Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 21:49 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless I bought 8Pen for my Nexus One last night, an alternative, and pretty revolutionary, input method for Android. But how does it stack against normal soft keyboards?
Order by: Score:
Thanks for this
by No it isnt on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 22:17 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

I just learnt about 8pen on some other site today, and thought it looked ... weird. I'm currently using SlideIT, which is kinda like Swype, but I'm not totally happy with it, mainly because slide keyboards are highly dependant on good dictionaries, and the one provided for my language just sucks. Compound words? Forget it. Actually typing in words would be better, but when you type in a word with SlideIT, it will auto-correct it for you to Something Completely Different, unless you are careful.

How is this for non-English? Does it let you write å?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Thanks for this
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 22:23 UTC in reply to "Thanks for this"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Swype makes it pretty easy to add words to its auto correction database -- too easy for me: mine now has all of my common mispellings.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Thanks for this
by No it isnt on Thu 4th Nov 2010 00:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks for this"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

It's fairly easy to do in SlideIt as well, but in a compound-heavy language, it just isn't worth it. The main problem is that it insists on inserting a space between words, even when none is called for. There's actually a setting for this -- "automatically insert space" -- but either it works differently or not at all. Perhaps I should just file a bug report.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Thanks for this
by Eugenia on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 22:23 UTC in reply to "Thanks for this"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Yes, it lets you write all these accented characters by pressing and holding the gesture of the equivalent English character before returning to the Spacebar circle. It didn't have Greek character support though (my native language), just Northern European characters with diacritics.

Edited 2010-11-03 22:25 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Thanks for this
by Moredhas on Thu 4th Nov 2010 07:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks for this"
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

It can't be long before they add support for other languages. 8pen were probably either all English-speakers, or aiming for the greatest exposure first. I expect the next releases will just have different layouts for having diacriticals in the default positions, but Greek can't be far off. It would require a lot of research and focus testing, I'd think. I'm curious to see how they do Asian language support, if they ever do it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Thanks for this
by cygnus on Thu 4th Nov 2010 08:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Thanks for this"
cygnus Member since:
2010-11-04

what keyboard *does* have greek language support? Apart from stock android and htc_ime, i haven't found any. Swype supposedly supports it, but not on the user-downloadable beta versions...

Reply Score: 1

Starting point
by WorknMan on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 22:35 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Only thing missing from 8Pen is vibration when the finger touches the "spacebar" circle, so we get a clue as to where the starting point is.


That's the first thing I thought when I saw the demo for this app... how the hell would you know when your finger got back to the center circle without looking at it?

Anyway, I still might give it a try, because my fingers are just too damn fat for the default keyboard layout(s), and I often end up hitting the wrong key because of it. I need to find an alternative.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kjmph
by kjmph on Wed 3rd Nov 2010 22:44 UTC
kjmph
Member since:
2009-07-17

Did you try MessagEase? I had a quicker time picking that up than 8pen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kjmph
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Nov 2010 01:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by kjmph"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I installed MessageEase and while it's indeed easier to pick up than 8Pen, it's only just as fast, because it requires both taps and swipes. Meaning, that you need to lift your finger all too often, and then switching from one mode to another, and that takes time. Overall, I'd say that 8Pen is better in smaller screens than MessageEase, and could easily support blind-typing, something that's not as easy on Message Ease. On the plus side, MessageEase is simply easier to learn.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kjmph
by No it isnt on Thu 4th Nov 2010 12:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by kjmph"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

After trying both for a few minutes, I have the opposite experience. I probably should have watched the tutorial first, but even then, MessagEase was just confusing.

Reply Score: 2

One Word:
by nbensa on Thu 4th Nov 2010 00:11 UTC
nbensa
Member since:
2005-08-29

TenGO

Those who owned an iPaq will remember it (and miss it). The rest of you swallow this: you know NOTHING about virtual keyboards on small screens.

