The problem with traditional touchscreen keyboards is that they take up too much of your screen, obscuring content. SnapKeys has a solution. This innovative company devised an “imaginary interface” called 2i that enables users to type blindly on smart phones and tablets. Sounds promising, but how well does it work?
As you’ll see in the video demo below on an iPad, different areas of the display house groups of letters, based on the shapes of those letters. For example, the left side of the screen has one button for all letters that have one point underneath them (like T and Y) and another for all circular shaped letters (like R and O). The right side of the display houses two more buttons, one for letters with two points (like W and K) and one for letters that have a straight line or curved line (U, L, etc). There’s also large back and space keys on the outside edges of the display, and that’s it.
Check out the video below to see SnapKeys in action.
The SnapKeys software takes care of the rest by creating words from your input, and it’s easy to make corrections by swiping a key into place from the appropriate button. In practice, we found that SnapKeys had a learning curve. The company says all you need to know is the alphabet to get started, but it’s more complicated than that. You have to think about the shape of the key you’re typing while you’re pecking away, which is typically a mindless exercise. However, once you get the hang of it SnapKeys should be able to let users enter text quickly, possibly without even looking down.
While we wish SnapKeys was available as a download, the company is instead concentrating on signing up carriers and device makers to have its technology directly integrated. We say put SnapKeys in the Android Market, which will not only help spread the word but help us get more practice.