Fleksy, the keyboard app that doesn’t even require you to look at the screen or hit any actual keys to type, is busy at SXSW this week. The startup is showing off its software working with the Leap Motion Controller to provide gesture-based typing input that works just like its iPhone and Android app, but for typing in mid-air. The company is also debuting its iOS SDK this week, which will allow third-party apps on Apple’s mobile OS to take advantage of the unique software keyboard.
The Fleksy/Leap Motion Controller demo is definitely impressive, and it’s likely one of the first apps many will try out when they receive the Leap when it ships in May, but the iOS SDK might be more immediately useful to developers and consumers looking for accessibility advantages over the default keyboard included by Apple for all developers to use.
Fleksy co-founder Ioannis Verdelis explained via email that the popularity of the iOS application has exceeded the company’s expectations, especially since, unlike on Android, the iOS version of the keyboard can’t be used to replace the default system input method. He says they’ve had “hundreds of thousands of downloads” of the app, and the company wants to address reviews that suggest users really want it to be available to other applications.
Waiting for Apple to relax its iOS system rules is likely about as effective a strategy as repeatedly banging your head against a wall, so instead Fleksy is introducing the SDK. It offers developers to use Fleky’s signature foolproof typing engine, as well as customization options around theme, layout and more. Devs can even use the “invisible” Fleksy keyboard if they want to get all the chrome out of the way while still allowing for text entry. Interested developers can email Fleksy direct for more info.
First among the SDK’s users is Launch Center Pro, the celebrated launcher app for iOS. The ease of entry will hopefully allow Launch Center Pro to enhance its efficiency even further for users, Fleksy believes. For other devs, it could work as a way to set similar apps apart from the competition in an increasingly competitive market.
Fleksy is doing great things for input, but it still works best as a system-level integration. For that to happen on iOS, nothing short of an acquisition will do. But it has been quite a while since we’ve seen major improvements to the iOS built-in keyboard, so maybe that could actually happen.