Selecting The Best Keyboard for Your Smart Watch

Share on G+FB ShareTweet this

It has always been our belief that cramming a full keyboard onto a small touchscreen device is silly and impractical. This is especially true on a smart watch.

Whether used as a stand-alone or as a companion device, having the capability to effortlessly key in text on your smart watch vastly increases its potential. Many smart watch enthusiasts seem to agree, as we’ve had daily requests for Minuum on smart watches since the release of our Minuum Keyboard on a Smart Watch video.

Minuum strives to provide a unified text entry experience wherever people require text entry; after phones and tablets, smart watches are the next logical step.

What Makes a Good Smart Watch Keyboard?
We’ve considered at length the available text entry options for smart watches, and came up with four essential elements of a truly useful smart watch keyboard:

1. Screen Space: Smaller keyboards provide users more screen area in which to interact with the text and content.
2. Learning curve: Minimizing the learning curve to type is essential to making text entry on smart watches feasible.
3. Typing speed: Keyboards that allow fast typing will let users accomplish more with their smart watches.
4. Precise text entry: The capability to enter non-dictionary text precisely is necessary for passwords and website URLs.

Keyboards designed with all four of the above guidelines in mind greatly improve the smart watch text entry experience. Though we are, admittedly, quite biased, we are confident that Minuum is the best keyboard for smart watches. Let’s see how Minuum performs for each of the four criteria.

1. Screen Space
With just one row of keys, Minuum doubles the visible screen area as compared to other (more standard) keyboards—as seen in the image below.


Figure 1. Screen space comparison between Minuum and other keyboards

This extra screen space provides users a more pleasant, satisfying, and useful text entry experience. No need to scroll up to see what you’ve written, or to re-read the message you’re replying to—it’s all right there on the screen.

2. Learning Curve
Because the smart watch display is so small, smart watch owners expect to at least partially adjust their typing style from what they are used to on phones and tablets. This is especially the case for early adopters of smart watches who are characteristically open to learning new tech, as long as it proves useful. This expectation makes Minuum’s already small learning curve negligible.

Minuum’s unique one-row appearance can be surprising to new users. However, after realizing that the keyboard is just a compressed version of the familiar QWERTY layout (or other international layouts such as QWERTZ/AZERTY), Minuum users get the hang of it within seconds. Within a few minutes, the “aha!” moment really kicks in and Minuum’s full advantages quickly become apparent.

3. Typing Speed
Powered by advanced specialized auto-correction algorithms, Minuum allows users to type very sloppily. This, in turn, allows users to type fast despite the keyboard size. After playing with Minuum for Galaxy Gear for less than an hour, a new employee was able to comfortably type over 25wpm on the tiny galaxy gear screen, as seen in this video shot on its first take.

By allowing more visible screen space, Minuum prevents the need to scroll when viewing notes, emails, or text messages, which also saves users time when typing.

4. Precise Entry
On small screen devices it can be very frustrating (or near impossible) to enter passwords and other non-dictionary words without a solution for precise text entry. Minuum is the only keyboard for smart watches with a magnified interaction view built-in for this purpose. As shown in this tutorial video, when users need to precisely type a word with Minuum, they can press and hold to confirm each letter, thus preventing auto-correction.


Figure 2. Minuum’s approach to precise entry for regular and numbers mode

While slower than Minuum’s otherwise fast typing experience, this magnified interaction is necessary on the very small screens of smart watches, and is more reliable for precise entry than merely presenting a full QWERTY keyboard with tiny buttons.

Minuum is the Best Keyboard for Smart Watches
Minuum’s combination of powerful algorithms and clever design help make smart watches actually smart. By optimizing for screen space, typing speed, learning curve, and solving the precise entry problem, Minuum makes text entry on smart watches an easy, enjoyable experience.

If you own a smart watch and want to try a free Minuum download, please specify which watch you have when contacting: free@whirlscape.com

If you’re a manufacturer seeking the best keyboard solution for your device, please contact: partners@whirlscape.com

Get it on Google Play now