Google Developers Group
8pen is attempting to change that by introducing a completely new way of thinking about text input on a small display. Gone is the QWERTY
key layout, gone is the tapping the screen with great accuracy to get
the letter you want. Instead you write almost like you would with a pen,
but using your fingers.
The video gives a very clear demonstration of how this works. It removes any problems associated with having big fingers, instead relying
on gesture inputs where your finger slides through predefined sectors
in a specific way from a central circle. A letter is selected by the
user stating the sector, the side, and the position of the character
they are after all with a touch.
For example, if the letter you want is in the upper sector, on the right hand side, and the 3rd letter up. The gesture would see your
finger slide into the upper sector, move right, and circle around 3
sectors making a “D” motion. Repeat that for a whole word and you have a
number of fluid motions just like handwriting. With a little practice
it could mean typing as fast as you write.
The character input doesn’t actually use that much screen real estate so 8pen has large areas for function keys such as return, acces to
numbers, and backspace. It’s also possible to create your own gestures
for quick word input. Gestures are recognized by not starting the
gesture from the text circle in the middle.
8pen will be available to try from tomorrow if you have a handset running Android 2.2.
Read more at 8pen
When you first start watching the video demonstration this looks to be quite a complicated system. But the more you watch the more you
realize just how clever and simple it is. You really can’t make a
mistake once you get used to what gestures to use.
8pen looks like it may remove many of the frustrations associated with touch keyboards. The size of your finger does not matter, and
getting a character wrong will never be through a lack of accuracy on
your part as the rules are so clear and easy to follow. The ability to
introduce your own gestures is just icing on the cake allowing you to
store and display words like your name with a quick slide of your
If you do have an Android 2.2 handset and try this out tomorrow let us know how well it works.