SMS Inspired Keyboard Layout

sms-keyboard.jpgWe all know that today’s QWERTY keyboard layout was designed in the days of the old typewriter and that the intention was to actually slow down typing to prevent the mechanical keys from getting stuck together. So it’s pretty amazing that we still have the same layout, purposely designed to make things more difficult. It’s a little like having modern, powerful cars, but still having to have a man with a red flag trotting along in front of them.

Various alternative and “better” layouts have been tried over the years but never with much success, as too many people have too much skill invested in the old ways. And anyway, touch typing on a QWERTY keyboard actually works nearly as well as any other method and who can be bothered to learn all over again for a marginal eventual improvement?

But there’s a new generation who have grown up with a new skill – inputting text via a mobile phone style keypad. Just watch how quickly a teen can write an sms without looking at the keyboard and they’re certainly pretty quick.

Enter the cre8txt keyboard, pictured above, which plugs into Windows PCs (sorry Mac users), allowing people to transfer their sms super-powers into the computing environment. It also comes with a dictionary and sms slang translator containing 140,000 words.

Will it catch on?

I think it’s a clever piece of thinking, allowing all those young sms stars to transfer their skills. However, even the fastest sms inputter would be easily beaten by an average QWERTY typist. An average touch typist will achieve about 50 – 70 words per minute, according to Wikipedia, with even “hunt and peck” doing 27 – 37 words per minute. Obviously good typists can go much faster – 120+ is not exactly unusual.

However, the very fastest sms’er in the world can only do about 38 words a minute, although a newer record may have been set since this. So anyone planning to spend time around a computer would be better off going QWERTY, or perhaps hanging out for voice input, which has been promised to be the new, new thing for the last 20 years or so.

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