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Old 12-31-2009, 10:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trackpad Issues Pushing Me To The Edge

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Let me start by saying that I regret having to post this, but I wanted to share my current situation for those that may be interested. Let me also say that I have tried everything from rebooting the phone to upgrading the OS, but nothing has helped.

The short version:

Trackpad issues are frustrating me to the point that my relationship with BlackBerries may have to come to an end.

The long version:

Both my girlfriend and I recently purchased BlackBerry 9700's, and we both love them. Lately, though, it seems that the phones are quickly becoming less and less responsive when navigating the phone via the trackpad. At first, I was thinking that it was a hardware issue, but since it is happening to both phones, I am starting to think it is an issue with cold weather and our dry hands.

Let me explain... we both need to use some sort of hand lotion every morning to avoid dry, ashy hands. As the weather gets colder, our hands get dryer and dryer. Well, what we are both experiencing is that if we use lotion for our hands (which we really, really need to), then the trackpad doesn't recognize our input because our hands are too greasy. However, if we don't use lotion, our hands are too dry and ashy, and the trackpad can't handle that very well either.

So what are we left with? We are both finding that we are left with phones that don't recognize input via the trackpad which renders the phones completely useless. If we can't move the cursor around, then we can't get to applications that we want/need to get to. That means that the phones are no good to us (except I suppose if someone happens to call).

Unfortunately, RIM is moving to all new devices having the trackpad, so that looks like the end of our relationship with BlackBerry devices. Sure, we can get an older device, but my desire to keep moving forward with technology and not move backwards means that I won't be happy with that solution. And since my girlfriend is learning to be as much a geek as me, she won't be happy either.

Ungh... this is frustrating. We love the BlackBerry devices and how well they work (trackpad issues not withstanding), but we can't keep going like this. We need to be able to use the phone, and more and more each day we are finding that we are unable to do so.

I never thought I'd say this, but I wish they had kept the trackball. Such is progress, I suppose. There are bound to be casualties as technology moves forward. I just never thought I'd be one of them.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have also noticed that the drier my hands are, the better the response on the trackpad is.

I wish I had (and I may fashion one) a microfiber thumb sheath to wear during the 9700 operation. This would help with my trackpad issues and clean the various components during daily use.

(Yes, I know it would look really stupid to wear a microfiber thumb sheath. But I'm old enough not to care about looking stupid.)
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's part of the reason I don't believe the phone is broken... if I try and clean the trackpad with a paper towel or microfiber cloth, the trackpad is perfectly responsive. As soon as I place my thumb/finger on the trackpad to use it, it stops responding to my input.

It doesn't always fail, though. By the afternoon, my hands aren't so dry and ashy and seem to be more hydrated, and at that point, the trackpad responds well. Unfortunately, I need to actually use the phone in the morning, not just in the afternoon. And each morning I start the cycle over again where I can't use the phone for a period of time.

Washing my hands doesn't help. Drying them off as dry as possible doesn't help. Nothing seems to help but time.

Very, very frustrating. What good is a phone that can only be used in the afternoon? Ungh...
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Last edited by ifonline : 12-31-2009 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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would it be possible to experiment with different lotions. Maybe there are some that leave a less greasy residue.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Possibly. I have used a few different types, but none seem to make a difference for either me or my girlfriend. In all honesty, though, I never had these issues with the trackball-based devices, and I have been using the same few lotions for years.

If having a BlackBerry with a trackpad means that I have to change my lifestyle, then I'm not sure I am interested in that. I know I sound like I have given up, and I don't mean to come across that way. I want to find a reasonable solution, but each day I feel like there isn't one.

It's just frustrating. I just sent a BBM message to my girlfriend, and when I realized I needed to change a word in the message that I typed, I found that I couldn't move the cursor up to the right location in the message to make the change. I just sent it on, mistakes and all.

