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Fleksy breaks its own Guinness Book of World Records speed record, announces permanent price drop

Posted by wicked November - 19 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off


Back in May of this year, Fleksy set the world record for the fastest texting keyboard. Apparently, they’ve done it again. Today they announced that they broke the texting speed record and will be entered a second time into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The record was accomplished by Marcel Fernandes Filho who is 17 years old. He had the original record of 18.19 seconds (set back in May) and beat it with a new record of 17.00 seconds. They did it on an iPhone 6 Plus but a record is a record. If you want to watch it happen, the video is embedded above.

Fleksy
In addition to their newest achievement, Fleksy has announced a price drop for their Android app. From here on out, it’ll be going for $1.99 instead of the $3.99 or a permanent price drop of 50%.

Those on the fence about Fleksy have a good reason to give it another shot since it’s not only a few bucks. Fleksy has had a lot of momentum this year and its good to see them riding the wave well. For those who are curious, here is the phrase Marcel had to type:

The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.

Congrats Fleksy! If anyone is interested in checking out Fleksy, you can get in the Google Play Store by clicking here.

Fleksy gets funded and is updated, includes new layouts and improved accuracy

Posted by wicked October - 28 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Fleksy best keyboard for Android apps
Fleksy has been the name on everyone’s lips over the last year as they’ve shot up the charts in popularity. This last week, they’ve managed to secure themselves some funding and also released a pretty decently sized update to their keyboard app. The update should be rolling out sometime today.

Here is what is included in the app update.

  • New backspace and shift key layout – This was apparently a highly requested feature that put the shift and backspace keys on the bottom row.
  • Minimal layout language selection – It should be easier to change languages when in the minimal layout. You can now tap and hold on letters and slide to next or previous language buttons to change languages.
  • Improved accuracy and bug fixes – The usual boilerplate performance improvements and bug fixes. The bug fixes include bugs related to swiping, punctuation, and the spacebar.

None of these are amazingly big changes but do add some much needed depth to an already rounded experience. A lot of people who have been waiting for the new backspace and shift key layout will be happy to hear that their prayers have been answered.

The other piece of news is that Fleksy has attained an additional $2 million in venture capital in their latest fundraising campaign. Some of the contributors include Digital Garage, Eniac Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Middleland Capital, and Militello Capital. To learn more about those companies, check out the press release below. For everyone else, the update should be rolling out today and over the next few days.

