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Why is the new Pro1-X QWERTY layout not *entirely* standard/traditional?


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Per the layout spec here (QWERTY version): https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pro1-x-smartphone-functionality-choice-control#/

This keyboard is 90% of a traditional keyboard with some absolutely random (and in my opinion, absurd) changes.

For one, there is absolutely no reason to ever require the user to press the yellow "Up/Right" arrow to display a symbol.  The "/" and "?" keys presently require using this key on the "P" and "L" keys. 

I would strongly recommend the following:

  • Place the /? key in the traditional location (replacing current \| key. (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)
  • Replace the "Del" key with the \| key (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)
  • Eliminate the right side "Up-Right" function key and replace it with "Del"
  • Ensure that all yellow symbols can be rendered simply using the SHIFT key (I don't have my Pro1 yet, don't know if this is currently the case or not).

I'm not suggesting anything crazy here...just that we follow the convention that's been in use for the past 30 years.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_keyboard

 

 

qwerty.jpg

Edited by tliebeck
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6 minutes ago, tliebeck said:

This keyboard is 90% of a traditional keyboard with some absolutely random (and in my opinion, absurd) changes.

Oops, I haven't looked this deeply but you are right.

7 minutes ago, tliebeck said:

Place the /? key in the traditional location (replacing current \| key. (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)

I am agree with that, "\" is at a very wrong position.

8 minutes ago, tliebeck said:

Replace the "Del" key with the \| key (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)

It may be an option, but another right position for that key is the "`/~" button which should be on the left of '1'.
So, I would put "\" key on the "`~" key.
That key is absolutely a nonsense being there.

10 minutes ago, tliebeck said:

Eliminate the right side "Up-Right" function key and replace it with "Del"

I am absolutely and definitively against it - apart that key is handled a bit differently, it is very important for custom layouts, so should not be eliminated.

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I don't actually own a Pro 1-X yet (pre-ordered it December 2020)., so I could be entirely wrong on the up-right key.  Probably not something I'd use personally.

If any key has to get moved to an unusual space (or require use of up-right_, it should definitely be `~.

Some keyboards also do place \| in the lower left between LEFT SHIFT and Z, so there's precedent there.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, tliebeck said:

Some keyboards also do place \| in the lower left between LEFT SHIFT and Z, so there's precedent there.

Yes, that is why I would put "\" to the lower-left position and I am also currently using it there.
I never thought they would move ~ key to that position. 😞

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  • tliebeck changed the title to Why is the new Pro1-X QWERTY layout not *entirely* standard/traditional?
15 hours ago, tliebeck said:

I would strongly recommend the following:

  • Place the /? key in the traditional location (replacing current \| key. (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)
  • Replace the "Del" key with the \| key (this puts in the traditional location on a PC/Mac keyboard)
  • Eliminate the right side "Up-Right" function key and replace it with "Del"
  • Ensure that all yellow symbols can be rendered simply using the SHIFT key (I don't have my Pro1 yet, don't know if this is currently the case or not).

While I agree with most of your ideas, I think that ship has sailed. According to the last update from Fxtec, they should be in the protoyping phase by now. Even small changes to the hardware would likely introduce large delays at this point. As @VaZso pointed out, that's especially true for the Fn key which is wired differently than "normal" keys. So it is not only a matter of changing the printing on the caps.

That said, I would not worry too much. My experience is that typing on the phone and on the PC "feels" so different that it does not help to have identical layouts for the symbols (nor does it hurt to have some differences there).

I have a QWERTZ Pro1. And although that mimics the standard QWERTZ layout quite closely (I think as closely as possible without triple-labelling keys) this similarity to my PC keyboard did not help me much in learning to type efficiently. Most of the time, you thumb-type on the phone, so muscle-memory from the PC simply cannot help you find the right keys. And, even when using the phone on a desk, so that one can (in theory) use multliple fingers for typing, the gestures I am used to from the PC most often do not work, as the keys are simply too close together with respect to the natural span of my hands.

Edited by claude0001
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@tliebeckWelcome on the forums.

I think the displayed layouts on the IGG page are still what they were when first published. The community has already heavily criticized them in multiple places on those forums.
My take on this, is that it should look like that:

image.png.a38e97b84e7bf031596034d2a26d5061.png

See also:

The last thing we want is removing modifiers, also having printable characters on the bottom row of keys is not a good idea IMHO.

