Feature Article

February 20, 2014

Fleksy, Possibly the Next Keyboard for your iPhone

I have had an iPhone now for just a little over two months. It took me a little while to get used to a touchscreen keyboard. On the Android side, there are a few third-party companies that make keyboards which are compatible with the various versions.

The Apple keyboard has been its own since forever. This may be changing soon. Fleksy who does make a keyboard app for Android is now opening it keyboard app software development kit (SDK) and making it available to all developers. Yes, even to iOS developers.

Fleksy is an input method for touchscreen devices. It offers a traditional tap typing interface coupled with some gestures for common functions such as space, delete and word correction. It uses error-correcting algorithms that take into account the exact locations where the user touches the screen. This coupled with a language model, tries to guess the intended word.

Fleksy is designed for use on touchscreen devices with a traditional QWERTY keyboard. It provides the ability to touch type on a touchscreen device. Completely eyes-free typing is achieved by leveraging the user's muscle memory, making the software popular particularly among blind and visually impaired users.

In fact, in addition to the fact that you can change the color of the keyboard, you also have the option of making the keyboard invisible. It still takes up the same amount of space on the screen, but as mentioned above, the algorithm figures out where you are touching and prints the corresponding character.

You can also use gestures to control some of the other options. If you flick, or slide your finger to the right, over the keyboard, it will input a space. A flick to the left will delete a character and if you flick to the right after a space a punctuation mark will appear.

Since a lot of time and effort was spent and one of its main hooks is supposed to be its amazing ability for text prediction, it should have no problem inserting the proper punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. The standard iOS touch screen tried to correct my name to Tizzo every time I wrote Rizzo. It took several week before that annoying instance disappeared!

The Fleksy SDK has been in closed beta testing since December 2013. Although Apple has not allowed developers to install third-party keyboards on iOS, Fleksy makes it extremely easy for developers to integrate its keyboard within their app, since it doesn’t require any additional lines of code.

Fleksy expects that more developers will begin to add support for its keyboard in their apps. In fact, a number of new app developers are launching today with the updated SDK on the App Store. These include Cotton Notes, hAppy for ADN, Matcha, MUDRammer, Remoter Pro, SnapStatus, Tap Forms Organizer, Vert 2, Write for iOS, You Doodle. At this time, additional Fleksy-enabled apps are being added on a daily basis. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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