Toronto entrepreneur aims to re-invent mobile typing
Let's face it, touchscreen typing sucks! Whether I'm using the portrait or landscape keyboard on a smartphone, tablet or "phablet' it's all the same. The keyboard keys are unnaturally placed, the keypad takes up more than a third of my screen and I'm constantly sending out messages with spelling mistakes or incorrect words.
One Torontonian aims to correct all this and change touchscreen typing forever and judging from all the support he has already gained from his Indiegogo campaign, his dream is soon to become our reality.
Inspired by a University of Toronto research project, alum and former teaching assistant, Will Walmsley created Minuum - the tiny keyboard for big fingers - a one-dimensional keyboard that frees up screen space and allows for fast, accurate typing.
"When you're typing, you don't always hit the letter you aim for. And there's nothing wrong with that", explains Will from his Indiegogo campaign video. "We designed Minuum from the ground up to allow delightfully fast sloppy typing on as small a keyboard as you want".
Minuum is about half the size of your average touchscreen keyboard. It's a continuum of letters meaning letters and numbers are in one row rather than the multi-row format we are used to on our devices today. It leverages the QWERTY keyboard we know and love but allows for better access to punctuation, space, backspace and enter keys.
For fat fingers, Minuum provides easy letter magnification and its auto-correct algorithm promises you can type fast without worrying about being precise. Additionally, Minuum offers some neat customization features such as moving and placing the keyboard anywhere on the screen and changing the color.
Walmsley worked on the prototype for Minuum for two years before forming the company Whirlscape which he is the CEO. The project has already gained support from UTEST and MaRS Innovation programs and is now looking to the Indiegogo community to help raise the necessary funds to bring the keyboard to the public.
The Minuum Keyboard project has raised more than seven times the campaign goal they set at $10,000 to get the project off the ground which means that we will be seeing Minuum in the marketplace. Walmsley promises to deliver a beta Android app to all his Indiegogo supporters in about two months after the campaign ends which is estimated as June 2013. A general release of this beta app will be available to the public in Q1 of 2014.
As Apple doesn't allow third party keyboards to replace the default keyboard, Minuum will be offered as an iPhone SDK that developers can incorporate into their own apps. This SDK will also be available for Q1 2014.
What's most exciting about the vision of Minuum is that Walmsley and his team are not just building this keyboard for touchscreen but are looking ahead at wearable devices which are expecting to hit the market as early as end of this year. Since Minuum's Indiegogo campaign has reached its stretch goal of $60,000, Walmsley will also be releasing a WDK or wearable development kit which developers can use to incorporate the Minuum keyboard in new apps for smart watches, Google Glasses or gesture control devices like Kinect and Leap Motion.
For more information on Minuum or to become a supporter visit the Minuum Keyboard Project Indiegogo page.