Typing on Android Wear

Minuum is the first keyboard to work on Android Wear devices! Here’s a teaser of Minuum running on the LG G watch:

We’ve had oodles of requests for Minuum on Android Wear smart watches – everyone’s looking for a way to quickly reply to messages on their wrist without having to rely on voice typing.

While there aren’t yet many apps on Android Wear built with text fields available for typing, we’re working on changing this – sign up at minuum.com/watch to stay updated.

In case you’re really eager to try Minuum out on your LG G watch or Samsung Gear Live watch immediately, when you sign up at minuum.com/watch we’ll send you installation instructions straight away so that you can try out an early version.

[More details about how our circular design will adapt to the Moto 360 will come out when we get to test on a real Moto 360.]


Edit 1: Some further thoughts about keyboards on small screens:

For those who remain skeptical, I understand where you’re coming from; a standard keyboard paradigm absolutely would be horrible on a watch. But fortunately, compared to other complex interfaces, the keyboard is uniquely suited to taking advantage of natural language patterns in the same way that voice recognition does.

Keyboards don’t have to suffer from tiny-button syndrome, so long as the keyboard design embraces the expectation of sloppy typing. You can check out our explanation here on why Minuum works the way it does: The Algorithms Behind the Minuum Keyboard.

Edit 2: The vision behind Android Wear

My biggest takeaway from the vision behind Android Wear is the simplification of interfaces to work in a concise way on the wrist. Across all Android Wear applications, the key thing that makes this possible is the Google Now-style approach to using contextual information to strip away unnecessary interface elements.

Some folks have been complaining that the prospect of a keyboard on Android Wear is breaking the vision; and they’d be right if it was any other keyboard. But Minuum has precisely the same goal as the Android Wear platform: simplifying the interface so that it works quickly and without fidgety precision required (see Edit 1 above). If we can make typing amazingly pleasant on smart watch screens, there is plenty of room within the Wear vision for manual natural language input.

We’re chatting with the Wear team, and we’re hoping that the ultimate form of keyboard input would work in a way that fits within the vision of quick interactions in response to card-style notifications on the main screen; I think it’s important that thought be put into this, in case our experiments prove successful.

In the meantime, we are also experimenting with some Wear apps – and they may continue to stir up controversy because they won’t fit perfectly into the Wear paradigm – but we’ll be doing so in the interest of exploration. Let us know on twitter @minuum – and mention me, @w__w, if you have further thoughts on the matter.