Many (likely a strong majority even), will probably describe a smartwatch keyboard as a ludicrous idea. But there are some who disagree. Minuum brought their keyboard to Android Wear last year for example. More recently, the TouchOne dedicated smartwatch keyboard successfully met its goal to raise US$10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign in a bid to allow you to type away on an Android Wear device.
TouchOne set out to solve a simple issue. The QWERTY keyboard simply does not work on a small display. Or as the team behind the new keyboard asks, “After all, how can you fit 108 keys on a 1.3 inch watch face?”
The answer lies with a technology that users of older mobile phones may be familiar with. The TouchOne uses a solution very similar to the T9 keyboards used only a few years back. There are only eight keys arranged around the perimeter (or circumference) of the display. Each key is home to three or four letters arranged alphabetically. Holding the selected key expands it to let you easily choose the correct letter. The layout supports both circular and square displays.
Combine the keyboard with a predictive engine and support for some common gestures like tap for space and swipe left for backspace and you could soon be typing about 20 or more words per minute (based on testing during CeBIT 2015).
The biggest challenge for TouchOne is that neither Android Wear or watchOS allow third party keyboard support. The TouchOne team has come up with a workaround. Their keyboard will be built into a dedicated SMS Messaging app for wearables. While the keyboard will not be available across all apps, it will allow users to quickly respond to messages without having to rely on voice input or preset responses.
TouchOne will initially be available only for Android Wear smartwatches (including a special version for the Moto 360 because of its not-quite circular display). It is expected to launch in late 2015 or early 2016. Versions for watchOS and Tizen Campaign for TouchOne smartwatch keyboard closes successfullyre expected to follow sometime later. It could also make its way onto more devices, including TV remotes, mice and even car navigation systems later.
Do you want to be able to use a keyboard like the TouchOne on your smartwatch? Let us know below.
Sources : Kickstarter // TouchOne