Show Press Release
Fleksy Raises $2 Million Venture Round to Keep Pace With iOS Breakout! Digital Garage, Eniac Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Middleland Capital, Militello Capital, and others add support for happy typing! ! San Francisco, CA, October 28 2014 – Fleksy, the rising star of the mobile keyboard space, today announced a $2 million venture round with participation from Digital Garage, Eniac Ventures, Middleland Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Militello Capital, and other investment partners.! ! Fleksy fundamentally improves upon native touchscreen text input through powerful autocorrect, gestures, and customization options. Fast and fun, Fleksy is the keyboard of choice for users seeking a more enjoyable input method.! ! Since launching in December 2013, Fleksy has established its position as a favorite among Android users, boasting over 2 million downloads. iOS 8 was an immediate catalyst in accelerating Fleksy’s already rapid growth though, as the keyboard quickly rose to #1 on the iOS paid App Store in 25 countries.! ! Fleksy will use this latest round of financing to continue aggressively improving product offerings on both platforms, building upon already impressive growth.! ! “The rapid adoption of keyboards on iOS 8 shows consumers demand a better typing experience,” said Kosta Eleftheriou, Founder & CEO of Fleksy. “People love typing with Fleksy, and it’s propelled us to a leadership position in the space.”! ! “We firmly believe in the keyboard as a platform since it is such a critical touchpoint for the mobile end-user,” said Vic Singh, Founding General Partner at Eniac Ventures. “Fleksy has built the smartest and fastest keyboard on mobile and they are just getting started on iOS 8. We’re proud to parter with Kosta and Ioannis.”! ! Celebrating the announcement, Fleksy just shipped an Android update introducing improved accuracy and new features, to be followed closely by a new iOS version. The app is also being put on sale for $.99 through Friday.! ! “We have already shipped three significant updates to our iOS product in the last month,” said Ioannis Verdelis, Founder and COO of Fleksy. “We’re updating and improving our keyboard app faster than anyone in the market, and already enjoy the highest ratings of any major player. The funding will enable us to maintain this momentum.” ! ! Fleksy’s keyboard for iOS and Android is available for download at http://fleksy.com.! ! ! About Fleksy! Fleksy is a next generation keyboard that makes typing on any smart device fast and easy, and the #1 paid app in 25 countries on iOS.!
Officially the fastest smartphone keyboard in the world (Guinness World Record, May 2014), Fleksy is already used by millions of people in over 170 countries. It features the world’s most powerful typing technology, an award winning design, and an intuitive user interface.! ! Winner of the CES Award for Design and Engineering, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Award, and a 2014 Golden Stevie Award for Innovation, Fleksy is the world’s most innovative keyboard company. It was the first keyboard to enable blind typing on a smartphone (Access Award by the American Foundation for the Blind), the first keyboard to be deployed on a smartwatch, and the first keyboard to enable typing in a 3D augmented reality platform (Leap Motion).! ! Fleksy is backed by venture capital including Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.! ! To learn more about Fleksy, visit http://www.fleksy.com.! ! Media images are available at: http://fleksy.com/press/.! ! Press enquiries: Ioannis Verdelis press@fleksy.com! ! About Digital Garage! Digital Garage (www.garage.co.jp) is an innovative, cutting edge Japanese tech company. For over 20 years, it has opened new market opportunities by implementing its three core businesses globally: Digital Marketing, Startup Incubation and Internet Payments. It has led the web revolution in Japan through partnerships to help introduce leading companies such as Twitter, Betaworks and Wikia to the Japanese market. Digital Garage also runs Open Network Lab (Onlab), one of the most successful startup incubators in Asia.! ! About Eniac Ventures! Eniac Ventures is the first independent seed stage venture firm investing exclusively in mobile technologies. Eniac Ventures was founded in 2009 on the belief that the greatest technological catalyst of our time is the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices providing constant connectivity to the majority of the world population. Eniac Ventures is named after the world’s first computer developed at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering, where the four general partners met in 1996. Eniac are serial entrepreneurs and operators with over 60 years of combined experience in the mobile software space. Eniac have advised and invested in 150+ mobile software startups.! ! About Middleland Capital! Middleland Capital is a global private investment firm focused on early-stage technology opportunities. Leveraging a unique breadth of geographic and industry experience, the firm seeks long-term partnerships with exceptional management teams to commercialize innovative technologies, accelerate growth and build long-term value around the world.! ! About Highland Capital Partners! Founded in 1988, Highland Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on putting the entrepreneur first. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston and Shanghai, Highland has raised over $3 billion in committed capital and invested in more than 225 companies, resulting in category-defining businesses across consumer and enterprise technology. Investments include 2U, Aereo, Aviate, Ask Jeeves, Bromium, Leap Motion, LevelUp, Lycos, MapQuest, Nebula, QD
Vision, Qihoo 360, Quattro Wireless, Rent the Runway, SmartThings, Starent Networks, Sybase, Violin Memory, VistaPrint and WePay. Highland also serves as a mentor for future entrepreneurs through Summer@Highland, a program that provides students and university- affiliated startups with the environment and resources to take their initiative to the next level. For more information, visit http://www.hcp.com.! ! About Militello Capital! Militello Capital is a Northern Virginia-based private equity investment manager working exclusively with registered investment advisers (RIAs) who aim to broaden their portfolio allocations to include entrepreneurs and real estate. Militello’s investment philosophy and strategy are based on the principle that today’s wealth is created in the real economy. The firm currently offers RIAs two distinct investment strategies that complement their existing portfolios: direct investments in income-producing commercial real estate and emerging technology venture capital.

15 best keyboard for Android apps

Posted by wicked September - 20 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off


The stock keyboard that comes on a device is usually passable, but always seems to leave one wanting something more. The good news is there is a lot of third party keyboard options and some of them are pretty spectacular. Which keyboard is best for you? We don’t know because everyone’s typing needs are different but in this list we’ll explore the best third party keyboard for Android options and hopefully that helps you find one that’s right for you. If you’d rather watch, we have a video above. Do note the list has been updated since the video came out so the most up to date list is below.


