:

So the ultimate device should combine a touchscreen and a qwerty keyboard, right? The G1 makes a noble attempt, but it’s flip-down keyboard is awkward and not very effective. The Palm Pre represents the first effective fusion of the two, although it’s not perfect either. The Pre keyboard is even a little smaller than the BlackBerry Curve, so it will be tough for people with large fingers to use. Nevertheless, it’s the first smartphone to effectively combine a full touchscreen with an effective qwerty thumboard. Other devices will likely follow its lead.

While the G1 may be a bit of a clunky device, the keyboard is one part that actually shines on the device. It has great spacing, six full rows of keys in an offset QWERTY format just like your PC, assignable shortcuts to just about EVERY key to make navigation on the device extremely efficient, and good feedback so you know when a key is pressed. I am a QWERTY keyboard fan and have tested many, many of these and have to say the G1 keyboard is one of the most efficient keyboards that lets me fly during text entry.

Now with the 1.5 cupcake update you get an on-screen keyboard with haptic feedback to go along with the fantastic G1 keyboard so you get the best of both worlds and I argue that the G1 is the first smartphone to effectively combine a capacitive touchscreen with an effective thumboard. Have you played with the Palm Pre keyboard? It is way too cramped and is not even close to being one of the best keyboards out there. As soon as BlackBerry brings a touch screen to their QWERTY keyboard devices they will probably set the bar here too so the Pre is far from the ultimate in this case.

Reason 1: The Palm Pre is not the first multi-tasking smartphone out there since Windows Mobile and S60 have done it for years. If you want to see someone doing it more elegantly, then again take a look at the Google Android device running on the G1. The G1 has the best background notification system on a smartphone and also supports true multi-tasking. You can simply press and hold the home button to easily jump between the current six running applications as well and it does this with a cool fuzzy background/clear pop-up method. This is just like an Alt-Tab experience and closely models a PC multi-tasking experience.

It will be interesting to see how the Palm Pre does as it launches this weekend, but I have to say I am definitely not as optimistic as Jason at this time. Do you agree that the G1 is strong in these areas or is the Palm Pre the new leader?

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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