After using the Nokia N8 for the past few weeks I must admit that I absolutely love the device. Symbian^3 is familiar yet more capable and let’s you use your device the way you want. But Nokia really need to take a look at one major flaw on this handset. I’ve never found it more difficult to type on a virtual keyboard, than I have with the one on the Nokia N8.
To start with, when typing using the landscape keyboard, the arrow keys are in a very awkward position. This is not because they’re too hard to get to, but instead they’re too easily pressed, especially the right arrow key. Every single time I want to press the space bar I find myself accidentally pressing this right arrow key, which then takes the cursor to the beginning of the message. Many users are experiencing this same issue and I have received quite a few emails asking me to suggest alternative solutions.
The Swype keyboard on the other hand is designed much better. I think the key here is that the right and left arrow keys have been relocated to the upper right of the screen, which I believe is the ideal position as its easy to access when needed.
Secondly, when I asked the designers at Nokia World why the QWERTY option wasn’t available in portrait mode, the response I got was that it was due to the width of the device, which I can understand. A narrower form factor does make it difficult to fit in all the keys. However if you’ve used the Opera Mobile 10 Web Browser on the Nokia N8, you’ll notice that Opera provide a QWERTY input method in portrait mode. Its squeezed in pretty tight but it works rather well. So why can’t Nokia create a portrait QWERTY keyboard for the Nokia N8? If users prefer to switch to T9 then that option can also remain available.
Finally, what I’d like to see is that the keyboard becomes more a part of the OS rather than a standalone application. For example when entering your username and password on a web page or entering a captcha code to verify the fact that your not an alien, the virtual keyboard props up as any other application would and masks the whole screen. To view the captcha whilst typing it in is not possible and leaves you switching back and forth. This needs to change. Early rumours suggested that Nokia has enabled this feature but application developers have not utilized it. Well if this is the case then why has Nokia itself not utilized this feature?
A revamped virtual keyboard will let the Nokia N8 live up to its hype. However for me, this is a deal breaker. If I can’t use my mobile phone to send text messages and emails quickly without having to continuously edit the write up, then the fact that is has a 12 megapixel camera or free voice guided navigation is irrelevant.
Let us know what you think? How are you getting on with the Nokia N8? More importantly, how have you found the virtual keyboard? Drop some thoughts in the comments below.Tags | Applications, Internet Tablet, Keyboard, N-Series, N8, Nokia, Opera, Opera Mobile 10, Ovi Store, Portrait Mode, Qwerty, Review, Software, Swype, Symbian^3, T9, Touch UI