Adaptxt Keyboard best Android keyboardsAdaptxt Keyboard

[Price: Free / $0.99]
Adaptxt Keyboard is the last on our list and it’s one of the most unique. It has your standard options like text prediction and emojis so it’s a solid keyboard on its own. Its claim to fame, though, is its theming. You can theme literally every part of this keyboard on your own. So you can change the text color, font, keyboard color (or background if you’d like to use a picture), the trace color, and everything else. It’s an amazing option for people who like to theme. It’s free to try but to get everything you’ll have to pay $0.99 inside the app. For many, it’ll be worth it.
Get it on Google Play


AI Type Keyboard Best Android KeyboardsAI Type Keyboard Plus

[Price: $3.99]
First up on our list is AI Type Keyboard Plus. This is versatile keyboard gives you a lot of options all inside of an eye friendly interface. The various menus in this keyboard app look really well designed, and the keyboard is fairly accurate too. It also tries to compete with SwiftKey in terms of word prediction and it’s fairly accurate. The theming is top notch and it’s worth a shot.
Get it on Google Play


best keyboard for Android appsFleksy Keyboard

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
It was pretty clear upon the release of Fleksy that its sole purpose of existence was to dethrone SwiftKey as the most popular keyboard out there. It has an above average prediction engine that looks at where you hit letters as opposed to the letters themselves which, in theory, is supposed to help figure out what you meant to type. There is also gesture typing, an invisible keyboard feature, and multiple language support. It been included on a recently released Android Wear device and it’s getting more popular every day. It’s free to try so why not?
Get it on Google Play
best keyboard for Android apps


Go Keyboard best Android keyboardsGO Keyboard

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
GO Keyboard suffers from the same stigma as other GO products. Some people absolutely love it and some people absolutely hate it. That said, GO keyboard is a fun option if you like your keyboard to look really busy. There are themes galore along with things like emoji support. The only issue is that it is really busy almost to the point of being cartoony. It is free, though, and that’s always a big plus.
Get it on Google Play
GO Keyboard best Android keyboards


Google Keyboard best Android keyboardsGoogle Keyboard

[Price: Free]
Of course we give the obligatory nod to the official Google Keyboard. This is the keyboard you’ll find on Nexus devices and, technically, qualifies as the stock keyboard. Even so, it has a lot of nice features like gesture typing, sentence gesture typing, and emoji support. It’s free and it’s pretty basic but if that’s all you need, this is all you’ll need.
Get it on Google Play
Google Keyboard best Android keyboards


Hacker's Keyboard best Android keyboardsHacker’s Keyboard

[Price: Free]
Next on our list is Hacker’s Keyboard. This keyboard app has been around for quite some time and has been consistently popular among its somewhat small, but loyal fanbase. One of the really cool features with this app is that it has the ability to set up a keyboard like you could find on any Windows computer which includes things like the function keys, alt, tab, ctrl, etc. You can resize the keyboard to four rows to make it look like your standard Android keyboard or you can set it independently based on rotation. So if you’re looking for a decent keyboard for portrait mode and a full-sized keyboard for landscape mode, Hacker’s Keyboard will do the job.
Get it on Google Play
Hacker's Keyboard best Android keyboards


keymonk keyboardKeymonk Keyboard

[Price: Free / $3.99]
We intentionally didn’t include Keymonk before because the developer stopped supporting it sometime ago. However, after learning that a lot of people still use the keyboard –including our very own Josh Vergara– we decided to include it here. Keymonk is unique because it is the only keyboard that allows you to swipe with multiple fingers. Unlike Swype and Swiftkey, with Keymonk you can swipe words using two thumbs instead of one which ostensibly allows you to swipe out words even faster and with more comfort. Like many unique twists on the keyboard, it does take some getting used to but once you do, it’s an unusually speedy way to enter text.
Get it on Google Play


Kii Keyboard best Android keyboardsKii Keyboard

[Price: Free]
Kii Keyboard may not be the most unique keyboard on this list, but it’s still a very solid keyboard. It has the standard features like text prediction, emoji support, some theme elements, and gesture input. It also includes things like multiple keyboard layouts and 80 languages. At first glance it seems like just another keyboard but it is anything but that. If you’re looking for a solid option, look no further.
Get it on Google Play


best keyboard for Android appsMultiling Keyboard

[Price: Free]
Multiling keyboard is one of those apps that has always drifted right on the cusp of mainstream attention. It’s good enough to be included on this list but hasn’t managed to gain the attention of people like Swype or SwiftKey has. Multiling has a myriad of features including more than 130 languages supported, floating keyboard functionality, theming, a built in calculator, multiple layouts, and gesture typing. There is a new beta out right now that’s free and seems to be better received than its predecessor so that’s the one that we linked but you can always find the original done by the same developer.
Get it on Google Play


