November 2, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson
There’s a new kid on the block of software keyboards for Android. It’s called 8pen, and it takes an entirely different approach to text input on touchscreens by introducing a new gesture-based system. Unlike the groundbreaking Swype who also uses gestures, 8pen doesn’t rely on the familiar QWERTY layout. Instead, it presents a circle surrounded by four sections with letters on each side. You start in the centre and move your finger clockwise or counterclockwise through the sections to write the words you want.
Sounds complicated? 8pen still appears to be rather complex even after watching the demo video, and by the looks of it, the keyboard will take some time getting used to. With tough competition from popular alternatives such as Swype, SwiftKey, BlindType (that Google bought) and the HTC Keyboard, it shall be interesting to see if people will get out of their comfort zones and try something new.
While I personally don’t agree with the developer 3qubits’ dismissal of traditional on-screen keyboards – that they’re a pain to use because the format isn’t intended for touchscreens, I’m intrigued by 8pen and I will definitely give it a fair chance. 8pen is available in the Market now for $1.56. More info at the official website.