Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.
SnapKeys is bringing its unconventional Android keyboard out of beta today and launching it in the Google Play store with a revamped interface designed to increase users’ typing speed and accuracy.
When we last checked in with the Snapkeys SI keyboard, it was using four brightly colored square tiles to quickly generate words. Each panel had a vowel and two letters that the user picks out on a regular basis.
The final version, now called SI Evolution, has tweaked this somewhat. The bright keys still remain (yellow, blue, green and pink) with two on either side of the screen. They’re also rectangular, rather than square, and have split the letters in a completely different manner.
The alphabet is now divided from top to bottom, left to right, making it somewhat easier for the user to figure out where the letter they need next is located. Three common letters are shown in a larger typeface on each button, with the remaining characters nestled in between.
Users tap on the large letters to choose them, or anywhere on the tile to select one of the more unusual keys. Suggested words then appear on the right hand-side of the screen, with the most accurate choice highlighted in blue.
Pressing the space key, still situated on the left-hand side – but invisible underneath the colored buttons – confirms the suggested word. It’s also possible to tap one of the other choices in the list, however, before pressing the space key again to enter it.
The invisible space key feels a little peculiar at first, but ensures that the SI Evolution keyboard takes up the smallest amount of space possible on the screen. The backspace is situated on the opposite side and is also invisible, rounding out the general interface.
It’s also worth noting that swiping from any of these icons triggers additional functionality, such as numbers, symbols, shift and so on.
The typing experience is like nothing else currently available on the market. It therefore stands out from other third-party Android keyboard apps, such as Swype and SwiftKey, offering an interface that is both unique and intuitive.
It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, admittedly, but it’s refreshing to see a company like SnapKeys create a keyboard from the ground up for a touch screen device, rather than simply mimicking the typing experience on a laptop or desktop PC.
The company is launching an additional app called LetsSnap to accompany SI Evoluton in the Google Play store. It’s an incredibly basic photo-editing app that enables the user to write simple messages in any direction with the SI Evolution keyboard, as well as choose from a number of different typefaces, sizes and filters.
“We have solved the fundamental problem of the mobile industry, namely; how to input text on mobile devices easily and quickly while seeing the whole screen,” Benjamin Ghassabian, CEO of Snapkeys said.
“Si Evolution and LetSnap revolutionize the instant messaging industry, turning the grey boring QWERTY keyboard and text box of the current instant messaging systems into a vibrant colorful experience on photos.”
➤ SI Evolution | Android
➤ LetSnap | Android
Image Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images
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