Edited by Slion
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I like Slions version, except I would swap the backslash and back- apostrophe  keys. to more usual placements, and especially in light of other qwerty-based languages where the accents are usually on the right side

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5 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

I like Slions version, except I would swap the backslash and back- apostrophe  keys. to more usual placements, and especially in light of other qwerty-based languages where the accents are usually on the right side

+1, that would be a much better key placement.

I will definitively use backslash at the bottom-left corner regardless of the print but that is a right place for it and none of the positions of back- apostrophe key is perfect (that would be the position of ESC), so placing it below backspace is a valid option.

I would also live without that key but in my national layout, that button is "0" anyway, so it is definitively used by at least one international layout.

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I think @tliebeck's question (which is also the thread title) is quite easily answered: because we need at least two keys which standard keyboards usually have on a sixth row above our five rows, Esc and Del, and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a standard for five-row keyboards which include those two keys. Plus, there's at least one special key for Android which has no analogy on PC keyboards.

That said, Fxtec could perhaps have found some existing keyboard on one of the many existing laptops/notebooks/netbooks than would have made a better model for our keyboard than what we have now. Then again, I'm not too unhappy with what we have (even with the 'shifted' QWERTY layout), and with the excellent teamwork regarding keyboard matters we're seeing here lately by @Slion, @VaZso, @Sean McCreary, and it's good to see @tdm back, too, I'm confident this keyboard will improve even further 🙂 

11 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

I like Slions version, except I would swap the backslash and back- apostrophe  keys. to more usual placements, and especially in light of other qwerty-based languages where the accents are usually on the right side

On US QWERTY keyboards, actually the backslash usually is where @Slion put it, and where, as a programmer, I find it convenient and logically placed:

640px-KB_United_States-NoAltGr.svg.png

Problem of course is that the Pro1's Esc key is where the back apostrophe usually goes, but I find the back apostrophe's placement between left shift and Z not too bad, either. Or perhaps the back apostrophe could go where Esc is and vice versa, but I'm not sure whether I'd like the Esc placement then.

On UK QWERTY keyboards, the backslash indeed is where you and @VaZso propose to put it, but quite some other things are completely different, too, and the two-row return key makes it even more difficult for the UK layout to act as a model for the Pro1 keyboard:

640px-KB_United_Kingdom.svg.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_and_American_keyboards#Windows_keyboards

The one thing in @Slion's proposal I would be hesitant about is combining backspace and Del on one physical key. Personally, I use Del often enough that I wouldn't like needing a second key for it. I'd rather sacrifice  one of the two AltGr keys – at least as long as accents and umlauts could be implemented with dead keys. Or one of the two Ctrl keys – I remember that on an old Siemens-Fujitsu laptop of mine the Del key was where there usually is the right Ctrl key...  

By the way, is there a possibility to get a 'US International' with dead keys layout for the existing QWERTY keyboard on LOS 18.1? I remember having been quite happy with that layout on LOS 16.1, except that it didn't work in browser text fields, but 'US International' didn't work that way anymore on LOS 18.1.

 

Edited by Rob. S.
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59 minutes ago, Rob. S. said:

The one thing in @Slion's proposal I would be hesitant about is combining backspace and Del on one physical key. Personally, I use Del often enough that I wouldn't like needing a second key for it. I'd rather sacrifice  one of the two AltGr keys – at least as long as accents and umlauts could be implemented with dead keys. Or one of the two Ctrl keys – I remember that on an old Siemens-Fujitsu laptop of mine the Del key was where there usually is the right Ctrl key...  

 

On my proposal the left AltGr should really be labelled Sym and then everyone can map it to whatever they want, Del for instance. The right AltGr is really needed, not least for Alt+Tab.

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1 hour ago, Rob. S. said:

By the way, is there a possibility to get a 'US International' with dead keys layout for the existing QWERTY keyboard on LOS 18.1? I remember having been quite happy with that layout on LOS 16.1, except that it didn't work in browser text fields, but 'US International' didn't work that way anymore on LOS 18.1.

US Int. layout works fine on LOS 18.1 yes. Though the default one provided by Android is far from complete, many AltGr character mods missing. The French accent dead keys are working though.

