Very different idea for a keyboard layout can not wait to try it.
Originally posted on Gigaom:
A re-imagined touchscreen keyboard layout promises to speed up typing on tablets. The split keyboard, known as KALQ, features two 4×4 grids of keys that were generated to produce optimal thumb typing, up to 34 percent faster than typing with QWERTY, according to new research. The new layout will be available as a free Android app in May.
Research into optimal keyboard layouts is as old as QWERTY itself, a legacy inherited from 19th century typewriters. Thumb typing with QWERTY is notoriously inefficient on touchscreen tablets and phones. Starting from the basics — how a touchscreen device is held in one’s hands — an international team of researchers drew on user behavioral data and computational models to develop the new layout. The lead investigator, Antti Oulasvirta of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, will officially unveil this research at CHI2013 on May 1.
Theoretically, the model predicts that users should be able to reach 49 words per minute with KALQ, and because the study’s subjects were non-native English speakers, typing speed could conceivably be even better in natives. KALQ was designed so the most commonly used letters are clustered, which means
the travel distances are short and both hands work roughly equally and alternately. Most of the vowels are positioned near the space bar and are handled by the right thumb, while the left thumb takes care of most of the consonants and most of the first letters of words. For lefties, the orientation can be reversed, and the key size can even be scaled for different hand sizes.