10 best keyboard for Android appsMinuum Keyboard

[Price: Free / $3.99]
Minuum is a newer keyboard that takes a different spin to typing. Instead of the traditional QWERTY keyboard, Minuum relies on a proprietary keyboard set up that, after you get used to it, can meet or exceed your current typing speed on the traditional layout. Its claim to fame is the ability to take up less than half of the screen real estate of regular keyboards and allow for a more sloppy typing style. It’s unique and if you’re not sure you want to drop the $3.99 on the full version, you can always give the free demo a try to see if it’s for you.
Get it on Google Play
10 best keyboard for Android apps


best keyboard for Android appsSlideIT Keyboard

[Price: Free / $3.99]
SlideIT is another keyboard app that is very well and can compete with keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey in terms of popularity. It’s been a Google Play Editor’s Choice app and currently sits with over six million downloads. SlideIT has the standard features for keyboards these days, including theming and gesture typing. One of its more unique features is the ability to half type, half-gesture words. So if you’re typing “enjoyable” you can type “enjoy” then gesture type “able” and it’ll know you mean the same word. The predictive text isn’t half bad either.
Get it on Google Play


Smart Keyboard PRO best Android keyboardsSmart Keyboard PRO

[Price: $2.75]
Smart Keyboard PRO has been competitor in the keyboard market for a very long time now. While it may not look like much at first, it has improved leaps and bounds compared to earlier versions of the keyboard in terms of functionality. However, one of its hallmark themes is still the Gingerbread >keyboard, which may put some people off. It can be themed although the process is a little difficult. It’s a solid keyboard and worth looking at.
Get it on Google Play


Swiftkey best Android keyboardsSwiftKey Keyboard

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Predictive text functionality in SwiftKey is considered some of the best in its niche. It’s also considered one of the best trace keyboards, and there’s even a few small things included that make SwiftKey a great all-in-one keyboard experience, such as stats on how efficient you are when typing and a truck load of theme options. Simply put, SwiftKey is one of the best keyboards you could ever use on your Android device. There are also tablet keyboard options and an option to move the keyboard to one side for use on larger phones.
Get it on Google Play


Swype best Android keyboardsSwype

[Price: $0.99]
You’re probably already familiar with Swype, as OEMs included it as a stock app on smartphones for years. The long-time champion of third-party keyboards is also now available in the Google Play Store for those that may not have it yet. It features wickedly accurate gesture typing and a very clean, smooth interface. This is one of the few keyboards that people prefer to Swiftkey on a regular basis and you can try it before you buy it.
Get it on Google Play


TouchPal X Keyboard best Android keyboardsTouchPal X Keyboard

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
TouchPal X Keyboard has been around for a while but only over the last year or so has it begun to distinguish itself from the pack. In recent updates, there is now sentence gesture typing, better emoji support and access, and support for 70 languages. Add to that the existing theme options and features and you have a really solid keyboard that’s worth checking out.
Get it on Google Play


Final thoughts

If we missed a great keyboard for Android and you think we should’ve mentioned it, leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Undock, resize, or split your keyboard with Swiftkey 4.3 beta

Posted by wicked October - 17 - 2013 - Thursday Comments Off

swiftkey beta (4)

Swiftkey, the uber popular keyboard replacement app, today received a consistent update to version 4.3 beta that unifies the phone and tablet versions into one flexible app.

The main new feature of the unified app is the ability to resize, move, and even split the keyboard layout to suit your device and typing preferences.

The new app features three modes, poetically called Layouts for Living:

  • If you need to type fast in landscape mode, you can use the Thumb mode, which splits the keys into two groups that you can use with just your thumbs.
  • For fans of more traditional layouts, there’s the Compact mode, which is a narrow layout designed for one-thumb typing on large phones or on tablets.
  • The Full mode offers left-right cursor keys for moving through text, as well as a large backspace key located on the top key row, mimicking the experience of typing on a physical keyboard.