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1 hour ago, Rob. S. said:

On US QWERTY keyboards, actually the backslash usually is where @Slion put it, and where, as a programmer, I find it convenient and logically placed:

The funny thing here is that if you on a PC with a keyboard with 'tall' Enter key select US-keyboard (That is what I normally use), then you will find  \| IS placed next to Z, so the two keys seem to be wired the same - rather odd... I have not checked their scan-codes.

That is the key in e.g. UK keyboard three right of L is new, and NOT the one above Enter in the US-layout, that one is MOVED to left of Z. Strange...

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31 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

The funny thing here is that if you on a PC with a keyboard with 'tall' Enter key select US-keyboard (That is what I normally use), then you will find  \| IS placed next to Z, so the two keys seem to be wired the same - rather odd... I have not checked their scan-codes.

The places where I saw "\" character are:

  • The right of a small backspace above big enter
  • The right of "right shift" below big enter in a place where turbo was placed in later keyboard models (to reach power / sleep / wake functions)
  • Above right shift but left of big enter
  • Above small enter and below backspace (between them)
  • The left of ZXC keys
  • Maybe there was also a layout where "\" was placed between CTRL and ALT keys or a similar position

So its placement is not constant at all.
However, if there is a button between left shift and ZXC keys, it is defiitively "\".

Otherwise, I think left "\" has different scancode (not wired together) but I haven't checked it now.

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1 hour ago, EskeRahn said:

The funny thing here is that if you on a PC with a keyboard with 'tall' Enter key select US-keyboard (That is what I normally use), then you will find  \| IS placed next to Z, so the two keys seem to be wired the same - rather odd... I have not checked their scan-codes.

That is the key in e.g. UK keyboard three right of L is new, and NOT the one above Enter in the US-layout, that one is MOVED to left of Z. Strange...

As you mentioned - it's all about the scancodes.  This means manufacturers can make all keyboards the same and just put different labels on the keycaps to make mass production cheaper then rely on customers to chose the matching language setting in their operating system.  The ISO physical layout (tall enter, split left shift) has many language variants, ISO-US keeps \| near where it is on an ANSI (wide enter, big left shift) board while ISO-UK one puts \| next to left shift and ISO-FR (French AZERTY) and ISO-DE (German QWERTZ) don't have a \| key at all.

From what I've read I find it very strange that the keyboard in the Pro1 is not handled in the same way for the same reason.

Also more on topic I find it bizarre that one of the biggest keys on the Pro1 keyboard is 'traditional' despite being the least used - Caps Lock.  Building on the excellent work I've seen here mine will hopefully be mapped with Delete top right, backspace on Caps, \| next to Z and something resembling #~ on backspace.  That or chop the whole keyboard up and make it Colemak like the touchscreen keyboard on my Sailfish'ed Xperia...

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2 hours ago, Slion said:

US Int. layout works fine on LOS 18.1 yes. Though the default one provided by Android is far from complete, many AltGr character mods missing. The French accent dead keys are working though.

I confess I never tried French accents via dead keys, but you're right, some dead keys seem to be there, at least [`], [^] and [~]. Other than in LOS 16.1, though, ['] and ["] don't work as dead keys for umlauts in 18.1, as I think it would be standard in US international keyboard layouts with dead keys. 

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2 hours ago, Slion said:

On my proposal the left AltGr should really be labelled Sym and then everyone can map it to whatever they want, Del for instance. The right AltGr is really needed, not least for Alt+Tab.

I don't use Alt-Tab much (yet, that is – maybe I should start to), but I guess I would be fine with using left-AltGr + Tab, too (left thumb + left index finger). I confess I still find the plethora of modifier keys on the Pro1 keyboard more confusing than helpful 😉 

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50 minutes ago, suicidal_orange said:

ISO-DE (German QWERTZ) don't have a \| key at all

I think "\" it is the AltGr section of "-" as per US keyboard and "|" is the AltGr section of the key left to "ZXC".
Also, the key "\|" exists on that layout (left to ZXC) but there is a different print on it (<,>,|) - also, the potential right position of "\|" key has the text of (*,').

So yes, these two keys have different scancodes (like what I have remembered) but US layout produces "\" and international layouts may use them for their own purposes - but those keys are definitively not "` and ~".

Edited by VaZso
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