Does the iPhone need a real keyboard?

The other day, as I sat waiting for Jeff Bezos to appear in an auditorium to announce the new Kindle DX, I was surrounded by iPhones. Literally. Two people to my right, two people in front of me, and three people in back of me were all tapping out IMs or e-mails on their iPhones. What struck me was how awkward most of these people looked, tapping away with a single finger, laboring to type sentences just a few lines long.

Now I know some people can type quickly using the iPhone's virtual keyboard. A week earlier I'd witnessed a woman, her iPhone sitting on a table, taping with two fingers at a highly elevated rate (the rat-tat-tat of her typing on the table was quite noisy, which drew onlookers). But there are still a lot of people out there who just can't get used to typing on the iPhone. And many a BlackBerry user has told me she will never be able to switch to the iPhone because she needs a physical keyboard.

My wife is a case in point. She lives on her Blackberry and can type emails with astonishing speed. When she was required recently to get a "personal" cell phone separate from her work cell phone, she opted to get the exact same BlackBerry Curve on AT&T that she used for work--even though she could have gotten the iPhone for the same price (at least in terms of hardware costs). She's a BlackBerry user through and through, even after a couple of her BlackBerries broke (more on that in a minute).

[via CNET]

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