Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

B&W TextingI just read a blog entry on the extinction of the physical QWERTY keyboard phone, and it bugs me. The main info isn’t surprising of course, but I think what it suggests is misleading.

Even after a year and a half on a full touch Android device, I still only endure it (keyboard-wise). I prefer the physical keyboard regardless of having “gotten used to” typing on glass and the added assistance of the fine SwiftKey keyboard app.

More than that, it seems to me that the manufacture of phones doesn’t match the public’s desires. I saw a survey within the last year (on a general tech site not biased by being BlackBerry-centric) that indicated more than 80% of the respondents actually preferred a physical keyboard. That blew me away. I doubt if replicated the number would be that high consistently, but it certainly raises the question of whether there is a true market share for QWERTY phones still.

Anecdotally, many of the folks I know who have specifically talked about this issue with me seem to be prioritizing other things more highly than actually preferring the touchscreen typing experience (there are no iPhones or Galaxy S#s with a physical keyboard).

What I think has actually happened is twofold.

First, QWERTY king BlackBerry shot itself in the foot time and again with bad decisions, compounded by an inability to meet deadlines or to market well. Those bad decisions were related to its phones specs and the “app gap” much more so than the fact that people really didn’t want a physical keyboard.

Secondly, other manufacturers who have made physical QWERTY phones did a generally crappy job of it. For whatever its other significant shortcomings and failures, BlackBerry perfected the physical keyboard.

Just as phone manufacturers obviously think everyone wants bigger and Bigger and BIGGER phones (we all don’t!), the impression is also that we all prefer typing on glass. I have a pretty strong feeling that simply isn’t true.