Besides the three modes, Swiftkey 4.3 beta brings the ability to resize and move the keyboard anywhere on the screen. With the newfound flexibility conferred by Layouts for Living, there’s no point in having two distinct versions of Swiftkey, which is great news if you own multiple devices. Swiftkey’s recently launched Cloud feature should also come in handy in this case, offering back up and synchronization of customizations and settings across devices.

If you’re interested in the new Swiftkey 4.3 beta, you can get it from Swiftkey’s website as an .apk file.

With ‘Layouts for Living’, SwiftKey Liberates Your Android Typing Experience

New custom keyboard layouts adapt to any situation

San Francisco, CA, October 17, 2013 – SwiftKey, the leading Android keyboard app, today announced public beta access to its latest version, dubbed ‘Layouts for Living’. The SwiftKey 4.3 update provides users with new keyboard layouts that can be resized and moved anywhere on a device, empowering people to type however they want to, regardless of screen size.

Through extensive user experience (UX) testing and feedback, SwiftKey recognized that an increasing lack of distinction between the phone and tablet form factor means users are demanding more flexibility when they type. For example, commuters in cramped trains may want to type one-handed with their left thumb, while a professional writing a document on a tablet may want to type with both thumbs. SwiftKey’s latest update aims to adapt to everyday situations such as these as well as any number of others – it’s up to each user. With Layouts for Living, SwiftKey liberates users with a huge variety of layouts.

“Allowing people to manipulate the location, size and layout of the keyboard not only makes it easier to type – it gives our users a more personalized way to interact with their technology and each other,” said co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock. “We are committed to creating world-class user experiences that marry our powerful language technology with interfaces that learn and adapt to each user’s needs.”

In addition to being able to size and place the keyboard anywhere on the device,version 4.3 of SwiftKey also includes three preset keyboard modes:

Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.
Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.
Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

Consistent Experience
As devices of varying sizes continue to enter the market and the line between tablets and phones blur, a consistent SwiftKey experience is an ongoing priority for our fans. Listening to fan feedback, SwiftKey has merged the phone and tablet apps to eliminate guesswork as to which version of the app a user should purchase.

With SwiftKey Layouts for Living, current and future customers can use one unified SwiftKey app across all Android devices. Leveraging SwiftKey Cloud, which was introduced in SwiftKey 4.2, the app also creates a cloud-based hub for each user’s personal language profile to be shared with any phone or device. SwiftKey Layouts for Living offers a beautiful user experience for all users, across all of their devices no matter the screen size.

The SwiftKey Layouts for Living beta is available to the public now and can be downloaded at http://beta.swiftkey.net. 

Shape changing plastics could shape future device interaction

Posted by wicked April - 10 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off

haptic-touchscreen-640x353

What if your phone could change its texture? What if your screen could create physical buttons, or provide pinpoint haptic feedback? There is technology that could deliver that for us. It’s probably a long way off, but the concept is amazing.

If you have ever had a phone with a physical, QWERTY keyboard… you probably understand how great those are. It took away from the screen size, but at the time those were popular… we had no use for a larger screen. Now that we have Smartphones, with games and such, we can’t get enough of the larger screens. Yet, now and then, we all wish those physical keyboards could somehow be worked into our slim, sleek devices.

Perhaps, with this new technology, we can. What’s being called ‘shape changing plastic’ has the ability to manipulate itself on a very small scale. The technology, which utilizes electrostriction, basically applies an electrical field to your touchscreen. In doing so, the material the screen is made of reacts to the charge, and the varied charge can create texture.

The actual material of the screen is different, of course. It is a polymer which can be manipulated by “as much as 10%”. The only information on it is that it is a “high-strain electromechanical material”, and will re-form itself quickly after manipulation. This has usually been a compromise; we either got material that could be manipulated, but reformed slowly… or had limited formation properties, while keeping its shape well.

Tons of cool things are possible with this technology. Take, for instance, gaming. If, while playing a game, the actual physical interaction of your device could change… it would add a layer of enjoyment we’ve not yet imagined. Skateboarding over rough cement, or walking through mud… even flying into a headwind. All that could be realized in much better detail than our current method of altered game physics. We’d actually feel what we’re doing, not just experience it.

Accessibility

Shape changing plastic has a much deeper impact than many of us may realize, also. Think of those who need a little assistance functioning in society, under the parameters it has set forth. Some of us get by with a little help from our friends, or in this case… devices.

