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Palm Pre Keyboard

We all know we're in the final days of the Pre Wait-a-Thon.  We also know that Palm Pres are trickling out to Sprint employees for training purposes even as you read this.  Some details about the Pre have made their way to us from one of these trainees and, well, it's not all great news.

Our tipster notes that the sliding mechanism is "stiff."  We're actually ok with that, better to be stiff than loose and it will probably open up a bit with use.  Cards are also given a shout out for being intuitive and the touchscreen sensitive - although apparently the under-screen gesture area could use a tweak or two due to some "slight drag" down there.

Now for the not great news: our tipster is not a fan of the keyboard at all.  It's quite a bit "harder" than the somewhat rubbery keys on the Palm Centro -- they're not raised up very much and packed very close together. Many a mistake was made because of the cramped keys and the lack of definition between them. Overall the impression was not great.

I'm holding judgment until I've used the Pre for at least a couple of weeks, however.  When I used the Pre's keyboard I did find it a little cramped, but not overly so.  I've also used both a Centro and a Treo Pro quite a bit -- especially the Treo Pro -- and I prefer that the keys be a little harder and not so 'gummy' as they are on the Centro. Plus, a new keyboard takes a couple of weeks to get used to. It may seem counterintuitive, but because I've been using QWERTY phones since the Treo 180, it takes me longer to take to a new QWERTY than it does for people moving up to a QWERTY for the first time because of all the built-in muscle memory from previous phones.

Bottom line: still better than a software keyboard, but maybe that's damning with faint praise.

How about you?  Are you concerned about the keyboard?

Thanks, anonymous tipster!