Microsoft hard at work on one-thumb typing for Windows Phone?

WM Power User claims to have obtained a picture of a new keyboard design for Windows Phone that's curved and would help users type out words with a single thumb.

Is one-thumb typing coming to Windows Phone 8?
Is one-thumb typing coming to Windows Phone 8? Josh Miller/CNET

Is Microsoft bringing back the old days of one-thumb typing?

Microsoft-tracking blog WM Power User today published an image of what it claims, is a new keyboard being considered by Microsoft Research. The "one-handed and next-gen soft keyboard" will be designed for Windows Phone 8, according to the blog, and feature a curved design. That curve places the keys in such a way that makes it easier for users to type with a single thumb.

Since the implementation would provide less screen real estate for the keyboard, the image WM Power User published shows each button housing three letters. It's not clear how it works, but it's possible that users will hold their finger down on each key to decide which letter they want.

Microsoft has long indicated that it'd like to help users type with one hand. Back in 2010, when it unveiled Windows Phone 7, the company's keyboard suggestions tried to improve the prospect of one-thumb typing with predictive technology. It's not clear that it was all successful, which may have prompted Microsoft to reportedly work on something else.

In addition to the Windows Phone 8 integration, WM Power User noted that the demo was conducted on an HTC Trophy, potentially indicating that the keyboard might also make its way to Windows Phone 7.8.

CNET has contacted Microsoft for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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