Glossary

Physical QWERTY keyboard

Physical QWERTY keyboard© 2022 GLYPHstock / shutterstock.com

What is a QWERTY keyboard?

The QWERTY layout was created in the 1870s for typewriters, and its name derives from the machine's first six letters (top left). Since Christopher Latham Sholes created this layout, there have been numerous attempts to rearrange the keys in different ways. When personal computers appeared a century later, the computer keyboard inherited the QWERTY layout. The QWERTY layout stood the test of time and is widely used up to this day.

It’s considered the best layout for increasing typing speed. Although the keyboard layout varies to a certain degree from language to language, the first six letters on the top left are usually the same. Keyboards of laptops, tablets, and even smartphones, use the QWERTY layout.

The first mobile phones had a different layout to save space. Three letters, or even four in some cases, would share one key. Depending on how many times you press the key consecutively, the first, second, or third letter would appear on the screen. This type of keyboard was prevalent on flip-phones. Blackberry was the company that changed the game, bringing the QWERTY keyboard to mobile phones in 1999 with the Blackberry 850. By reducing the size of the keys, Blackberry managed to fit 35 keys, five buttons, and an LCD in a compact form factor. Since then, the design for mobile devices evolved.

Smartphones nowadays only have touchscreen keyboards. Even the home button is slowly disappearing, as more and more smartphones have fingerprint scanners built into the screen or side button. These days, if you really can't bear to be without a physical QWERTY keyboard, your best option is to try and pick up a secondhand BlackBerry KeyOne or BlackBerry Key 2.

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