Since touch-screen devices became popular, users have been complaining about the tiny keys and inaccurate keyboard experience. Dozens of virtual keyboard apps attempt to ease the touch-screen typing experience, and SnapKeys Si is the latest solution. This free app, which launched in private beta today and is set to launch publicly in January on Google Play, features four main keys that aim to free up screen space.
The idea behind SnapKeys Si was to put A, E, I, O and other commonly used letters such as N, S and T on the four keys and the rest of the letters in the alphabet surrounding the keys. The four keys are located on the outskirts of the screen, two on the left and two on the right. Letters are deliberately placed on a key. For instance, R, O and D are all on the same key because they have rounded designs.
Snapkeys Si's CEO Benjamin Ghassabian told us that he recognized people would only switch to a non-QUERTY keyboard if the solution was simple, and that's what they attempted to do with SnapKeys. When we demoed the app, we saw how much space it really did free up on the display, and we started to get the hang of the keys after a few minutes.
Once users get their bearings and learn which 12 letters are on which key, they can start typing. If you need to type a letter that's not on a key, simply tap outside of the keys and SnapKeys Si will predict your word. The predictive feature plus the lack of key travel time aims to speed up typing time, plus there's always a list of word suggestions on the side so you don't have to type a whole word out. To maximize even more screen space, when users get comfortable using the app they can adjust the keys' transparency so they become almost invisible. A really cool part of SnapKeys Si is its video and gaming app, where the keys overlay so users can comment on YouTube videos as well as talk smack to their opponents while gaming.
An app for iOS isn't possible because Apple doesn't allow third-party keyboards, but developing for Windows is in the works.