One thing that I’ve covered quite a few times here is the idea of alternative inputs for our various gizmos and gadgets. Six years ago, you had two options – T9 alpha-numeric keypads or full QWERTY. While that’s still mostly what you have now, we’ve shifted the hardware QWERTY keyboards to onscreen versions, and only just begun exploring the options that a software-based keyboard lends. Some keyboards have certain buttons that change with the context, to add a dedicated ‘.com’ button, for instance. We also have Swype and its competitors, which use a standard QWERTY layout, but allow you to simply draw a line through the letters of the word, as opposed to tapping the individual buttons.
To keep exploring this, WMPoweruser.com is reporting that Microsoft is testing a curved onscreen keyboard for its next generation of Windows Phone 8 devices. It’s nothing new from Microsoft – we saw something similar with its Origami Ultra-Mobile PCs (that ended up tanking). With a few tweaks, this curved keyboard could really be awesome, especially as non-iPhone devices continue to grow in screen size, and even on tablets (which is what the original Origami devices basically were).
I’m still convinced that my daughter will grow up with completely different input mechanisms than I’ve ever used – there’s a high likelihood she’ll never take a ‘typing’ class like I did – rather, she’ll communicate with her gadgets with voice and gestures, no physical contact necessary. Is that all really so far off?