My blood pressure is rising as I type this. Going to get some lunch.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Have you tried excluding your thumbs when applying the lotion? Perhaps cover with band-aids then remove band-aids after applying the lotion?
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Then my thumbs would be too dry (assuming my theory is correct about my dry hands being the problem). That's the catch... either use lotion for my dry hands but the trackpad fails to work because of the lotion, or don't use lotion, and the trackpad fails to work because my hands/fingers/thumbs are too dry and ashy.

I can't seem to win.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I was a trackwheel fan myself. I loved that thing on my 8700c, which was my last phone before this 9700. The trackwheel was built like a brick you-know-what-house and the loud clicking noise was a nice feedback.

Never had a trackball, but when I used my friend's Pearl, I didn't care for it much. Felt too light...
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I had several devices that used the trackwheel, and I agree... they did work well. I didn't mind moving from the wheel to the ball, though. I never had problems with the ball.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Interesting that you have this problem. I'm a current Tour user and have the same type of frustrations "lotioning up" and using the trackball... was kinda hoping trackpad devices wouldn't have this same problem... oh well!

p.s.

I'm sure I didn't really provide a solution to your problem, but figured I'd log my two cents anyway
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I wish I had better news, but it seems to be the case (for me, at least). For example, the trackpad is responding a bit better now, but still not fluid or any less frustrating. By this afternoon, however, I expect everything will be working just fine.

And then in the morning... I start it all over again.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

Sounds like a business opportunity. Sort of a blackberry thimble. I wonder what material would work best?
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Imagine what the lotion will do to the Storm, iPhone or other touch-screen device.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I thought about it. There probably is a niche market for microfiber thumb gloves. But I'll leave the marketing to someone with a little more time than me. I've got an extra cloth from a Nintendo DS (kids) cleaning kit I'm going to tinker with and see what I can do. It'll probably look terrible but work great, like most things I engineer.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I can just see it now. People walking around with little thumb condoms. I guess it would make it easy to spot a BB user.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:11 PM   #16 (permalink)
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"thumb condoms". Love it. They'll probably sell them for $0.75 in the restrooms of cell phone providers.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Actually, I was joking when I said it, but in many semiconductor fab shops, the workers use things called finger cots that look like little condoms... Link >>> Finger Cots, Nitrile Finger Cots

@ifonline

These might help you and the gf out..
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Last edited by devnull : 12-31-2009 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonejunkie View Post
Imagine what the lotion will do to the Storm, iPhone or other touch-screen device.
I thought about that. I have had iPhones in the past that didn't present any issues with functionality. The only complaint was a smudged screen.

*sigh*

I'm going home to sulk.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I have had the same problem and now use a paper towel to clean the excess from my hands. This still leaves plenty of lotion on my fingers as it shows up easily on the screen if I run my finger over it. Periodically during the day I reapply and wipe off, works for me.
I also find hand sanitizer helpful.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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(on edit: ASCII art is not lining up. But I think most people can figure out based on the spacing how the "T" figure is supposed to work.)


This thread made me think about this issue, because I feel the nagging lag of moist thumb operation as much as the OP, although I am content to live with it rather than switch devices.

I have since taken a few different microfiber cloths and played with them over my thumb. I finally decided to cut one out in this shape:

______________
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
-----[ ]----
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
[ ]
-------

The vertical axis of the T shape goes up the inside of my thumb just past the first knuckle. Then the horizontal pieces overlap each other, in addition to the vertical piece. The prototype just has a rubber band wrapping it. I will stitch the next one if I like it.

Early results are promising. Reaction of trackpad is zippy and it's not too obnoxious on the thumb. After each bout of usage, I hold the BB up to the light and the trackpad is predictably super-shiny.

I am going to use this for a week and see if this is a long term enhancement. It's really not that bad so far. Web surfing is definitely nicer, as it requires moving long distances, and I am now doing it faster.

(I realize this will widely be regarded as a pathetic waste of time.)

Last edited by JRawlinson : 12-31-2009 at 05:17 PM. Reason: ASCII art not lining up
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