Touch typing on a virtual keyboard at CES

Touch typing on a virtual keyboard at CES

Summary: Apple has not allowed 3rd party keyboards on iOS - until now. The Fleksy keyboard takes error correction to a whole new level. Here's how.

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If, like me, you never got the hang of typing on an iPad or iPhone, help is on the way. The Fleksy keyboard is designed for touch typists who do not have a physical keyboard.

The program is unique in two ways. It is the first alternate keyboard Apple has allowed on the iOS platform. And it takes an entirely different approach to keystroke recognition.

Instead of looking at what keys you touched, Fleksy looks at the pattern of your touches and tries to match them to a word. You might type "xdkdzs" which the program will interpret as "storage".

Brilliant.

To watching someone type on an iPhone keyboard without looking is magical. A seemingly random set of letters is converted into plain English before your eyes.

You can download Fleksy from the Apple store today. But be aware that it only works inside the program – you cannot use the keyboard in other programs. The developer is offering an SDK to enable other programs to access the Fleksy keyboard.

Fleksy is also available on Android and Smartwatch.

The Storage Bits take
I love writing on my iPhone, but long ago abandoned the keyboard for dictation. But dictating well-written English is quite a bit different than speaking. My learning curve has been steep.

I downloaded the Fleksy keyboard and tried it for a few minutes on my iPhone. I never learned how to type with my thumbs so it wasn't much help.

But my iPad, with a larger keypad area, is a better fit. There are times when dictation is not appropriate. I hope Simplenote, my preferred iOS writing app, will support it soon.

Comments welcome, of course. Part of a series on cool tech at this year's CES.

Topics: iOS, Android, Software, Storage

About

Robin Harris has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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3 comments
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  • I hope this paves the way for Swiftkey on iOS!

    Because iOS users are "really" missing out not being allowed third party keyboards. Swiftkey is exceptional, which incidentally works in a similar way.

    If you can't use this in SMS, Whatsapp etc... it's pretty useless, on iOS at least anyway.
    bradavon
  • Deja Vu

    Looks a little bit like the BlackBerry 10 keyboard minus the frets, and that's good thing! Smooth look. Wouldn't mind trying it if I had an iPhone, but the z does it for me.
    Georgefly97
  • I tried it

    It's cool looking, but SwiftKey still beats it. I use a combination of typing and flow for maximum efficiency. It's easier to use the suggestions. So I've had an Ipad for a while and I realized that every app must static link A keyboard rather than at the system level. That explains why apple doesn't have alternate keyboards. I wondered why the keyboard appearance varies in different apps.
    deathjazz