How many signs do you see in braille? Not many, I’m sure. A pinpoint haptic feedback screen could be manipulated into braille, adding a layer of functionality to society for our blind citizens. While audible feedback is handy, braille on a touchscreen could make things much more discoverable for them. As our tech world becomes more ingrained with our physical one, simple tasks we may take for granted, like stopping outside a restaurant to read a menu, could become available for a greater number of people. The GPS would know your position, and offer to give you the restaurant info and menu.

finger-touching-touchscreen-layers

Conclusion

Things that make life better also have the ability to make it simpler. Even though this technology is still in its infancy, it is absolutely one we should keep an eye on. Passive polymer such as this has the ability to do much more than enhance touch, as the video below demonstrates. The audio quality produced isn’t fantastic, but it’s a good start.

Will we ever see something as cool as a 3D model, popping from our mobile device screen? That’s hard to say. To be fair, we didn’t think a device screen could manipulate itself. There was also a time we didn’t think tilting a device could result in action, or viewing a web page could be done in a mobile environment. The future is an exciting place, and we’re all going.

Tactus demos morphing touchscreen technology [video]

Posted by wicked January - 11 - 2013 - Friday Comments Off

tactus tablet

Tactus Technology has been showing off more of its morphing touchscreen technology at CES 2013. This time the company brought along a 7-inch Android based tablet, showing how a physical keyboard can be made to appear on the screen to aid users typing. But as we can’t all be there to get our hands on the device, Tactus has also released a new video to show off its interesting technology.

We had our first look at the Tactus Morphing Tactile display in another video last June, which walked us through the ideas behind the morphing touchscreen. The new video shows us what we can expect to see when using the morphing display in real world scenarios.

Watching the keys rise out of the screen is pretty damn cool, it seems like something out of a science fiction film, but it has practical merits too. The raised key positions should help solve the occasional problem of miss-clicking when typing, as well as making it feel more familiar to using a traditional keyboard.

If you’re interested in how this technology works, you should know that the morphing touchscreen contains tiny pockets of fluid under the screen. These pockets can be inflated by increasing the pressure of the fluid. As the pressure increases, the fluid pushes up against the screen, causing it to rise in pre-designated places.

As well as keyboards and phone dialling buttons, the Tactus display could also be used to add gamepad controls to tablets. The developers are trying to work on a way to create a more flexible touchscreen, which would allow different applications to morph the screen according to their own needs.

Tactus hasn’t commented on which future devices we will see utilizing the morphing touchscreen display, but the company is expecting mass production to begin at the end of 2013 or at the start of 2014. Would you be interested in owning a phone or tablet with a morphing display?

Related Posts

Nokia poll says QWERTY keyboards still rule

Posted by wicked August - 11 - 2012 - Saturday Comments Off

Nokia has run an online poll on their official blog, asking people whether they prefer a QWERTY keyboard, a touchscreen, a number keypad, or voice control as their favorite way of controlling their device. The data may seem surprising at first, considering how many of us today cannot imagine using anything but a touchscreen as our preferred input method. But when you realize where this is coming from, it’s not so surprising anymore. It is, in fact, expected.

Nokia’s data shows that the majority of users prefer QWERTY keyboards —  almost half of the online respondents on their site, at 48.64%. The touchscreen-loving people make up a pretty distant 34.69%, while  number keypad and voice control get 8.91% and 7.75%, respectively.

Let’s take this with a grain of salt. I think this data may not be very relevant for either today’s markets nor future smarphone users. Look where the data is coming from: Nokia’s official blog. It’s a company that, so far, has not yet mastered the touchscreen phone. Nokia still sells a lot of phones with either a QWERTY keyboard (they used to have some really popular devices with it) and the number keypad.

It’s quite expected that Nokia fans and users — the vast majority of them who aren’t used to Nokia selling and promoting touchscreen phones — would say they prefer QWERTY over touchscreens, because that’s all they know coming from Nokia. It’s almost like RIM doing a poll right now for their users and asking them if they prefer using a keyboard or a touchscreen. I think we all know what the majority of them would say.

There is an inherent problem with doing polls like these for your own customers (and make no mistake, both Nokia and RIM have been asking their users questions like these for years). When the rules of the market change, and “something else” is the future of the market, the vast majority of your users, if asked, would still say they prefer the old way of doing things. At least this is the case in the first few years after the rules start changing.

