Fleksy is a new keyboard replacement app for iOS, originally designed for use by the blind or partially sighted, which was created by co-founders Ioannis Verdelis and Kostas Eleftheriou of Syntellia. Kostas, you might recall, previously created a proof-of-concept app called BlindType, also targeting the visually impaired market, which he later sold to Google. Fleksy picks up where BlindType left off. It’s no longer just an idea, but a fully formed product and technology.
The app will eventually be built for all the top mobile platforms – Android, iOS and Windows Phone – but the co-founders wanted to start with an iOS release so people could try out what they’ve developed.
Kostas, who also built a popular iOS app called iSteam, had teamed up with cousin Panos Petropoulos on BlindType, which was also a touchscreen app designed to correct errors as you type, helpful when you missed hitting the correct letters. But according to Fleksy founders, the new app is not related to BlindType – either in terms of IP or reused code. It’s a new concept altogether.
“We have developed this in-house from the ground up,” says Ioannis. “The objective of the two (as well as of other keyboard technologies) is the same – to make typing easier. But we do not know any other technology prior to Fleksy that actually delivers this experience and is downloadable.”
Ioannis was friends with Kostas during college, and previously worked as a management consultant in London. Like Kostas, he was interested in making touch typing work better on phones. “We believe this is very important – being able to enter text is an enabling factor to making mobile devices content creation tools” he says. “In fact, in the tablet market, keyboards are probably the only reason why laptops are still needed.”
Initially, Fleksy was created for the visually impaired, but after showing it around, they realized that there may be a market for Fleksy for sighted people as well. However, on Apple’s mobile platform, you can’t replace your keyboard as you can on Android, so the odds are that most iOS users won’t actually use this unless they really are blind or have poor vision. But it’s an interesting idea.
As for the actual user experience…well, it will take some practice. Its learning curve is a bit tougher than something like Swype, I’d say. Your mileage may vary, of course. Below, a video showing Fleksy in action, which makes it look a lot better and faster than it did in my tests just now.
The team is currently bootstrapping, but is raising additional funds this month.
Fleksy is a free download here in iTunes.