QWERTY out, KALQ in: the new fast keyboard for touchscreens

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Tech Talk

Very different idea for a keyboard layout can not wait to try it.


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…

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