SnapKeys, an ‘invisible’ touchscreen keyboard maker, has updated its Si Revolution Android keyboard app, adding the ability to position the keys anywhere on the screen. The size of the keyboard can also be customised, to better fit individual typing styles. Being able to move and squeeze the four letter keyboard allows it to accommodate one-fingered typing, for instance.
SnapKeys’ software works on Android devices, and is designed to do away with the age-old QWERTY layout by grouping letters into four islands to free up the screen to show off more content. Its Si Revolution keyboard lets users tap anywhere on each of the four keys to form words — rather than having to tap on specific letters. Its word-prediction tech does then does the rest.
Since so few precise taps are required, the keyboard can also disappear entirely — with the user needing only to tap a basic general position on the screen to spell words. Hence SnapKeys’ ‘invisible keyboard’ claim (you can still use the keyboard with the four islands visible, if you prefer). While it’s attempting to reorder the QWERTY world, SnapKeys has opted for an alphabetic letter layout to offer up enough familiarity to encourage users to get over the inevitable learning hump.
QWERTY may not be the best way to type but it has stuck around for a long time for a reason, thanks to habit, muscle memory and people’s unwillingless to have to slow down while they relearn a skill they have mastered already. Which explains why many alternative keyboard makers choose to keep QWERTY and tweak the input mechanism instead, such as finger-dragging method Swype — or recent tablet-targeting entrant Dryft, which moves the keys to fit your natural QWERTY typing position.
SnapKeys has previously said it’s had between 50,000 and 100,000 downloads of its keyboard app, during an earlier beta phase but it’s unclear how many active users it has. And the traditional QWERTY keyboard layout has remained remarkably tenacious. Still, it’s relatively early days for SnapKeys which only launched the Si Revolution keyboard in July (although it started beta-testing another version of the keyboard, called Si Evolution, in December 2012).
Other new features in SnapKeys update include the ability to personalise your SnapKeys dictionary by incorporating content from Facebook, Gmail and other contacts books, plus various new gesture shortcuts for managing predicted words including the ability to slide to the right/left on the word list to get more/previous words; slide up on the word list to erase a word; slide down on a word to get more similar words.
The new version of Si Revolution can be downloaded from Google Play here.