All those who say that innovation at Microsoft has died, I’m here to tell you that you’re dead wrong. For one, there is the Surface Pro 3 – a fantastic device that smokes every other tablet/laptop hybrid, and even some full-fledged laptops themselves. But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about. Meet Microsoft’s new, nifty app, the “Analog Keyboard“.
It is still very much a prototype, but it’s idea is the first of its kind that we’ve seen to alleviate the issues that arise from having a tiny 1.6″ display. It’s technically not a new product – Windows Mobile devices way back in 2007 offered handwriting recognition, but those were on resistive displays and good luck trying to use your finger with that.
Microsoft’s Analog Keyboard allows you to enter text by drawing the individual letters on the smartwatch display. The keyboard supports square screens with a 320 x 320 resolution (and circular displays too), and you can even enter special characters and numbers on the Moto 360.
Thing is, even with this new design, it’s not entirely clear if keyboards on such a tiny display are the way to go forward instead of voice recognition (in which Google Now is the industry leader with 58% accuracy). Voice input is far easier and faster to use, plus it makes you look like James Bond. Even Google has shied from releasing a keyboard for their own platform, though that might change.
But then again, voice input in many situations will make you look weird, if not downright rude (like in the library). Personally, I’m still unsure if a smaller keyboard, voice recognition or another input method is the answer, but it is obvious having just one is sorely inadequate.
Microsoft’s prototype keyboard is available to download, but follow the instructions carefully if you’re a Moto 360 owner as the lack of a micro-USB port on the device makes the install process a little more tricky.
What do you think about the Analog Keyboard? Yay or nay?