If you hadn’t heard, the Motorola Droid landed on Verizon last Friday. As reviews flooded in (like our own), there seemed to be a consistent disappointment with the slide-out physical keyboard. Problems reportedly stem from the shallow and cramped key layout that may send some users to the more usable onscreen keyboard. If only there was a way to manufacture a phone without a wretched directional pad…
Hands down, the most confusing thing about the Droid‘s design would have to be the inclusion of the 5-way D-pad. It just doesn’t make sense. The only time the D-pad would really be used is during text input, right? Surely if you had a more spacious keyboard you’d be less prone to texting errors. Drop the directional pad, spread the keys across the whole slide-out face and you’ve got a keyboard that’s worth sliding out.
Google’s Android OS has been optimized for touch input. The device has a touch screen. You’d think it’s a no brainer that external navigation hardware like this D-pad become unnecessary. Look at the space it takes up. There’s almost enough room for three more columns. Using that extra real estate to space the columns apart might make the keyboard more a bit more comfortable to type on. With some of the extra space that the D-pad takes up, they could have added directional buttons to the bottom row if it was an absolute must.
With or without the D-pad, the Droid seems to be great device. It has received excellent reviews that indicate it’s currently Verizon’s best handset. It might just be Motorola’s modern day RAZR. If any of you already have the device (or even played with it), let us know how you feel about the keyboard. How would you improve it? If I’m completely wrong, I’d love to hear why. Leave a comment and we can fight it out.