I must admit: I’m a geek when it’s on small powerful PIM devices. After owning a Treo 180 since 2005 I wasn’t able to go back to standard boring mobile phones. So I was going to get the XDA mini from O2 Germany, which was one of the 1st generation touchscreen-only PocketPC-phones out there (don’t rely on that).
And as we all have to face the upcoming multi-touch-screen-hype started by Apples iPhone these days, I wonder why the hell everybody thinks this is the end of phone keys. In my two-year experience with a nearly keyless phone I need to clear up with a common mistake in rating those new LG Prada, LG Mobile KS20, HTC Touch, Samsung P520 and so on (this list is too long): Typing text is pain on those devices. For a demo-video and and overview on how keyless devices feel like, I recommend the article by Dieter Bohn on HTC Touch vs. iPhone, Part 2.
Regardless of soft-keyboards with auto-completion, vibration-on-touch and all other kinds of emulating real keys it will NEVER feel like typing on real keys, believe me. In fact, it’s not possible to write without looking on the screen, ’cause you never know whether you hit the right “key” or whether you hit it hard enough at all. I mean, it’s possible to write text, of course, and I did it for nearly 2 years now. But it’s definitly beaten by the feel of real keys. So my next phone will be the HTC Touch Dual slider, with a 20-key keypad.
Well, sure I am a fan of huge displays with touchscreen functionality and cool apps based upon them. But to make it short: When it comes to typing a text longer than about 100 characters, real keys are second to none.