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  • http://textwithdextr.com John Lambie

    Great article Droidologist!

    Would be great to hear more about this topic… Of course I am biased as I’m developing a keyboard app. Mine is aimed at the forgotten 5 billion who don’t know QWERTY.

    My research shows that QWERTY is not “the only” option (either physical or virtual) and is not as widespread as most people think. Once you leave the comfy confines of the “developed” world, PC and laptop access drops like a stone…. as does QWERTY knowledge, use and mastery.

    The vast majority of the planet do not not know or even use a QWERTY keyboard in any form.

    QWERTY’s main drawback is it’s huge learning curve – which is measured in months (if you take lessons) or years (if you try to teach yourself). And given that most of folks in the developing world are coming at QWERTY from a completely different angle – they may NEVER purchase a PC or laptop – what’s the upside to learning it?

    In the developing world, the current keyboard of choice is the “T9″ (alphanumeric) keypad. It relies on a simple alphabetical order – which is why it require no lessons nor any long, frustrating learning curve. One the downside, it’s very inefficient because of the multi-keypresses. Even with predictive text, you often require more keypresses than the actual number of characters in your message.

    MY question: will this forgotten five billion all have the patience to jump on the steep QWERTY learning curve, if there’s little chance of them ever owning or needing a laptop?

    What about a system that uses the system they already know (the alphabet) without the multi-key inefficiencies?