By Alex Cequea on Wed, 03/23/2011
Roaming the isles of the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, I came across Snapkeys, a company trying to reduce the space that on-screen keyboards take up. They have built an entirely new keyboard interphase, called Snapkeys 2i, that categorizes every letter into 4 separate on-screen buttons. Watching Snapkeys in action seems straight out of a sci-fi movie, and makes you wonder how on earth anyone could possibly learn to type like that. Watch the video below to se what I mean:
I started to learn the system through their simple intructional video, and even though it took me about 5 minutes to type "How are you doing?" I can see how someone could learn the system quickly. Snapkeys starts you off with an interphase where you can see the 4 main key buttons. Numbers and symbols are offshoots from those 4 main buttons, and you can type them by dragging your fingers in specific directions (to type a question mark, for example, you have to tap the top-left button, tap anywhere else on the screen and drag upwards). Once you get familiar with the keyboard, you can make the keys invisible or transparent, and type your little heart out.
So how do you get Snapkeys!? Well, Snapkeys isn't available to the average consumer yet. The company is looking to partner with manufacturers to hard-wire their technology into new devices. The question of whether hardwiring this technology or creating an app to achieve the same purpose is up for debate. Still, it's a noble effort towards reducing the on-screen real estate that keyboards usually take up, without having to get an external keyboard.
Can this new interphase catch on, or will manufacturers and consumers find other ways to preserve their precious on-screen real estate? With more and more new tablets flodding the market, more interesting technology is surely on its way.
For more about Snapkeys, check out their site www.snapkeys.com.
And for more from the CTIA Showfloor in Orlando, stay tuned for more updates from me in the next few days!