Do we really need another way of typing on mobile devices?

Android’s 8pen is a new way of typing on mobile devices and is available to all users as of yesterday, November 2nd. The philosophy behind this new technology is that the traditional desktop QWERTY keyboard was designed with the use of both hands in  mind.

This as I’m sure all of us can attest to does not translate well onto mobile devices that only have a few inches to work with, even one finger typing becomes troublesome.

The new 8pen has four sections with a circle in the middle. Characters are chosen by starting in the circle, moving into the section contain the letter you want, and having to move your finger clockwise through a number of sections corresponding to where that letter is (it looks simpler in the video than how it’s explained!)

It sounds and looks cool and I applaud anyone trying out a new way of doing something integral to our technology, although I do question the radical move from a conventional QWERTY keyboard. Keyboards have become ingrained in us, we are familiar with the layout and to people who spend majority of their day at a computer the position of the keys is just something that we know.

To move away from that safety zone and to have to teach ourselves a new way of typing with no relation to what we already know, might just become too much of a chore for lots of people.

Since I don’t have an Android phone I can’t really comment on how well/or not the 8pen works and how fast you can get used to the new character layout, but it does seem more of a fun fad than a real danger to the QWERTY keyboard’s current dominance.

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