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back to article Revolutionary triangular-key keypad out on Android

A virtual smartphone keypad with keys shaped like a crocodile's teeth has finally seen the light of day, launching in the Android Marketplace this week. The Crocodile Keyboard's triangular keys have significantly more 'dead space' around them than you’ll find on a standard rectangular-key Qwerty layout. The result, claimed David …

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Linux

Been Done

There was a triangular key keyboard for Openmoko about a year back.

It does help with fat-finger syndrome, though you could just as well have a triangular sensitive area with a normal graphic.

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Stop

@David Hicks

"It does help with fat-finger syndrome, though you could just as well have a triangular sensitive area with a normal graphic." Your missing the whole point m8. Where u put your finger is guided by what u SEE. So a normal graphic would be absolutely useless. Its the illusion of space between the keys that makes this keyboard more accurate.

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Yeah...

All very good, but it's not Wasp T-12 speechtool is it?

That was well weapon.

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Bronze badge
Thumb Up

N i c e i d e a

T h a t i s a l l.

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WTF?

bah

damn forum reformatted my tripple space...

why? does it think i didn't intend it?

who promoted this idiot above me?!!?

What I typed, is what I mented to type!

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Thumb Up

Love this keyboard

It is a great idea for those of use with large fingers

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Is there a demo?

It would be good to try it out first, before parting with money.

ttfn

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Boffin

The best thing about this keyboard...

The best thing about this keyboard is that it disproves the existence of common sense.

Most of my brain is screaming about wasted space, and about how making keys smaller makes them harder to use, but the logical part understands exactly why it's a better keyboard.

Long live boffins and their counterintuitive revolutionary solutions to everyday problems.

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Coffee/keyboard

Brilliant!

The simple ideas are the best!

Tis would work particularly well on in-car satnav devices methinks.

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Alien

Prior art?

I could swear I've seen keyboard designs like this on the old Sci-Fi seriese 'Space 1999' and / or other retro sci-fi.

Look out for pattent challenges from Barbarella and the like!

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Coat

Why can't we ...

... put some more keys into the spaces - eliminate the need for SHIFT or whatever...

Oh, I see... never mind :)

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Joke

@Is there a demo?

Yeah, just has the 'E' key disabled... ;)

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@@Is there a demo

No worry, I'll just start banging out a lipogram. :)

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Alert

the looks are important

"though you could just as well have a triangular sensitive area with a normal graphic"

This is wrong, the visible shape is extremely important. If it was just the sensitive area, you might be able to learn the "strange behavior" of the keyboard after a long while, but with the looks, you automatically tend to put your finger to the point with the highest possibility of success - which is above the center of each triangle. So you're doing it right immediately, and automatically.

Actually, the other way round it could be a little bit more true - having a circular or rectangular sensitive spot, but only showing triangles. This wouldn't be perfect either, but it should be still a tiny improvement over a normal keyboard (though the sensitive rectangles would have to be a little bit displaced upwards, compared to where the triangles would be displayed)

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Silver badge

Calculator

Hence small calculator keys with lots of space between.

Triangular isn't absolutely the best.

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Rat
FAIL

Okay...

...sounds great, but there's no way in hell I'm paying £2 to beta someone's software. Free trial or no sale, bub.

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FAIL

Don't be dumb

All Android paid apps have a 24-hour refund window. So you can try it for a day and then refund if you don't like it.

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Re: Paul_Murphy

"Is there a demo?"

When you "buy" an app from the Android Market Place, you're not charged for it until 24 hours after the purchase. During that first 24 hours, you are free to uninstall it, and will incur no charge. If you install the app a second time, you will be charged immediately.

This basically means you can demo all paid apps on Googles Market Place for 24 hours.

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Gold badge

Not the first mobile phone to do this..

The Neoi 809 is a miniature phone which is almost exclusively sold through tax free shops, and because it's so small they too had to use triangular keys to keep it usable, see http://www.fon-fashion.com/2_produkte/809_en.html.

The main disadvantage of this phone (I have one I use when travelling for a separate SIM) is that it's so damn small you keep losing it in your pocket. When it rings, however, you really, really want to answer it because at full blast it is shockingly loud. It is about twice as loud as any other phone I've ever had - no idea how they do this..

So, in summary, good idea, just not new.

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How long before Better Keyboard does this too?

Better Keyboard is my Android keyboard of choice, and they're constantly adding new features, other peoples' patents be damned. Considering some of the stuff they've added (such as the Blackberry-esque two-letter-per-key mode) it should be pretty easy for them to tweak the skin to do this too.

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Bronze badge

Qwerty is stupid

Qwerty is stupid for one-hand stylus operation, if that's what we're talking about. Wide horizontally, narrow vertically, inefficient. Has "Better Keyboard" done a ripoff of Fitaly, which is what I use on PCs - very efficient once you've learned it - since I have a keyboard disability? You are quite right, it is disgusting that inventors can apply for legal protection to exploit their own creations commercially and not having them swiped by someone else. Luckily, a patent is no more than a licence to sue, and most of these self-styled innovators can't afford to do that when it comes to it. Linux, Windows, and OpenOffice are all free (came with my PC), why should I have to pay for other software that I want to use?

No, that isn't what I really believe.

Other stylus keyboards are available, there's one that fits the alphabet into 3 x 3 squares but a lot of letters have to be directional strokes - too much so for me, whereas I have Fitaly set up with a configuration - which I really should share with other registered users - that has tap for any letter, stroke, shift or capslock for capitals, and strokes in two other directions on the letter and symbol keys that cover nearly every symbol I want, plus writing "rja.carnegie@excite.com" for instance with one flick. (The software allows eight directions and multiple distances per key, most of my keys have the compass points split three ways which allows reasonable accuracy at speed.)

Someone at IBM was working on another interesting technique, a novel stylus keyboard layout that you scrawl on join-the-dots style with absolute accuracy not required: it guesses at the word you actually meant to draw. A bit like the T9 phone keyboard where you only press letter keys once each and it guesses. You may have heard Stephen Fry explaining rather proudly that the Younger Generation of his acquaintance has adopted "book" as verbal slang for "cool" because when you T9 "cool" you get "book" as first guess, and you don't have to notice and press the "guess again" button if you just decide that "book" MEANS "cool as in kewl".

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@Fred & @fluffy

@Fred: I'd say it's a different idea with a different goal. Just the fact that both keyboards have triangular keys doesn't mean it's the same they're after. The crocodile keyboard helps hitting virtual keys on a touchscreen, while the Neoi 809 keyboard uses real keys with real feedback, but they were just trying to save space. The difference should become even obvious when you look at the key positioning.

@fluffy: It is NOT just the skin that is important, so just tweaking the skin won't do any good. See my other post...

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@fluffy again

Sorry, I didn't mean to say "it won't to any good", I meant "it won't be as good" compared to the "real" crocodile version.

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Unhappy

No paid apps available in Irish Android Market

"Users of the Google OS can buy the app now for £2 through Marketplace." No we can't. At least some of us can't. There are no paid apps available in my market. Vodafone IE (my operator) and Google have ignored my questions as to why not/when.

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