I like my phone. It’s a good old Nokia smartphone running Symbian with both a touchscreen and a physical Qwerty keyboard. That keyboard is invaluable. I write a lot on my phone, text messages, poetry, blog posts and I appreciate the physical feedback that a real keyboard can give you.
I’m aware that my phone is getting older, the hardware is beginning to show signs of wear and I don’t expect to get software updates much longer. However the lack of smartphones with a physical keyboard sees me hanging on to this phone, past the time I would usually have been looking round hopefully for a replacement.
Then I saw a picture of a technology that creates a keyboard on a touchscreen as and when it is needed. It’s being developed by Tactus Technology and uses micro-fluidics (where fluid is routed through tiny channels to expand the top polymer layer to create the physical buttons) to create tactile, physical buttons when an application needs them and allows them to disappear afterwards.
Now sadly I don’t know of any way currently to get my hands on such a device (although if they wanted to send me one to review I’d be more than happy) but it certainly looks as though it might be a solution for smartphone users (like me) who value the feedback only real buttons can give.
I’ve seen suggestions that it might be available as an addon to an existing device as well as built into new gadgets.
In either case, I’ll be looking out for this and hoping I can have it in my next phone.