Will email and text messages get shorter with the BlackBerry Storm?

Will email and text messages get shorter with the BlackBerry Storm?

Summary: I am admittedly a very big fan of physical keyboards on my mobile phones and have what fellow MobileTechRoundup podcast co-hosts James and Kevin call "magic thumbs". I am able to pick up devices like the Palm Treo Pro, HTC Fuze, T-Mobile G1 or BlackBerry Bold and quickly type emails of 250+ words. After a day of using the Verizon BlackBerry Storm I have to say I am still a fan of these physical keyboards. I do think it has a wonderful display and the touch screen, SurePress, technology is very cool, but it isn't an iPhone and I think is too big of a departure from all other BlackBerry devices for serious texters or email fans to be productive.

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I am admittedly a very big fan of physical keyboards on my mobile phones and have what fellow MobileTechRoundup podcast co-hosts James and Kevin call "magic thumbs". I am able to pick up devices like the Palm Treo Pro, HTC Fuze, T-Mobile G1 or BlackBerry Bold and quickly type emails of 250+ words. After a day of using the Verizon BlackBerry Storm I have to say I am still a fan of these physical keyboards. I do think it has a wonderful display and the touch screen, SurePress, technology is very cool, but it isn't an iPhone and I think is too big of a departure from all other BlackBerry devices for serious texters or email fans to be productive.

I shot the video below showing how the different keyboards work on the Storm as it switches from a SureType layout in portrait mode and full QWERTY keyboard in landscape orientation. This is rather interesting because it will require people to learn two text entry methods on a single device. I was also a bit faster and more accurate using the portrait mode SureType keyboard than I was with the landscape full keyboard. Entering text on the keyboards takes longer than even on the touch screen iPhone because you have to physically push in on the display to enter a character. I am finding that I regularly press the wrong character and I don't even have fat fingers. I also have been having lots of trouble entering the wrong password and having to reenter it 3 or 4 times with extreme care to get it right. Even though the iPhone doesn't provide any feedback, I can enter text faster on that device and as you can see in my video I actually may have entered text fastest on the iPhone (maybe I don't need a physical keyboard?).

BlackBerry devices are used by people for heavy texting and emailing and I wonder if the messages people write will now be shorter due to the keyboard on the Storm that seems to take more effort to use than others I have tried.

I am also finding times when I want to hide/minimize the keyboard and there doesn't appear to be a way to do this. Then again, maybe this is application specific. For example, while scrolling through my replies on Twitterberry the keyboard is present and only gives me a small area to scroll down and read and I feel a bit claustrophobic and not in control.

I plan to spend more time this weekend with the Storm, but if I was going to stick with a BlackBerry then the Bold would be my preferred device and I still think the Bold is the best BlackBerry device currently on the market today.

Until I get my larger review up on the blog, I recommend you check out Jason's thoughts on the advantages of the iPhone over the Storm and advantages of the Storm over the iPhone, as well as Josh Taylor's Storm review.

Topics: Hardware, Collaboration, iPhone, Mobility, BlackBerry

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12 comments
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  • Interesting...

    Yeah personally I do not like the touch feature. I have many friends with smart-phones and they always send me very short versions of things they say because it's hard for them to type on their phones.

    I have a VERY standard flip phone by Sony, the Sony Ericsson Z310a. I know I know corny, but I'm super fascinated with one of their newest flip phones, the TM506. I just don't like that they only offer it through T-Mobile. I'm with at&t.

    Anyway... I like the predictive text (T9) best. I can type a whole message spelled correctly with all the words I expect without having to choose but a few (like Movie over Mother, or Me over Of) But it takes but a second and you're done.

    As well, I have somewhat large thumbs so typing those little numbers on touch screens is difficult. I've tested them out at Best Buy and bah.

    With the storm, the first method you show, Portrait Method, looks like it works pretty well, but yeah, definitely don't like the standart keyboard layout option at all, let alone touch screen style.

    Interesting that you have the 'click' sound on. I'd turn all that off. Especially on these newer phones, any features that aren't really necessary, just best to turn off, as they wouldn't burn up battery power to function.
    Arphenion
    • Yea and the sound would get annoying too

      Just like the beeping sounds on the walkie talk phones (I hate that sound!).
      T1Oracle
  • Oh and as well...

