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Android Device Users Help Me Out Here When It Comes to Buttons and Bezels

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Yesterday we linked to information about Apple getting a patent on technology that allows for discrete and/or capacitive buttons on the bezel of a device. We’ve heard in the past about Apple and others exploring technology to allow touch on both front and back sides of devices. In my admittedly limited experiences with Android devices, all of them have had capacitive buttons. Again, my experience is limited but those buttons are more of a problem than a benefit because on tablets they are right where I want to hold the button and it is very easy for my fumble fingers to inadvertently press them On smartphones the issue isn’t as prevalent in my case, but I do find that inadvertent touches have caused some unwanted actions.

So in the context of a potential magical and revolutionary bezel with places to touch and manipulate actions, (or as rumors have been circulating, a capacitive home button on the next iPhone) I’m curious and would like some advice and feedback from Android users. Is it just me or do you have problems with inadvertent button presses on these devices? Do you get used to it eventually and find that motor memory kicks in?

I ask this sincerely seeking what those who have more experience think about this. Call me naive, call me unfairly and prematurely skeptical, but unless there is engineering to prevent inadvertent button pressing I see this kind of complexity leading to more trouble than it is worth.  Again, my experience with Android devices is limited but in the times I’ve worked or tested an Android Tablet the capacitive buttons have been more problematic than beneficial.

So, let me know your thoughts. Please share them in the comments. below.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

4 Comments

  1. Steven

    04/08/2011 at 3:00 pm

    My biggest transition, going from the iPhone to the Samsung Fascinate, was not have a tactile home button to press. I have to scan around with my thumb to find the proper key at the bottom of the phone, especially in the dark.

  2. K.DOS

    04/08/2011 at 5:58 pm

    The Samsung Vibrant has a physical home button with a (slightly smaller) capacitive button on each side. I’ve had the phone for 4 months and still hit the capacitive buttons by accident once in a while. It tends to happen when holding in landscape mode and playing games with virtual buttons near the edge of the screen, seems like my thumbs for too fat or something. I don’t recall it ever happening while in portrait mode. Personally I think the Vibrant has it right I don’t think I would like the 4 capacitive buttons offered by a lot of android devices.

  3. John in Norway

    04/08/2011 at 6:19 pm

    I agree with you. It happens a lot on my Galaxy Tab, especially when using it in landscape mode. I do find it less of a problem if I flip it round 180 degrees, though. Haven’t really found it a problem on my phone.

  4. Roberto

    04/08/2011 at 8:24 pm

    I have a droid and sometime when I grip the phone I hit one of the buttons once in a while, but then I can just hit the back button and there I am. Not really a big deal to me.

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