A new Android app has arrived to ease the pain of typing on a touchscreen by radically changing the traditional keyboard design we all know and love (to hate).
8pen takes the tried-and-tested formula of the QWERTY keyboard format and replaces it with an entirely new interface that vaguely resembles the click-wheel on the original iPod and enables users to type using clockwise and anti-clockwise gestures.
The screen is split into four quadrants with a large X separating each section and a small circle right in the middle that acts as the start/end point of a gesture.
To type a letter, you need to touch the circle and swipe up/down/left/right to the section that contains the letter, and then depending on which side of the quadrant it’s on and its position on the quadrant (away from the circle), say third, you must swipe clockwise three times to select the letter and then return to the circle to complete the gesture.
It sounds a bit complicated but is much easier to understand when you see it in action (see video below).
The biggest advantage of this approach is that you’re less cramped for space as is the case with most on-screen keyboards. Plus, it arranges letters and numbers used most frequently closer to the circle, which makes typing a lot faster too.
There’s definitely a steep learning curve here, which means mastering the interface does take a certain amount of investment in time. With frequent use the gestures become natural to you. Whether or not it's worth the effort though is really up to you.