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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

SlideIT: touchscreen keyboards of the future

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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

(Credit: CBSi)

We're going out on a limb here to say that if these kinds of text input apps aren't the default smartphone keyboards in the very near future then we should all be banned from touchscreen phones and forced back to using rotary diallers.

If you haven't heard about SlideIT text input for Android, or the more popular Swype software, then you'd better take a seat; this is going to blow you away.

SlideIT Lite is a free app available on the Android Market, Nokia Ovi Store and for Windows Mobile, which installs an alternative to the standard on-screen keyboard for text input. Once installed you might be surprised to find a remarkably similar looking keyboard in the place of the standard one, but instead of tap-typing out the letters you want, you simply slide your finger from one letter to the next to create your word. In words that have double letters, like the word "happen" for example, you only slide to the double letter once and let the software figure out what you are trying to say.

We've only had a chance to play with SlideIT on Android at this time, as Swype is currently in a closed beta testing period, but from what we know about the two apps, SlideIT seems to be a nose in front. Not only is it freakishly accurate, but it offers a shortlist of suggestions when you complete a word and it automatically generates a space so you can go quickly from one word to the next.

Seriously, if this style of text input isn't in the next iPhone we'd be both very surprised and seriously disappointed.



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clampy posted a comment   

yeh shapewriter for iPhone, which also uses this concept, has been out for a while, but the keyboard is limited to that app. (theres a free version for those who want to try it)

 

Karl posted a comment   

I don't have any faith in predictive text, even the best software isn't going to know every word, let alone slang terms. Fine for some, but not for all.

As such the SlideIT app doesn't appeal to me, and won't to many others too, but if you like and trust predictive text (which is what it relies on for corrections and the double letters) then it sounds good.

The best android keyboard app I've found (and actually the only app I've payed for) is Better Keyboard [ http://betterandroid.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/introducing-better-keyboard-for-android/ ]. Unfortunately there is no free trial of the app but I highly recommend it to any android user!

 

gfa posted a reply   

Are you insane? Won't appeal to many others? I've had this on my droid for a long time, and would never go back to any standard keyboard. How could one possible prefer tapping each key to quickly sliding between letters? It is at minimum ten times faster than typing normally.

 

SlideIT for iPhone posted a comment   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hk89QsONik

 

aw123 posted a comment   

i find that swype (i'm in the beta) is MUCH better. but i only gave slideit about a half hour before i uninstalled it. I got higher amount of errors, and found the low res distorted buttons to be really unattractive. swype looks way more proffesional




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