Will Touchscreen Keyboards Take Over?

Will Touchscreen Keyboards Take Over?

Anthony Nguyen
Jul 23, 2010

Touchscreens haven't been so much the rage since the first introduction of the Nintendo DS Lite nearly half a decade ago. From Motorola's Droid to Apple's iPad, touchscreen devices are selling like hotcakes and they don't seem like they'll stop selling anytime soon. The question is, will the touchscreen keyboard finally be able to replace the physical keyboard?

THE BENEFITS OF A PHYSICAL KEYBOARD:


  • Ergonomics: Years and years of research have helped develop highly ergonomic keyboards that provide consumers with proper angles for typing. Touchscreens require poking and awkward typing positions.

  • Feedback: There is nothing better than knowing your key has been struck. It's that mechnical feedback against our fingers that we've come accustomed to over the years that makes the standard keyboard such a quick and easy tool to pick up and use. It also explains why touchscreen keyboards can be so frustrating sometimes.

THE BENEFITS OF A TOUCHSCREEN KEYBOARD:


  • Portability: With touchscreen keyboards built into the screen itself, what you get is a smaller package and less hardware to worry about.

  • Aesthetics: Personally, we never found keyboards to be the most aesthetically pleasing devices since its incarnation back on mechanical typewriters. Along with portability, having no physical keyboard whatsoever creates a sleek package that encourages further experimentation of gesture support and more natural forms of interaction away from the QWERTY way of thinking.

We personally find it hard to believe virtual keyboards will oust their physical counterparts any time soon. It's a matter of past experiences, managing those preferences, and the type of media people are creating and consuming. For designers, the ability to sketch and take notes on a high fidelity notepad may be a dream of the future, but to lose Photoshop's keyboard support and all of its fancy shortcuts may be something hard to for veterans to simply drop in a heartbeat.

What do you think? Will physical keyboards eventually go the way of the dodo bird? Let us know what you think!

[Image: iPad vs Kindle: an E-Reader Showdown]

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