The Keyboard Without Keys
Jerusalem-based Snapkeys makes a smartphone app that lets you easily type without using a keyboard, with the text input far more easy than the usual “soft” keyboard you get with your touch cellphone.
The Snapkeys system, called 2i, has four keys, with the letters of the common QWERTY keyboard seemingly jumbled up in a random manner. It’s not random, though; the keys are placed in a manner that makes it easy to remember their position, which you get used to after a couple of hours of use (but that’s it; once you know it, you know it). You use your thumbs to navigate, so instead of picking at each letter one at a time, you can “speed type,” increasing your typing productivity.
The Snapkeys folks know that the system takes a little getting used to, so they have an incentive; a contest you can enter to win big prizes – if you’re adept at using your thumbs to type (for a generation raised on games like Angry Birds, it should be a cinch!). The winner will be invited to an international event, all expenses paid, to perform live. The current record for the contest (which consists of typing a sentence of about 30 words) is about 25 seconds.
The “Qwerty” keyboard – the one we learned to type on in high school – has been universally popular since 1878, says the company, but with newer information mediums becoming the norm throughout the world, the “Qwerty” keyboard has become cumbersome. Others have tried to improve the Qwerty, “but Snapkeys’ 2i technology has more than a decade of R&D behind it, allowing for mobile technology to reach a new level of use through their invisible interface.
“In adopting powerful smartphones, users have had to settle with using a tiny keyboard on a little screen only to compromise comfort for the sake of mobility,” the company says. “Why compromise on our comfort levels? Can’t we have it all?” The answer, says Snapkeys, is a resounding “yes!”