'Curved' on-screen thumb keyboard could be coming to Windows Phone 8

A leaked Microsoft Research photograph shows an HTC Trophy running an innovative new curved, thumb-operated keyboard that could make one-handed typing on a smartphone -- especially those with larger screens -- much easier.

A leaked presentation suggests that Microsoft could be preparing to augment the regular two-handed -- or to be more accurate, two-thumbed -- Windows Phone on-screen software keyboard with one designed specifically to be used single-handedly.

Mobile tech site WMPowerUser claims to have access to the leaked Microsoft Research presentation which contains a photograph of the new keyboard in action. The image shows a curved keyboard with the QWERTY layout but with the characters grouped together in such a way as to allow single-handed use. The keyboard uses predictive text technology similar to that found on mobile phones to work out what words the user is typing.

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According to the report, Microsoft may be getting ready to include this keyboard as part of the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system. This information fits in with a leak last year where an unwiped whiteboard seemed to inadvertently reveal that Microsoft was working on a "one handed input and next gen soft keyboard".

In the image above, the curved keyboard is shown running on an HTC Trophy smartphone, which gives us hope that this new smart keyboard will be delivered to legacy Windows Phone 7.x devices as part of the Windows Phone 7.8 update.

The keyboard design certainly seems interesting and looks like it could help make smartphones -- especially those with larger screens -- easier to use one-handed.

Image source: WMPowerUser.