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!

Backspace for phones
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This is something I hit upon while living in Ireland and often having to dial large strings of numbers on common desk telephones and screwing up a single digit, thus having to hang up and start all over again. Phones need a backspace key. There's a decent, but non-standard solution for mobile phones, in that usually, you can hit "cancel" or the equivalent button, when dialing a number to delete the last number entered, but dialing on mobile phones is more along the lines of "batch dialing", where you enter the whole number and then commit to the call process (by pressing "send").

I propose we install a ! key on every common telephone, the purpose of which is to cancel the last character pressed. It may not be practical for standard function touch tone home phones (at least, not right off the bat), but certainly office phones running on digital PBX lines or some such should have this sort of feature. More super-powered variants coud include pressing ! multiple times to erase more characters, or holding down ! to cancel the whole dial (if the keypad is on the handset and it your not close to the base to hang it up, perhaps).

dnm, Jul 08 2000

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       "Batch dialing" seems like a fine solution to me, and that would let any handset incorporate this feature. (The only problem is that you have to somehow detect when the number is finished, or else have a "Send" button a la cell phones.)   

       I don't think backspace is terribly useful without a display showing what you've entered.   

       I'd also recommend that the symbol be the widely-recognized back-arrow (<-), not the exclamation point, which would be confusing.
egnor, Jul 08 2000
  

       I thought about the <- type character myself and was prepared to use it except for a few main points:   

       1) <- is two characters in print, without using alterntative fonts or ASCII codes. ! is universal most places in print, and is only one character.   

       2) <- is english specific, other languages and character sets may not "backspace" so much as "frontspace" to delete, like Japanese. ! is in Japanese.   

       3) As for the confusion factor, perhaps, but I'm taking into consideration those who havent had experience with a computer whatsoever. ! is meant to connotate "darn!, I messed up a digit!".
dnm, Jul 10 2000
  

       If you're going to add an "undo" key to the phone, though, wouldn't it be more useful if it "undid" the last thing you SAID?
supercat, Jul 19 2000
  

       "Yes boss, I said 'go to hell you stupid little wo/man', and you can cram that one with walnuts, sideways..."   

       [!] [!] [!]   

       "Be there in 20 minutes, sir/ma'am"
Detly, Dec 30 2000
  

       I bet it doesn't use the "!" key.   

       (Which is good, because it shouldn't.)
egnor, Dec 30 2000
  

       Totally baked. My Sony 900 digital has a CLEAR/DEL key that erases one digit or several. I have had the phone since 1997
bobzaguy, May 12 2001
  

       I don't like using the ! key because, as I discovered when trying to access this idea, the thin profile of this char makes it rather difficult to hit. For most people, the larger size of the <- combo might actually be better. For me, something on the order of magnitude of "Oh, crap! I screwed up again!"
nick_n_uit, May 13 2001
  

       Would make kind of a crowded key...
StarChaser, May 13 2001
  

       This idea has the honor of being first alphabetically on HB. Thought that needed pointing out.
Blumster, Jun 06 2005
  

       It seems this is baked now, in just about every cellphone nowadays.   

       Congrats, [dnm], your idea has officialy made it to the baked league!
DesertFox, Apr 16 2006
  

       We have a cordless phone which has a backspace button. Dialing is very similar to a cellular phone indeed. But then again, I notice when this was posted.
Letsbuildafort, Apr 16 2006
  

       DesertFox, LBAF et al: The idea of a backspace was baked in cellphones and other batch dialing systems (office phones, maybe even cordless phones) at the time the idea was written. This idea is about phones that dial one digit at a time and therefor need another tone to backspace at the phone exchange.   

       I like the idea, not only for phones that don't batch dial (and are slowly dying out) but for touch-tone dialogues with automated services. If you make one mistake in your credit card number you have to type it all again. If you know that you have just typed a digit wrong, you could press [!] and correct the digit.
st3f, Apr 21 2006
  

       DesertFox, - it's not baked at all. Unless you've simply not read the original idea and are referring to something else entirely.
Ian Tindale, Apr 21 2006
  

       I will confirm that while my fax machine has this capability, my land line handsets still do not, even though, like a cell phone, they do allow you to dial a number before making the call (i.e., without a dial tone).
DrCurry, Apr 21 2006
  

       My phone has backspace, as long as you aren't already connected.
Newo Ikkin, Aug 24 2006
  

       [marked-for-deletion] widely known to exist
kinemojo, Nov 13 2007
  

       I oppose the [mfd] on two grounds: 1) it was not widely known to exist at the time the idea is posted. Reality catching up to ideas is not, IMO, grounds for deletion. 2) It still does not exist on landline-based phones. Some of us luddites still use those.
shapu, Nov 13 2007
  

       I agree. Many ideas here will eventually be realized. The mfd only works if the idea widely existed when this idea was created. If someone posted "Handheld Camera-Phone" in 2000, it wouldn't get mfd'ed now (although it would have been boned a lot back then).
Shadow Phoenix, Nov 14 2007
  

       The fact is that for landline phones this still does not exist. So it is not a question of the when of the idea here, there is no such thing where normal desk and wall phones are concerned.
jhomrighaus, Nov 14 2007
  

       My GF's Vtech phone can be dialed just like a cell, then you hit "talk" or hit talk then dial.   

       In the first instance, you can hit the clr button once to backspace a number.   

       Fact is, it exists, and it's a landline phone.
Giblet, Nov 14 2007
  

       Fact is, you people are 7 years behind the game.
Murdoch, Nov 15 2007
  

       I'm pretty sure this idea only has so many votes because it has been around for 7 years and is still the first idea in the "by name" list.   

       !!! (the band) are good by the way.
theleopard, Nov 15 2007
  

       Sure, it exists for phones that are 'dial first, then send.' However, that doesn't get you around the problems of automated phone routing systems that require that you dial their number first, then enter a long string of numbers, like a credit card number, calling card number, dreaded international calling card numbers, etc. I don't see this as completely baked.
RayfordSteele, Nov 17 2007
  
      
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