How can we get manufacturers to start making handphones with proper buttons again?
With the onslaught of touchscreen-only devices, buttons have been disappearing. Directional pads (D-pads), QWERTY keypads, dedicated function keys (e.g. camera shutter), even the most basic Home/Back/Menu and Call/End keys have gone away, to be replaced by touchscreen versions which are a pale shadow of their peers.
Quite frustrated for the past year or more. I have not been able to find suitable electronic products for use. For example, I was looking for a QWERTY handphone, and also a small Windows UMPC.
However, due to the so-called Apple effect, these products are not available. Ever since Apple products achieved mainstream popularity, competitors have got into the bad habit of copying Apple.
I still miss my Nokia E71, it's form factor, and available apps
- candybar QWERTY - less moving parts, type with single hand
- D-pad - move precisely through menus, accurate text selection, single hand
- Opera Mini version 4 browser - allows for fast page up/page down using D-pad (needs a mobile phone that supports java apps)
Features required in my next phone
- good to-do app (sync, reminder), e.g. Astrid?
- fast browser (Opera Mini)
- QWERTY keypad
- D-pad or arrow keys
- universal search
- office document editor
- good predictive text input (e.g. SwiftKey)
Current contenders are the HTC ChaCha and Nokia E6. However, both are "problematic" phones with issues.
- insufficient built-in memory for apps
- bugs (e.g. SMS jumps to top of thread)
- poor battery life
- poor camera
- no Adobe Flash
- not a lot of apps for Symbian Anna (or Belle); e.g. no established to-do app
- no autofocus for camera
Besides the 2 above, the ranked outsider is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro, which has better specs, but has the following issues
- flat keyboard, not very tactile
- sliding QWERTY means 2-handed use; also potential issues with durability (my current X10 Min Pro needed a replacement ribbon connector)
- insufficient built-in memory for apps (although not as bad as the ChaCha)
So how? I have up to mid-May (handphone recontract date) to decide...