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Computer Q&A Board  /  Questions  /  Layout numeric keys
Posted by: frans_klaus (Guest), January 13th, 2013, 5:00am
For years I have been wondering why the layout of the numeric keypad on my computer and calculator differ from that on my phone (I frequently call people inadvertently because I type f.i. an 8 instead of a 2; I switch bottom and top row).
I know that the keypad on computer and calculator are similar to old calculating machines but I would like to know what blundering idiot got the idea to inverse the keypad on phones.
Posted by: Ray, January 13th, 2013, 6:49am; Reply: 1
   Or is the question, what blundering idiot got the idea to put 1 at the bottom of the calculator pad?  1 should be at the top.
   There are several theories as to why phones and calculators are different.  Here is a webpage about that (
   I think the best answer is that it is logical to put the 1 on top.  Telephone makers decided to right a wrong created by calculator makers.
   Now when new keypad devices are made (like ATM machines), the 1 is on top.  It just makes sense that that is where 1 should be.  :)
Posted by: frans_klaus (Guest), January 13th, 2013, 1:08pm; Reply: 2
Sorry, but I see no logic whatsoever in putting the 1 at the top. If I look at a keypad I look from the bottom, seeing first the 0, then the 1 and then the rest. To me that is logic.
For quite some time only adding machines had a keypad. Older ones lots of rows with the ones at the bottom and the nines at the top, the hand coming always from below. I've know people using only the 1 - 3 buttons, pushing the 3 3 times for a 9 (and they were faster than everyone else!) so they could leave their wrist on the table!
One thing is sure: when the first pushbutton phones came into existence the adding machine had been around quite some time. So the most logical explanation in the site you mentioned is speed, the same stupid reasen that got us the qwerty-layout.
Posted by: Ray, January 14th, 2013, 12:48am; Reply: 3
   Yes, calculators had been around for quite awhile when the push button phone was invented but most people did not have calculators and the early calculators did not have the standard keypad (I remember those days).  Calculators were big, bulky manual devices (manual as in no electronic circuits inside, just a bunch of gears) that only businesses could afford.
   Before the push button phone existed all phones were rotary.  On the rotary phone the 1 was on the top.  It would have confused a lot of people to put the 1 on the bottom.
   Speed was not as big of an issue back then as it is today because push button phones were only used for dialing a phone number.  It would be several decades before phones would be used to calculate and text.
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