Apple is now accepting keyboards that go beyond just offering different ways to type text – it appears to have opened the doors for graphical keyboards, too. Riffsy already showed us an animated GIF keyboard that makes it easy to communicate via reaction GIFs, but PopKey is another startup that came up with the same idea at the same time, and their offering is now available, too. And it’s better.
PopKey does things slightly differently than Riffsy. First, it has a better design overall. Second, the company wanted to focus on delivering a few key features solidly first, so it’s a bit less buggy and unpredictable than Riffsy’s offering. Third, it formats all the animated GIFs it sends in the same aspect ratio and display size, meaning your conversations look nice and clean even with animated craziness going on all over the place.
While PopKey’s interface, design and execution are generally a step above what’s offered by the competition, there are still issues I have with the software as well. Both PopKey and Riffsy allow you to upload your own GIFs, which is good, but only Riffsy offers a search feature. The other side of that coin is that the search feature on Riffsy’s app is terrible, and loads agonizingly slow for most queries. PopKey’s Adrian Salamunovic says that they’re working on search but wanted to execute perfectly on the features they did include first. The other thing I’m not crazy about is PopKey’s decision to watermark all the GIFs available through its service, but this was done to encourage viral uptake, which is understandable given that the app is free.
It’s still a far superior software keyboard to Riffsy when it comes to user experience, with far fewer errors and loading issues. The lack of search is a bit annoying for now, but PopKey’s advantages when it comes to organizing their catalogue and upload functions more than make up for it. The app is currently free, but the company plans to potentially offer in-app purchase GIF packs and branded content down the line.