It’s human nature to dislike change, and in the beginning, only the “early adopters” get on board.

This is why both Nokia and RIM have been blind for years about the fact that neither Symbian nor the BlackBerry OS were good enough for the new age of the touchscreens. Most of their customers are still telling them that they want to keep doing things the same way, and to change nothing. But look where that has gotten both Nokia and RIM. They’re almost to the point of bankruptcy. That’s because sooner or later, the new way of doing things will start chipping away at the old way of doing things, and people move on.

So are there people out there that still prefer QWERTY keyboards? Definitely. Does Nokia’s poll represent the whole market currently, or more importantly the future of the market? Definitely not.

The future of phones is in touchscreens, and that should’ve been obvious to all phone manufacturers from the day the iPhone came out. Android entering the scene only accelerated this trend greatly. Plus, as time goes by — and as virtual keyboards become better and better — more QWERTY keyboard lovers will start switching to touchscreen phones. It’s inevitable.

Image credit: QWERTY keyboard / Shutterstock


This article, Nokia poll says QWERTY keyboards still rule , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com – Your Android News Source.



[Exciting new tech] Tactus unveils the dynamic touchscreen

Posted by wicked June - 11 - 2012 - Monday Comments Off

tactus keyboard
Ever since the touchscreen revolution, smartphone users who often send messages and emails have found that the lack of a physical keyboard makes fast and accurate typing much of a hassle.

Obviously, those users were much inclined to use BlackBerry smartphones for their typing mania, although there are several notable Android smartphone who featured a full QWERTY physical keyboard as well (the Motorola Droid series is the best example I can think of at the moment).

The problem encountered by most users when using touchscreen keyboards is that such keyboards lack tactile feedback: visual differentiators do exist, but your fingers can’t tell if they’re above one key, the other, or somewhere in the middle. Fortunately, we might be only a couple of years away from the definitive solution to this problem, as Tactus Technology has recently announced that they are working on a touchscreen prototype with shape shifting physical keys. I know, way cool, right?

I’m not a psychic, but I’m willing to bet that the question on everyone’s lips right about now is “how does it work?”. No, it’s not magic, nor is it alien technology. Instead, Tactus are using a technology called “microfluidics” to circulate and trap a transparent liquid inside predefined channels. The liquid will create a uniform bump in the deformable membrane it is contained in, and voila, you’ve got yourself a transparent physical keyboard. When you want to dismiss the keyboard, the fluid retracts and the membrane is lowered. The “raising” and “lowering” of the fluid will supposedly only take a few seconds.

The biggest current limitation is the fact that the keys can be formed only in the predefined channels that the manufacturer has set up (say, a QWERTY keyboard), but Tactus engineers are working on a way to make these patterns more flexible so that each app can create its own physical buttons.

In addition, another drawback is the fact that (at the current state of the technology) the channels are still visible even when the keys are down. Some believe that the fluid layer and the flexible membrane might damage the overall display quality, but please bear in mind that this tech is still in its pre-beta (aka alpha) phase and, as with all revolutionary tech, time will iron out the disadvantages it faces in the concept stage.

All worries about extensive power consumption should be dismissed, as Craig Ciesla, CEO and co-founder of Tactus Technology has announced that no more than 2 percent of the battery will be drained in a full day’s use.

Here’s an official video showcasing this exciting new tech:


Drawbacks aside, this technology will surely change the way we control smartphones and tablets, just give it a couple of years. Expected to hit the market by the end of 2013, this tech will not only change the way we type on our smartphones, but also the smartphone/tablet gaming sector, as the microfluid can be programmed to raise in the form of an analog button pad. However, there is still a long way to go before the fluid system will be able to measure variations in pressure.

Although Tactus’s microfluid system still has to overcome many of the obstacles it faces on the road towards mass-adoption, I wouldn’t be surprised if major Android device manufacturers (think HTC, Samsung, LG) will adopt this tech in one form or the other by the end of next year.

What do you guys think? Is this exactly the tech that physical QWERTY keyboard fans need to finally make the jump to touchscreen-only devices? Let us know in the comment section below!


This article, [Exciting new tech] Tactus unveils the dynamic touchscreen , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com – Your Android News Source.