Revolutionary triangular-key keypad out on Android
Google OS snaps up Crocodile Keyboard
A virtual smartphone keypad with keys shaped like a crocodile's teeth has finally seen the light of day, launching in the Android Marketplace this week.
The Crocodile Keyboard's triangular keys have significantly more 'dead space' around them than you’ll find on a standard rectangular-key Qwerty layout. The result, claimed David Baker, Managing Director of Crocodile Keyboard Ltd, is that users are more likely to press the correct key each time they tap.
The Crocodile Keyboard: more accurate than regular key designs
Although Baker originally hoped to launch the keyboard on the iPhone, he and a team from Brighton University have since adapted the software for use on Android instead.
Baker said that since the iPhone's own virtual keyboard can't be changed, his keyboard could only exist as a separate app on the Apple phone. So no using the Crocodile Keyboard to enter URLs into Safari, for instance.
Baker admitted that some tweaks are still needed to be made to the Android version and - over the next 24 hours - an update will see the keyboard enlarged for portrait mode use.
Flip for numbers
The keyboard will also receive a major update in May, allowing users to rearrange the existing Qwerty key layout and access a variety of shortcuts.
Baker's own research apparently indicates that colour-blind users benefit from viewing the keyboard's keys in one colour and background space in another, so he even plans to add a colour wheel into the 2010 software update.
Users of the Google OS can buy the app now for £2 through Marketplace. ®
The best thing about this keyboard...
The best thing about this keyboard is that it disproves the existence of common sense.
Most of my brain is screaming about wasted space, and about how making keys smaller makes them harder to use, but the logical part understands exactly why it's a better keyboard.
Long live boffins and their counterintuitive revolutionary solutions to everyday problems.
No paid apps available in Irish Android Market
"Users of the Google OS can buy the app now for £2 through Marketplace." No we can't. At least some of us can't. There are no paid apps available in my market. Vodafone IE (my operator) and Google have ignored my questions as to why not/when.
Qwerty is stupid
Qwerty is stupid for one-hand stylus operation, if that's what we're talking about. Wide horizontally, narrow vertically, inefficient. Has "Better Keyboard" done a ripoff of Fitaly, which is what I use on PCs - very efficient once you've learned it - since I have a keyboard disability? You are quite right, it is disgusting that inventors can apply for legal protection to exploit their own creations commercially and not having them swiped by someone else. Luckily, a patent is no more than a licence to sue, and most of these self-styled innovators can't afford to do that when it comes to it. Linux, Windows, and OpenOffice are all free (came with my PC), why should I have to pay for other software that I want to use?
No, that isn't what I really believe.
Other stylus keyboards are available, there's one that fits the alphabet into 3 x 3 squares but a lot of letters have to be directional strokes - too much so for me, whereas I have Fitaly set up with a configuration - which I really should share with other registered users - that has tap for any letter, stroke, shift or capslock for capitals, and strokes in two other directions on the letter and symbol keys that cover nearly every symbol I want, plus writing "firstname.lastname@example.org" for instance with one flick. (The software allows eight directions and multiple distances per key, most of my keys have the compass points split three ways which allows reasonable accuracy at speed.)
Someone at IBM was working on another interesting technique, a novel stylus keyboard layout that you scrawl on join-the-dots style with absolute accuracy not required: it guesses at the word you actually meant to draw. A bit like the T9 phone keyboard where you only press letter keys once each and it guesses. You may have heard Stephen Fry explaining rather proudly that the Younger Generation of his acquaintance has adopted "book" as verbal slang for "cool" because when you T9 "cool" you get "book" as first guess, and you don't have to notice and press the "guess again" button if you just decide that "book" MEANS "cool as in kewl".
Don't be dumb
All Android paid apps have a 24-hour refund window. So you can try it for a day and then refund if you don't like it.
@Fred & @fluffy
@Fred: I'd say it's a different idea with a different goal. Just the fact that both keyboards have triangular keys doesn't mean it's the same they're after. The crocodile keyboard helps hitting virtual keys on a touchscreen, while the Neoi 809 keyboard uses real keys with real feedback, but they were just trying to save space. The difference should become even obvious when you look at the key positioning.
@fluffy: It is NOT just the skin that is important, so just tweaking the skin won't do any good. See my other post...