Typing has evolved from a typewriter to the keypads to touchscreens over the past decades. Typing on a cell phone often becomes hectic, especially if you have to use both hands to type on a touch pad when you need to multitask in order to complete two things at a time. This is a time when people miss their old cell phones that used to be small and people knew where all the keys at, so they could touch type by pressing buttons without even bothering to look at the screen for what they are typing. People were so used to these cell phones that typing without looking at the screen was a highly regarded skill and sometimes regarded to a person who texts too much.
However, times have changed since then and now touch phones have taken the place of buttons, so people usually have to look at the screen in order to know what they are actually punching in. Moreover, the size of the cell phones has also increased, which makes some keys unreachable for your thumb, so even if you try to touch type using one hand, you cannot do it because of the size of the touch screen.
Almost a year ago, there were rumours about Microsoft designing a one handed and next gen soft keyboard for its Windows Phone 8. However, those were just rumours because now we have the picture of this next gen one hand soft keyboard for you. Courtesy of a leaked Microsoft Research presentation that made this picture available for people who were looking forward to this keyboard.
As you can see in the picture, the keyboard is designed especially for one hand use. However, this keyboard is designed to make the one hand or should I say one thumb typing easier than before. With this keyboard, you can thumb type without having to look. It also features a number of keys clustered together which helps in leveraging disambiguation to decide which word the user is in fact typing or have typed on the keyboard. Although, this change will be (if it happens), Microsoft’s most radical change to the Western SIP, because it is a reminiscent of the curved keyboard which can be found in the old Microsoft UMPCs. However, all in all, it is a great effort and a great way to enhance the user experience by making it easier to type with just one thumb, without having to look at the keyboard.
On the other hand, Apollo will also be bringing extended national Soft Keyboards, which will also be adding a new Korean design to its list of keyboards as well. As we all have seen the demoed on an HTC Trophy, it is mostly enough to give hope to users in ensuring that this keyboard is has a high possibility of being a part of the Windows Phone 8. As for now, we all have to patiently wait and pass our time using both thumbs on our cell phones as we type text messages and write emails.