I liked my Blackberry.  I liked that I could effortlessly text and drive without taking my eyes off the road, or send a message from under my desk in class without the teacher noticing.  It was easy.  I could feel the buttons beneath my fingertips.  That’s all gone now. Now, I have an iPhone.

We are in the touchscreen phone era.  Our screens are getting bigger, and our buttons are disappearing.  The increased screen size is awesome.  Bigger screens make for better browsing.  They make movies better, and games more fun.  But really, what is a phone for?  In terms of basic functionality, two things: calling, and texting.  My opinion of texting on a touch-screen phone? It sucks.  (On a side note, I would guess the blind population probably sticks to the traditional push-button cellphones?)

Let’s do a little experiment.  Take out your favorite touchscreen device.  Now, type the alphabet, as quickly as possible.  If you’re too lazy to do it, here are my results:

Attempt at the alphabet

The alphabet ends in "U," right?

As you can see, I missed 5 of the 26 letters.  Now I’m no mathematician, but Google told me that’s about a 73%.  That’s definitely nothing to write home about.  I’m sure Apple reps would tell you that “you get used to it,” or “with the auto-correct function, you don’t have to worry about misspelling words.”

 

I’ll admit, the auto-correct function does occasionally save me some time, but it has also gotten a lot of people into some very unfortunate situations.  The website damnyouautocorrect.com compiles some of the world greatest user-submitted texting mishaps.  Here’s a few of my favorite ones (keep in mind, the ones featured here are a little more “G-rated” than those featured on the rest of the site).

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So where’d all the buttons go?  We are sacrificing usability to make media consumption more pleasurable.  I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but after that extremely scientific texting study, we can’t deny it: texting sucks on a touchscreen phone.  I could text more quickly and accurately in 2008, and back then I didn’t also have to pay for a data plan!  I don’t care if you use the one-finger, the two-finger, or the Steve Jobs 10-finger iPhone typing technique, it’s slow and inaccurate.

And one more thing.  What’s with that stupid little click?  The one that’s supposed to make it sound like you’re pressing actual buttons?  It’s fine for the first day or so if you’re the one texting.  But have you ever sat next to someone whose iPhone is clicking away?  That click is nauseating.

As our phones play increasingly-present roles in our everyday lives, basic functionality takes a backseat to exciting features such as a big screen.  You don’t buy a phone for its texting capabilities, you buy it to play Angry Birds.  If you want a phone that’s for texting and making calls, I wouldn’t recommend getting an iPhone or Android.  But, on the other hand, if you want a phone that will give you hours of entertainment daily between texts and calls, both of those brands are good candidates.

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