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Android keyboard Kalq quicker than Qwerty, say scientists

Kalq is a keyboard for Android tablets calculated to have you typing 34 per cent faster.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read
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It's hard to type fast and not make any spellibg msitakes, but scientists reckon they've solved that with a new keyboard for Android tablets. Kalq is a keyboard calculated to have you typing 34 per cent faster.

Developed by keyboard heroes at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the University of Montana and the University of St. Andrews, Kalq -- named, like the standard Qwerty keyboard, for one of the rows of letters -- splits the keyboard in two so you can quickly type with your thumbs.

The letters are laid out scientifically to reduce the distance your thumbs have to move to hit the next key. A constant back-and-forth between thumbs means the other thumb should always be heading for the next key even as the typing thumb hits its mark.

After getting the hang of Kalq, test subjects hit a rate of 37 words per minute, with a 5 per cent error rate. That's a third better than their performance with a standard touchscreen Qwerty keyboard.

Kalq's split keyboard takes up less than half the screen -- less than a Qwerty -- and divides the letters between the two so both thumbs do roughly the same amount of typing. A space button sits in the middle of both sections of the keyboard, with the vowels clustered near the right-hand spacebar for quick taps and consonants mostly on the left, so your left thumb can hover over the next button while the right is hitting a vowel.

The keyboard can be reversed for southpaws, or even be adjusted for the size of your hands -- useful if your fingers are of the more sausagesque persuasion.

The people behind Kalq reckon 8 hours of practice will have you typing at the same rate as you can now with your phone's regular Qwerty keyboard -- which they say is less than the 20-30 hours of practice required to touch-type with all ten fingers.

Kalq will appear as an Android app in early May. Other apps could be built, if the Kalqfolk can find "somebody willing to take the effort." Do you think the venerable qwerty could do with being updated, or would you rather stick to what you know? Type as fast as you can in the comments or on our Facebook page.