TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

When smart phones disagree with smart phone words

Nokia phone

Memorable phone words made sense in the days of pre-QWERTY phone keypads

I was taken by surprise last Fall when buying a Lenovo laptop. I’d ordered the computer online and needed to call Lenovo with some supplemental information.

The surprise was that this ended up being way more difficult than I expected because Lenovo published its contact number as 1-866-42-THINK. Now how do you dial that if you have a BlackBerry or any other smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard? Chances are you’re going to have a problem as the keys will lack the traditional “letters-over-numbers” phone layout.

In the end I used Google Image search to display a phone keypad so I could call Lenovo from my BlackBerry. Sounds ridiculous. Fortunately I’ve noticed recently that Lenovo now displays its phone number numerically next to its THINK listing.

Companies that continue to think it’s helpful to display numbers only in letter format are alienating a consumer demographic whose expensive smartphones have left the old style keypads behind. That’s worrying because this demographic either has a smartphone because they are gainfully employed and received it from work, or they are happy to pay extra each month for a data plan. Either way, it sounds like they have a source of cash.

Neil Berman


Mar 30, 2010 - Posted by | Rants | , ,


  1. Neil

    To dial numbers such as 1-800 FLOWERS on a BlackBerry, you simply dial 1800 onto the screen, then, using the shift key, dial FLOWERS.

    So you actually see 1800FLOWERS on the screen of the BlackBerry.

    When you hit the call button, the BlackBerry converts the phone name into the phone number – in this case 18003569377 – and the call is connected.

    Same works with other QWERTY phones.

    If you would like any more info on dialling vanity numbers from a BlackBerry, please let me know.



    Comment by Jack Singleton | Apr 7, 2010 | Reply

    • Jack,

      That’s a very useful and, I suspect, little know piece of info. Thanks for the tip!


      Comment by theONbutton | Apr 7, 2010 | Reply

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