Researchers create innovative KALQ keyboard for faster thumb-typing, Android app coming in May

There is no shortage of weird virtual keyboard solutions in the Play Store, claiming to solve the puzzle of easy typing on a piece of glass. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Montana and University of St Andrews, have come up with the newest entrant in that category, called KALQ.

They are aiming to release it next month as a dedicated app in the Google Play Store for free, claiming that countless hours went into scientifically testing the most suitable arrangement for on-screen keyboards. The location of the keys is unorthodox, and the researchers say it requires a few hours of training, like you did when you started typing on QWERTY ones, but afterwards the speed of typing increased 34% compared to the conventional layout you'd find on tablets like the iPad and Android slates. As advantages of the new KALQ keyboard over the traditional QWERTY solution they point out:

source: MaxPlanck via SWR



1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Point 5. Since when 'y' was a vowel. WOW !!! o.O Also, how is this keyboard different from Apple's similar keyboard layout option on iPad ?

7. thephoneguy92

Posts: 191; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

The letter y is often times considered a vowel, although I guess it's not written in store. It doesn't make sense, but welcome to the English language

8. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

When I was in elementary school, I learned that the vowels are "A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y."

2. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Did you go to a Public School or something? Yes, "Y" can be a vowel or consonant. My, why, sky, are all examples of Y as a vowel. Did you even look at the picture of the keyboard? It's not QWERTY so the layout is nothing close to the iPad keyboard or any other keyboard, for that matter. The top four keys for your right thumb are G, T, O, J. Seems like there would be a high learning curve getting use to the new locations for each letter.

3. scriptwriter

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

its nothing new. Swiftkey has the option to split the keyboard like that.

16. zinniadx

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 29, 2013

Although Swiftkey had designed such layout, but with this, after a little practice you can type 34% faster.

4. AlanB412

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

Jumping balls of alphabet soup Batman! Those commenters just can't seem to understand that the split-keyboard isn't the bid deal here. It's the letter ordering that's been changed to make typing more efficient.

6. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Thanks you! At least someone gets it and understand the entire point of the article! Yes, there are many keyboard that are split, but none are split like this one.

5. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Unless standardization for this is made, it is useless for somebody to learn this and then jump back to qwerty on your computer... I rather have Swipe on my Android device, which helps a lot on speed... maybe not 34% but close enough

9. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I don't believe that it will only take a few hours training. When I took a typing course, it was an entire year course to learn to type on a QWERTY keyboard layout. Some time after the course, I tried Dvorak keyboard layout that is supposed to be more efficient than the QWERTY layout. I tried it for a few days and gave up. I do think that people equally proficient with a QWERTY and KALQ layout will be faster using KALQ. However, I really think it will take weeks before you really become proficient and likely longer before you can realise the benefits of the KALQ layout.

13. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

That long, eh? My HS typing course was a 3 month affair and we were expected to know key locations within the first month. At the end of the class we had to hit 40 wpm to pass. The graphic shows that it isn't until the 8th test day before proficiency reaches QWERTY levels (on average, I presume). It doesn't say how many hours of training this represents.

10. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

well QWERTY came because of the fact that typing was TOO FAST with old keyboard layouts, which literally were ABCDEF etc. This format was too fast and so they had to come up with a format that would be fast but not so fast that people would break their typewriters quickly, so QWERTY was born. It was designed to be fast but not too fast.

11. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

It wasn't because of speed, but to spread out the keys used all around to prevent typewriters from jamming.

14. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

And jamming was cause because of speed typing... Anyway both of you are correct... And I would love to see ABC's keyboard truly come back... but since it is so far away from reality, lets stick to qwerty

15. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

You are close but whatever. Speed was only half the issue.

12. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Copied from Ipad.

17. zinniadx

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 29, 2013

KALQ had broken the trend of QWERTY in iPad, & other phones to minimize the movement of the thumbs. The main motive behind the design of KALQ is to save your thumbs stretching across the can check for more info. 

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