The Palm Pre is a smartphone equipped with a beautiful touchscreen display, but it does not come with a virtual keyboard. It forces you to slide out that physical keyboard for any sort of text entry. If you’re pained by this extra step, I’ve got some good news for you. As it turns out, there is a native on-screen keyboard after all.
You don’t gain access to this touchscreen keyboard right out of the box, but it seems that a native on-screen keyboard is a very real possibility. Jumping into the webOS Internals, you’ll find that there are files that can be modified to provide this added functionality.
More specifically, the files you want are the ones that control the SYM pop-up extra characters list. The resulting keyboard can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations, making it so much more convenient for you to enter text without sliding out that sticky physical keyboard.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that this development is still very early on and it’s probably riddled with bugs and errors. In fact, they’re saying that the patch is “pre-alpha” and nowhere near ready for public consumption. I believe you can find the pre-alpha patch out there for download, but there is a very real possibility that it’ll break your Pre.
I always find it a little strange that when a device is equipped with a touchscreen and a physical keyboard that the developers do not provide native support for a touchscreen keyboard in the first place. Just because I like the physical keyboard does not mean that I don’t want an on-screen keyboard in a pinch.