My colleagues here at iTechTriad were having a discussion about keyboards on a smartwatch and we started this discussion because there’s a company out there that for some reason thinks having a keyboard on a watch is a good idea. I also started this conversation before I/O, not knowing that Google was just about to announce a keyboard of their own. I have never actually used a keyboard on a watch, but since this is an editorial and not a review I’m allowed to say “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!”
A watch has such a small area and honestly, I don’t think the UI is intended to accommodate typing on a 1.63” screen, at least in the case of my ZenWatch 2, and that’s without even mentioning the smaller options! I have large fingers. I am not going to type on a QWERTY keyboard on my watch. I don’t even want to swipe on it. The watch already allows voice input for responses to messages.
To address the elephant in the room, yes, Android Wear now includes a keyboard built into the operating system. While that will, of course, work better than any of the third-party options, it’s still not a good idea because we just can’t be accurate on a screen the size of a watch.
If the situation does not allow for voice response (noisy background, you’re in a library or museum, or you want your response to be private), then either wait until a more appropriate time to respond or just take out your phone and reply. If you absolutely need to say something, there are quick replies available. There is no reason why our watches should have a keyboard.
I purchased my watch to be a convenience. I did not intend on using it to write a novella. What do you think about keyboards on smartwatches? Good to have or something that shouldn’t exist? Let us know your thoughts!