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Could Minuum finally evolve the virtual QWERTY keyboard?

Did you know the QWERTY layout originated in the 1870s? It might be time for a makeover. The up-and-coming Minuum virtual keyboard minimizes the de facto standard into something far sleeker and sexier.

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When in use, a virtual keyboard shouldn't take up half of your smartphone or tablet screen, but it does, and it sure is ugly. If you're tired of keys hogging up precious screen space, check out Minuum -- a simple, yet intelligent single-row reinvention of the QWERTY layout.

Simply put, the Minuum keyboard, which is gaining traction on crowdfunding Web site Indiegogo, seems attractive as it doesn't require much space to use. It intelligently predicts what word you're going for through auto-correction algorithms, similar to a full-size virtual keyboard.

With Minuum, you can still type specific words (e.g. passwords) through a magnified view that pops up when you press your finger over a certain cluster of letters. According to the developer, the full barrage of alternative characters, such as numbers, punctuation, and even emoticons, can be accessed easily. Also, you can insert a space by simply swiping to the right. (Another option allows you to access a full space bar by swiping up with two fingers.) Options exist for other commands, such as swiping left to delete a letter, and so forth.

In just one day, the Toronto-based start-up that created Minuum obtained its $20,000 goal on Indiegogo, and it has more than $28,000 at the time of this writing. For those who pledge to the project, a Minuum beta becomes available for Android devices in June.

By 2014, plans call for a widespread Minuum beta for Android and an iOS SDK (so that a developer can integrate it into an app, as Apple doesn't allow a complete keyboard replacement). If the related Indiegogo achieves its new stretch goal of $60,000 before April 17, the Minuum team will launch a development kit that would work with wearable and motion-sensing devices, which appears quite promising.