Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the following situation: You are sitting on the couch with a nice person and just want to start a film on Netflix on the smart TV. And then the torture begins: Even in 2022, manufacturers of smart technology will hardly be able to install sensible and fluid keyboards on their devices. A real excitement – but there is also hope.
The reason for this excitement is my recently published test report on the Samsung Freestyle – a smart projector with TizenOS installed. Because here, after years of using a Google Chromecast without a remote control, I was able to find out that smart TVs are still completely unusable. A huge pool of exciting content can only be accessed with the freestyle in a very choppy manner and by pulling up the hat cord.
Of course, for the test I had to set up my WiFi network and then I met him. The boss, who, like in the tantrum RPG Dark Souls, threw me a few meters backwards on the first attack. The monster under the bed that I call childhood and on which I actually sleep so well. A virtual keyboard that can only be controlled using the four direction keys on a remote control.
21 characters to tantrum
My WiFi password is a combination of numbers and letters that is 21 characters long. And on a virtual keyboard, with 26 letters and 10 digits, that’s a total of 756 keystrokes that I would have to press in the worst case. Okay, it ended up being maybe 100-200, but even that’s way too complicated. Especially since the keys are fiddly and the operating system tends to stutter during setup.
After entering my password, other necessary entries followed, such as my Samsung account plus password. It’s particularly pleasant to have to ask your invited guests on a movie night to cover their eyes to enter a password. “Have you got it?” – Of course I made a typo and entered the wrong password three times.
… “Wouldn’t we rather go to the cinema?” …
QWERTZ, QWERTY or do you prefer ABCDEF?
In my years as a technology journalist, I have come across the most colorful virtual keyboards. The usual QWERTZ layout is even the most pleasant. There are actually companies, primarily car manufacturers, who think that people would prefer to use a virtual keyboard in alphabetical order.
While the QWERTY layout was designed to avoid collisions in the mechanics of a typewriter when typing, and is therefore delightfully unnatural, we’ve gotten used to it over the years. I even learned this system by heart in a 10-finger typing course, which I still consider to be the most useful course in high school for my profession.
Why the hell should a virtual keyboard suddenly be easier to use with “ABCDEF”? Because we as
Do children also learn the alphabet in the “right” order? There are conventions! And they also apply if a keyboard is not preconfigured ex works.
How virtual keyboards lose their terror
But there is hope, my dear fellow sufferers. Modern companies that are aware of the problems surrounding virtual keyboards have come up with clever systems. Netflix, for example, allows you to log in easily using a code on the Internet. So you scan a QR code on the TV or beamer with your smartphone (clever, right?) and then only have to enter a number combination with the saved password.
Other really smart manufacturers of smart TVs simply took the technology out of a Nintendo WiiMote and packed it into a remote control. So you can at least make a few simpler entries on the screen without using keys. Alternatively, you can also connect Bluetooth keyboards to most smart TVs to make entries easier. With models like the Logitech MX Keys, my all-time favorite keyboard, you can even switch between up to three Bluetooth connections.
Conclusion or “Is Ben already on his way to the USA?”
No, of course I didn’t go to the Amish to build barns in a day without any machines. Apart from the fact that I wouldn’t grow enough beard for that anyway, I understand the simplicity of virtual keyboards, of course. Especially when setting up new devices, it is much easier for manufacturers to implement the first WLAN connection via the system UI. With the Chromecast, however, Google shows that there is another way.
All the more important are creative input options such as the use of QR codes or smartphone controls such as “waiping” with the live TV provider Waipu.tv. With that, and I’m sure, we could put an end to virtual keyboards forever.
Do virtual keyboards annoy you as much as me? Also, do you think “I think I’m going to be Amish” could make a great set of angry comments? Feel free to write me that in the comments. Regardless of which keyboard you use to write the comment!
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