BB10 keyboard

If you're interested in smartphone tech, you've surely been peeking at CrackBerry checking out all the BlackBerry World coverage. It's OK, we've been checking it out, too. The folks over there are killing it with the coverage. What seems to have impressed people the most is the new on-screen keyboard we're seeing in BlackBerry 10 devices. It has awesome text prediction, uses gestures, and is a step in the right direction when compared to RIM's previous software keyboard options. Surepress. *shudder*

Well, it should look good, as well as look pretty familiar -- we're certain we've seen it before. I'll come right out and say it. RIM is using technology from SwiftKey in their new keyboard, if not in the physical layout, then at least in the prediction engine. Our scientific testing all but proves it, and yesterday's video confirms our suspicions. But it's a good thing. Of all the software keyboards out there, we think SwiftKey would be the one to use if given a choice. Tie it deep into the OS, and we imagine the fellows from England can work magic with it. Hit the break, and have a look for yourself. And be sure to keep an eye on CrackBerry to find out all there is to know about BlackBerry World 2012.

 
There are 38 comments

adzrules says:

That keyboard does look pretty awesome! How long until an android port?

nsnsmj says:

Well, technically, it's already on Android.

Is it really? I have seen similar functionality to that which has been always been available on my Playbook available for Android but nothing to match the BB10 experience. I am open to being wrong so please post a link if there is something just as good out there.

I'm curious to see what's said about this keyboard when we get to the point of see BB10 reviews. If it's as great as it looks in the video, hopefully someone will recreate it for Android. Gotta love the openness.

wmurch3 says:

For a keyboard that's supposed to speed up typing and accuracy, the girl in the video sure is slow.

Personally I can type pretty well on Android 4.0's stock keyboard and the auto-correct is enough for me.

Danrarbc says:

You realize we have to see how it works as a viewer, right?

Of course she's going slower.

icebike says:

Any keyboard where you have to move your fingers out of the way after typing each letter to see if the suggestion has shown up yet embedded in the keys is bound to be slow.

Without the predictions above the key, out of the way of your fingers, it is faster to just type the whole word than it is to flick suggestions out of the keyboard.

jean15paul says:

I wholeheartedly disagree. I used Swiftkey and I'm often slowed down by having to look up from the keyboard to see the predictions. I often find it faster to type the whole word now. I'm definitly excited about the predictions being imbedded with the keys that way I don't have to move my eyes.

Besides, since it's not a physical keyboard, you have to move your fingers to see the keys, so moving them to see the word is the same thing.

That's not completely true. As you type on your on-screen keyboard, you train your brain to remember the location of the keys. I can type on my EVO without looking down at the keyboard.

sdreelin says:

Makes sense that it's probably powered by Swiftkey X, they do license their technology to various partners.

raddbj03 says:

Very interesting. I wonder how this will go over with the diehard physical keyboard fans. I wish there was an android phone with a bold 9900 keyboard (and the droid pro was not good enough).

soulsurvives says:

The compact QWERTY on my storm is what hooked me on touch screens.....will only use that type of setup....

Danrarbc says:

That's basically the BlackBerry Pearl keyboard ;)

Fr3lncr#AC says:

While it may be a variation of SwiftKey, what BB is adding to the mix are more gesture based commands (to switch keyboard layouts and select words); a different approach to show predictive words tying them to letters rather than keeping them all at the top); and the 'learning' element as to how you type. Current SwiftKey only learns what you type. To me, this is the thing I am most interested in as I've used swiftkey, swype and the stock keyboard on my S2 and none preform as good as my 9900.

It will be interesting to find out if the 'unique' elements will be tied to BB phones or if everyone will get them. Maybe RIM paid swiftkey to own the unique stuff... If not, everyone will end up having access to it which will take away from RIM having an edge on virtual keyboards like they do with the physical ones... If it turns out to work well that is...

MowDownJoe says:

RIM's Canadian, Jerry.

Danrarbc says:

Swiftkey is not. That's what they're referring to, I think.

eahinrichsen says:

Yep. TouchType, which produces SwiftKey, is based in London.

Mikey47 says:

LOL! Blackberry 10 makes an appearance and the *ONLY* thing people are talking about is the keyboard. Can't help but think this is a massive FAIL!

Simon Sage says:

You don't think the keyboard's kind of important?

SpookDroid says:

Not if it's software-based... a good soft keyboard can be ported to just about any crappy OS. I agree, if the only thing BBOS10 has going for it is the keyboard, it speaks badly of the OS entirely. Not to say it's not a good selling point; after all, the keyboard IS about the one thing keeping BlackBerries 'alive'...

rexdeaz says:

It's just, after using Swype, I can't imagine going back to typing with two hands. It just doesn't feel right. That's the one thing that'll always keep me from using Swift Key.

matt773 says:

I agree - I love the concept of SwiftKey and used it for months, but it's ultimately just MUCH slower than a swipe keyboard for me (I use TouchPal rather than Swype but the concept is the same). Swiping does take some practice to get good at but it's worth it.

icebike says:

Actually, all the speed records are held by Swiftkey.

matt773 says:

Really? A google search is saying that the Guinness record is held by Swype. I found one link about SwiftKey unofficially beating that record for a single sentence, but no information about whether that particular user had calibrated her version of the software (ie typed that sentence before so it was predicting those words).