    I may just be old fashioned, but I prefer to talk to people, even in Text messaging using the whole word spelled out correctly and with periods.

    It seems more and more as time progresses, with text messaging being the main form of communication people are jogging over to e-mail and typing out their e-mails just like a text message.

    I really dislike that. I find typing the words out fully and correctly in Text messaging keeps the practice of typing and spelling words correctly in every day conversation (via e-mail or whatever).

    Companies should force spelling bees within the company, not just for fun but to be serious so that they encourage people to spell correctly.

    Because I bet 9 out 10 people would mispell the word career. Haha

    I'm being a total nerd but in terms of Text messaging...

    I would dislike seeing people going to shorter text messages and typing out every word abbreviated or in some other form of made up acronym to say the simplest of things.

    Then one year later Merriam-Webster publicizes their latest entries into the English language containing words that make the Human race look like a bunch of 3 world graduates who just learned how to read, write and speak the English language. Or something like that.
    Arphenion
  • RE: Will email and text messages get shorter with the BlackBerry Storm?

    i like this comparison, but i'm curious as to if a history of using the iphone has contributed to being able to type faster on it. I can type much faster on my own keyboard at home that I can using my keyboard at school since i'm not ther all the time.

    I helped out with the launch of the storm today at a verizon store and a lot of customers that purchased it had the same problem I did when first using it. They kept forgetting to click and they couldnt locate letters because it is a different sized keyboard than they are used to on the iphone(yes there were some switchers).

    Also, just on a side note, I admit that RIM should add more multitouch and speed up the UI on this phone if they really want to compete with the iphone. They trumped it in several areas, but they lagged(ahem) behind in others.
    Anonymous Benefactor
  • RE: Will email and text messages get shorter with the BlackBerry Storm?

    oh, and this guy totally clowns on your speed test with the storm. he even typed a longer sentence with less typos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYGREMF5Rmo
    Anonymous Benefactor
  • RIM Portrait was your slowest by far

    The approximate time it took on each device:

    RIM Portrait: 26 seconds
    RIM Landscape: 20 seconds (with errors)
    iPhone: 18 seconds
    Palm: 18 seconds (one error)
    G1: 14 seconds

    Then, in your wrap up you say "Probably one of the fastest
    was when I was using the Storm with the SureType type of
    keyboard"

    The timings were interesting, but your conclusion is
    completely opposite to the reality you had just
    demonstrated.
    rodgerdodger
    • Thanks, interesting results

      Thanks for timing each segment. I was just doing a quick comparison and didn't have a chance to time them myself, but I have to admit I am surprised how much faster the G1 was. It looks like my belief that the hardware keyboards are better for me may actually be true. For some reason the RIM portrait mode felt fast, but it seems it wasn't by a long shot.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • iPhone does give you feedback.

    The iPhone gives you feedback on what key you pressed by
    popping up a tab showing the letter you just pressed. Duh.
    jameskatt
    • *facepalm*

      No. Just... no.
      Sleeper Service
  • This looks disappointing

    Although the Storm is still nice and does compete with the iPhone, it doesn't seem to be a world beater. Although the iPhone is already version 2.0, maybe when the Storm gets its first update we will see the touch screen get better. Of course it could also be an issue of practice.
    T1Oracle
  • RE: Will email and text messages get shorter with the BlackBerry Storm?

    iPhone from Apple has developed a new standard for the
    smartphone industry. With it?s amazing touchscreen, full
    featured html browser, google maps with GPS, enterprise
    email support, ipod, stocks, weather, calendar, application
    store, etc etc, it has wooed millions of people from across
    the globe.

    But even with it?s extensive feature list, there are a few key
    elements missing from the iPhone, some of which the
    BlackBerry Storm may do better than the iPhone thereby
    making it a safer bet than the iPhone... Yep, I meant safer.
    I have my reasons? and here?s why
    http://smartphone-guru.blogspot.com
    /2008/11/blackberry-storm-safer-bet-than-iphone.html

    I can?t wait to get myself the Storm?
    Vijay Aswani
  • Clicking sound = irritant

    Can you imagine using this thing in a quiet meeting room? Not good.
    Is there an optional mode where you can just tap without the push? I just
    got a MacBook with that pushable trackpad, and it didn't take me long to
    enable the "tap" mode instead of using the clicky push.
    Userama