Touchscreen QWERTY keyboards for tablets and phones all have thesame insurmountable problem: To type on them, you must look down atthe keys to see what you’re doing. For users who can touchtype on physical keyboards, the need to look down is a major speedbump. A company called Snapkeys aims to solve that problem with the “2i,” atouchscreen keyboard with a so-called “invisibleinterface.” ( MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012 ) Instead of using a traditional QWERTY layout, Snapkeys 2i groupsthe keys into four buttons that float near the bottom corners of the phone or tablet. Thekeyboard uses predictive text to figure out which wordsyou’re trying to type, even though you’re only pressingfour buttons. Yes, it’s a wacky concept. E Light IPL Hair Removal
But after trying it briefly at the CTIA Wireless trade show this week, I think it could actually work. Snapkeys expects 2i users to remember the keys in each group, sothey don’t have to look at where their fingers land. Thatsounds crazy until you realize the same logic applies to physicalkeyboards. Typing on a laptop only becomes effortless onceyou’ve memorized where everything is. China Laser Tattoo Removal Machine
With 2i, users can hidethe key groups once they’re familiar with the layout, andthen press in the general area of the invisible buttons to entereach letter. I can see how Snapkeys 2i could become effortless over time, but itdoes have some unique stumbling blocks: To enter a particularletter, you must swipe a thumb across the button in the directionof that letter, so typing proper nouns or other unrecognized wordscan take a while. You must also make swiping motions to enternumbers and special characters. In those cases, it’d beeasier to have a traditional keyboard. But if you do master the keyboard, you can apparently type at animpressive clip. China Multifunction Beauty Equipment
In one of Snapkeys’ official videos , the typist beats the Guinness World Record for fastest textmessage, typing out the official phrase in 24.94 seconds. (A U.K.woman typed the same message using the Swype keyboard in just under 26 seconds in 2010.) Snapkeys’ Alexandra Rabinovich told me that the company wantsphone makers and wireless carriers to pre-install 2i on theirphones, though I can’t imagine it becoming a primary keyboardon any device due to its steep learning curve. The company is alsohoping to have a downloadable version ready for Android devices bythe summer. In the meantime, Snapkeys offers a demo app for iPhone and Android that lets users try to beat the Guinness World Record using the 2ikeyboard.