I’ve been trying out a new Android keyboard called Snapkeys Si. Maybe you’ve heard of it. If not, I’ll try my best to explain how this keyboard is designed. Basically, Snapkeys Si scoffs at the idea of the traditional QWERTY keyboard. Snapkeys Si uses four squares (two on the left, two on the right) that contains three letters each. Inputting words requires you to build up your muscle memory just for this keyboard and learn an entirely new way of entering text.
Okay, let me try to explain how to write the word “the” in Snapkeys Si. The first square contains the letters Y, I and T. The second square has E, S and L. The other two squares do not contain the letter H. So in order to type “the”, you have to tap the first square, tap anywhere in the middle of the screen and tap the second square. A rule of thumb with this keyboard is to always tap the middle of the screen whenever a square does not have letter you want to use. Snapkeys Si will predict that you want to type “the” based on the order in which you tapped the squares.
Are you confused? That’s understandable. Chances are if it takes me a paragraph to somewhat describe how to use a keyboard, the keyboard isn’t intuitive in practice. That’s the position I think Snapkeys Si is in now.
I’m not going to fully judge this keyboard based on performance and looks because it’s still in beta right now. I can tell you that it predicts what I want to write most of the time. The problem is I can type “the” in a regular keyboard in half the time it takes me to do the same thing in Snapkeys Si. While I like the idea that someone decided to create a totally unique keyboard, I question its ability to catch on with the majority of people. I don’t think most people want to attribute a learning curve to their mobile keyboard. They want to fire off a quick text or email with as little effort as possible. That’s why SwiftKey and Swype are so popular. They don’t fundamentally change what a keyboard is, but they do enhance the experience in ways that are easy to grasp.
If you want to try this keyboard for yourself, you can sign up to test the Snapkeys Si beta on its website.