Reply Score: 1

RE: One Word:
by Eugenia on Thu 4th Nov 2010 01:49 UTC in reply to "One Word:"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Yes, we know nothing: http://www.osnews.com/story/15389/Review_TenGO_2_0_and_TenGO_Thumb

TenGo is a lot like BlindType actually, in the respect that it tries to guess where you wanted to press (even if it's not cut in 9 regions). The principle is the same.

Edited 2010-11-04 01:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Support for it on a Pandora
by jvff on Thu 4th Nov 2010 02:38 UTC
jvff
Member since:
2010-11-03

I think it would be a good input method for devices with analog nubs/joysticks (like the PSP or the OpenPandora) or maybe even with DPads (although I suspect software management for the timing might be a little harder).

Reply Score: 1

Comment by _NINE_
by _Nine_ on Thu 4th Nov 2010 04:04 UTC
_Nine_
Member since:
2010-10-13

The problem with these virtual input methods is that they're gimmicky and unnatural. I do think they are tackling a legitimate dilemma with virtual qwerty keyboards on small screens and they are innovative in many respects. The issue is that don't think people really want to learn a new way to write/type unless it is very natural or intuitive. Otherwise, although these methods may be faster, they really aren't "easier" than just typing out the word because that's how we learn to spell and write whether it's on paper or on a computer. I've never relied on autocorrection or dictionaries and even though it may take a little longer, i prefer just spelling out the word. Plus, people use too much slang, abbreviations and what-not that the dictionaries aren't aware. I think one answer to the problem is to stop treating physical keyboards as something that needs to be abolished. Compare the size the iPhone's virtual keys and keyboard to a Blackberry's. The iPhone's are proportionally much bigger to alleviate the "fat finger" problem inherent on virtual keyboards. As a result, the virtual keyboard takes up over 50% of the screen when open. So, what's the advantage of virtual there? Isn't there a benefit to just tacking on a physical keyboard there for typing and leaving the screen 100% dedicated to non-typing things?

Reply Score: 1

.
by Icaria on Thu 4th Nov 2010 07:48 UTC
Icaria
Member since:
2010-06-19

Odd. It may allow blind typing on a soft keyboard but the amount of effort that goes into typing just one letter seems excessive. Seems like gestures are the new transparency, or tabs: heavily abused new hotness.

Reply Score: 1

RE: .
by Laurence on Thu 4th Nov 2010 09:35 UTC in reply to "."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I still refuse to buy a phone which doesn't have a slide out keyboard.

Touch screen is great for many things, but for typing lenthy messages it is - and likely always will be - a nightmare.

[edit]

Ooops, this was meant to be a new thread rather than a reply

Edited 2010-11-04 09:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

It may put a lot of strain on the thumb.
by axilmar on Thu 4th Nov 2010 11:41 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

The thumb is not the right finger to move in circular movements for a long period of time.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Meanwhile
by Meanwhile on Thu 4th Nov 2010 15:56 UTC
Meanwhile
Member since:
2005-09-03

Lifting your finger off the screen produces a space? That would be my main objection. Being forced to finish the word or sentence you're typing before you can scratch your nose (or another action) would be too limiting and irritating, both in practice and as an idea to reckon with.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Meanwhile
by ashcrow on Sat 6th Nov 2010 21:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by Meanwhile"
ashcrow Member since:
2008-02-02

I installed it the other night and I found that to be an issue -- especially while learning how to use the input method. While learning I kept removing my finger so I could see where the letters were and I'd have to backspace before getting back to typing.

Reply Score: 1

Interesting, but
by coreyography on Fri 5th Nov 2010 03:21 UTC
coreyography
Member since:
2009-03-06

I never got attached to any of these "alt" entry methods. I tried Swype, after all the hype, and found that not being able to see the letters under my sliding fingers made it a non-starter; deleted within 5 minutes. I downloaded this as well, and while I could see it making blind entry easier, I'm far faster in landscape mode with my standard soft keyboard. I guess I'll be waiting on a synaptic interface...

It would be great to hear another report in a couple weeks, to see how you like it after that time.

Reply Score: 1