Microsoft's Word Flow beta iPhone keyboard comes with a neat one-handed operation mode


According to several reports published earlier today, Microsoft's upcoming Word Flow keyboard will integrate a rather interesting one-handed operation mode.

A few years ago, a rumor claimed that Microsoft is working on a one-handed software keyboard with a semicircular design, back then referred as the Arc keyboard. As years passed, the keyboard never saw the light of day, prompting many to believe that the project was scrapped by the tech giant, or that the rumor was entirely fake.

According to new reports, however, it turns out that the one-handed mode is now a part of the Word Flow keyboard, a Swiftkey-like app that Microsoft is currently in beta testing on the iPhone and which is expected to also land on Android at some point in the future.

The basic principle behind the one-handed operation mode is rather simple. The keyboard features a semicircular layout, which was designed to be operated using the thumb, hence the shape of the key rows. As you can see in the photo above, reposted from The Verge, the keys are laid out in three arcs.

Note that the photo shows the right-handed mode, but the lefties are not forgotten by Microsoft. In the settings, the Word Flow keyboard allows the user to switch to a left-handed mode.

In theory, this sounds like a very good way of solving the problems that occur when you try to type on a large-screened handset using just a single hand. 

What do you guys think about this concept? Do you think it could solve your one-handed phablet typing woes?

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8 Comments

1. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2363; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

They do more stuff, for other platforms, none too their own OS.. smh

2. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

Cause they know Android and iOS take up most of the market, and Windows isn't very popular one - we'll see if that changes with Windows 10 mobile. It's smart that they're making apps for other os's, and the idea for this is cool! It would make typing on a larger screen easier!

5. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

But you know when the OS like windows isn't that popular, features like this if made exclusive to that OS, would have atleast been a motivation for people to buy those. By making an App, windows itself is making fun of itself, come on, there are many small organisations and just individuals who will be making apps on android and iOS. Windows is bigger than that and should focus on building more market share for it by provide features which are exclusive to the OS, reducing the bugs, providing more smoother experience which inturn encourages developers to develop more apps there by making the OS more popular, generating more revenue.

3. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Nice idea, but... but... still no direct-digits in 2016??? Thats hillarious.

4. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

People still fall for the one-handed operation meme.

6. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Very nice idea, but I think my one-hand typing has been solved by swipe-typing with just my right-thumb on my OnePlus One via the stock Cyanogen/Android keyboard. We'll see how much of an "improvement" this brings, no harm in having another keyboard.

7. Brewski

Posts: 723; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Srsly. Swype (Stock, factory installed keyboard) has been doing good by me with one hand on every phone I've owned since 2010. I don't need anything new.

8. VZWEMP

Posts: 158; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

haha "cloud first, mobile first" my behind. more like "Apple first, Android first". WP fan/user since '07. NO more. I've tried them all and inevitably, have always come back to WP. haha not anymore. Waiting for that CDMA variant of Robin. Hmm, but I do need expandable storage. Well, either way, Android here I come!

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