Microsoft has briefly shown off the features and design of the new Windows 8 touchscreen keyboard. The company detailed the working of the keyboard in an official blog post. The post shows how Microsoft developed the keyboard and how it would help the common user. MS has taken into account, three most common postures of using a tablet – rested on a plain surface, holding with one hand, holding with both the hands. So to make typing easier, Microsoft has brought forth several new features to the onscreen keyboard.
We all know that Surface tablets come with the external Touch or Type keyboards, but MS has done a fair bit of homework with the onscreen keyboard too. In addition to a regular keyboard layout, the new Windows 8 OS introduces the Thumb keyboard. This is similar to the one that came with iOS 5 for the iPad (Split Keyboard), but is more attractive, functional and customizable. Users can resize the layout according to the reach of their thumb, which is an excellent feature. The keyboard also has a separate numeric keypad in the middle to add numbers and what have you. This particular keyboard layout is beneficial for speedy thumb typing.
The keyboard resembles the one on the Windows Phone platform and rightly so, as this is an evolution of the existing Windows keyboard. Autocorrect features are in place accordingly as you would expect from any new keyboard. So what Microsoft has done here is taken the mobile version of Windows to a whole new level with the addition of several shortcuts and some neat tweaks. There are an array of symbols, Emoji and other neat features which have been detailed in a video by Kip Knox who is the Program Manager on the Windows Team. In addition to English, there are over 100 other languages from world over so Microsoft has covered all of its bases. Microsoft has done extensive research on this and made the keyboard as smart as possible, as is evident from the lengthy post on its blog.
MS also showed some early builds of the keyboards which were later removed with concerns regarding quick and accurate typing. Notable examples are the exclusion of the Tab and Downshift key from earlier versions of the OS. Rest of the features of the keyboard is pretty standard across all the other mobile platforms, so there’s nothing special in that area. It is commendable how Microsoft has vastly improved one of the core features of its new PC/Tablet OS and we can probably get to see some more changes in the coming days.