Phone and tablet keyboards are humongous, relative to the screens they live on, and admittedly adhere to an antiquated typewriter metaphor. Minuum is a new way to think about how to make a digital keyboard tiny and forgiving, mostly, but it also highlights just how damn hard it is to come up with something better.
The idea with Minuum is that you can shrink the standard QWERTY keyboard down vertically by columns. Letters are still roughly placed where they would be, just flattened out. And if you miss a key, it will use a supposedly powerful autocorrect to fix your mistakes. Be fast, keep your big screen. That’s the goal.
Except, well, it’s hard to take at face value. Look at Swype, the current de facto non-standard mode of typing. Like Minuum’s claim, its autocorrect/recognition is very strong. But sometimes it’s also very dumb, especially when dealing with four-or-fewer-letter words that aren’t “the”. In those times, you can just peck at your keys normally and power through.
That seems to be not quite as easy here, so you’re left totally at the mercy of a system built around autocorrect. And while everyone’s has gotten much better in recent years, that still just seems insanely insane. Non-standard names and proper nouns — not to mention URLs — are too much a part of everyday phone and tablet use to see how this makes much sense. Especially when the upside is that you don’t have to see a big keyboard when the keyboard is active… except the keyboard is not active very often when you need to see stuff on your screen. It’s not like you’re typing while watching movies or reading articles. You’ll see a few more text messages in the log as you type, at the possible expense of accuracy.
But maybe it works perfectly. Who knows. But colour us deeply sleptical. We reached out to Minuum to see if we can try it out ourselves, and what’s powering its autocorrect. [Minuum]