I'd be interested in seeing any speed comparisons if you have the links.

jean15paul says:

Swype definitely had the record, but I read that Swiftkey won it back from Swype last year. I don't have a source though.

eahinrichsen says:

I don't think that which keyboard was used to set world speed records really has much bearing on which keyboard is right for a given person.

matt773 says:

Sure, of course not, but if a Swype expert types on Swype significantly faster than a Swiftkey expert types on Swiftkey (or vice versa), that's a big input into the decision of which keyboard I should invest a lot of time into getting good with.

Simon Sage says:

I find it interesting that RIM is still going with Swiftkey despite spending a lot of time and money developing their own text prediction engine, SureType. I can only imagine that they've had to cut staff, and the SureType team got the axe in favor of outsourcing. 

garfnodie says:

I've been using Swype for a long time, but I bought Swiftkey even longer ago, and I can always get the Swiftkey beta from their forums. I haven't used Swiftkey in a long long time though, so I'm going to have to give it another try. If it has the same ability to show a word over a key and you just swipe up to make it go to the box, that may actually make it faster than Swype. I know it may take a little bit for it to learn my typing characteristics, but it's still cool. Now if only Android would implement a global custom dictionary instead of each keyboard having their own, I wouldn't have to train each keyboard with all the slang we Americans like to use.

jean15paul says:

Neither the current version of Swiftkey on Android and the beta that's out now for the next verison have the imbedded predictions that BB is showing off. I'm hoping the next next version will.

matt773 says:

Yes! Excellent suggestion. And I really want the ability to REMOVE words from the default dictionary so that when I swipe the word "get" in TouchPal it will no longer think I'm typing "Gerty".

Chewieez says:

You can easily remove words from the Swiftkey dictionary by long pressing on where it the word appears in the suggestions, above the keys, and choosing "Remove".

I like the current Swiftkey beta because they've added a prediction of when you mistyped the spacebar and hit b instead. I do this all the time and end up with 2 or 3 words connected with "b" and no space. Swiftkey now can realize my error and fix it automatically.

I do wish Swiftkey would integrate the new swype to use prediction feature of this BB keyboard. I rarely use the word choices above the keyboard, faster to just type the word, unless it's a long word that I am unsure on the spelling.

I've tried swype and for one handed typing it's faster. But when I have 2 hands to type with I prefer to use Swiftkey. I also don't like that Swype relies on a clean, smooth touchscreen surface to work well. If it's even a little sticky or dirty, it's hard to swype. I also wish the keyboard was smaller with Swype. I find it cumbersome to swype the full width of my EVO, which now isn't really that large of a screen compared to the new phones.

But the best part of Android is that there is a keyboard for everyone. I hate the keyboard on my iPod Touch and I can't do anything about it. ;o)

JNM says:

In no way is this surprising. In fact, SwiftKey said that they were going to be offering their keyboard as an included option or main keyboard with at least one major manufacturer. It is easily the most accurate keyboard on Android, especially with the newest beta release, and it really outshines the improved Android keyboard in ICS.

trivor says:

The choice of Swype vs Swiftkey is a personal one and the fact some record was set with one or the other is irrelevant to the individual user. That's just like the idea that the Dvorak keyboard is set up WAY better to touch type because original typewriters were set up to slow typists down - not speed them up. There were a number of people that switched to Dvorak keyboards but the problem is way too low adoption so hard to find outside of your personal home/office computer.

matt773 says:

See, I disagree, I think it is relevant - or at least the idea of "one keyboard consistently outperforms the other in speed tests" is. Typing on a touchscreen is hard. You have to put in a lot of time to get good with whatever type of touchscreen keyboard you use. The ultimate goal (for me at least) is speed of output, and if I can find out that my speed ceiling is likely to be higher with one keyboard than the other, that's a strong incentive to put in the time with that particular keyboard.

Obviously "use the one you like" is the best advice. But if I have reason to believe that Swype will be 30% faster for me than Swiftkey after a month of use, I want to know that up front.

kelton says:

Oh man. The #1 app of all time is a good physical keyboard. It is hard to believe that RIM is going to release a slab OS 10 phone, first. (sigh)
With a physical keyboard, you have a ton of one touch shortcuts that can be found without having to stare/focus at the phone.
The worst thing about slab phones is that they take full, direct, and sustained eye contact in order to use them.
That's cool if you are always just sitting around, plenty of time, and need to toy around.

ZacSixChip says:

I disagree with the first line of this post: "If you're interested in smartphone tech, you've surely been peeking at CrackBerry checking out all the BlackBerry World coverage."

I would say that "one interested in smartphone tech" knows that BlackBerry (like Sony) has been out of the game for so long that they are now a moot point; as such, news/articles pertaining to them can just be skipped over as irrelevant. Like an injured and dying horse somebody needs to put BlackBerry out of their misery.

Go drink some bleach