Lukas Mathis, regarding the Spike Keyboard:
I originally backed this physical iPhone keyboard on Kickstarter because typing Swiss German on an auto-correcting German virtual keyboard is difficult. If I turn off auto-correction, typing English and German becomes difficult. There’s no built-in auto-correction for Swiss German.
On Android, Kännsch helps a lot. It’s a dedicated keyboard for Swiss German.
Still, at least for me, typing on a physical keyboard always worked better. It helps me type correctly without relying on auto-correction.
I had never considered any possible difficulty in typing non-English languages on virtual keyboards. I still think Samsung’s keyboard accessory is an odd product, but I suppose there’s plenty of smartphone users who have practical reasons for wanting a physical keyboard — beyond the BlackBerry die-hards that I typically think of when the discussion is brought up.
Lukas goes on to mention another segment of the market who could benefit from physical keyboards:
I do have a friend who is legally blind, and recently asked me if I knew of a way of attaching something physical to an iPhone to get a tactile feel for where the keys are, so I’m going to give it to him and see whether he likes it.
Smartphones with physical keyboards are a dying breed and for some that’s a sad notion.