MonthSeptember 2010

SnapKeys Developing ‘Keyless Keyboard’ for Mobile Devices

A company called SnapKeys is pitching its “keyless keyboard” system to mobile device and computer makers, reports Reuters. SnapKeys’ software makes use of four invisible keys, each of which holds 6 or 7 letters. Two keys are placed on either side of a device’s display. The are other keys dedicated to punctuation. SnapKeys uses predictive software in conjunction with the invisible keys to guess at what people are attempting to type. Right now, it says its technology is 92% accurate in English with a dictionary of about 100,000 words. To start, the letters will overlay the device’s display when typing, but SnapKeys believes that users will eventually learn which letters are on each of the four keys and can turn off the overlay. SnapKeys believes its technology allows for much faster text entry on devices that lack physical keyboards. “There is a fundamental problem in entering data on mobile devices,” SnapKeys Chief Executive Benjamin Ghassabian told Reuters in an interview. “Keyboards were meant for fixed devices, not mobile. And screens are not supposed to be your input device; they are supposed to be output.” Many of today’s smartphones are touch-based and include software keyboards that appear on the display for text entry. SnapKeys said it is working with Philips, which is making the required hardware, and is in talks to sign deals with mobile device makers.

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